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Home Sweet Home

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Have you ever participated in a 600 m running race? A race where you start out slow, accelerate your limbs with every lap and run with your fullest towards the end. A race where you finally reach the end point, panting and pounding that before you could even absorb the victory, you would feel a relief beyond relief that the race has ended fully. An end where you crave to gulp a whole bottle of mineral water and lay back, before your lips break into a broad smile and a satisfactory glow radiates from your sweaty face.

Building a house, or in our case buying an apartment in Bangalore and doing a few alterations is akin to a 600m running race. Seriously! A race where my husband and I were the only participants on the track, competing not against each other but running together to attain our common goal – to buy a house and make it our home! It didn’t seem like such a big feat when we started off until we really put our feet down and realized that it was a bottomless abyss, at least it seemed so at one point of time during our 8 months journey. Now that we’ve got somewhat settled, I was like ‘Why not list our experiences as advices to others with home dreams?’ After going through a neck-choking schedule to become proud house owners, a little boasting and offering unsolicited advices should be agreeable. I mean, come on!

This is how it goes.

  1. Decide the kind of house that you want. 2 BHK, 3BHK etc., the locality, accessibility to everyday needs, built up area, and layout. In short, imagine your dream house in your mind before you set out to action.
  2. Start on a house hunt to find the place that you want. Check out with real estate agents, cyber space, visit a few sites and everything till you get satisfied and cross your fingers on a house.
  3. Enquire the cost per sq. feet and make sure it is within your budget. Remember, on top of the house cost, there are registration charges, service tax, katha, woodwork, bathroom extra fittings, re-paint (if needed), furniture, decoration and stuff in that order. It would easily come to nearly 30-35% of the cost of the house itself. If your budget is 43 lakhs (for example), make sure that the cost of the house is somewhere around 33 lakhs.
  4. Next and the most important. Enquire on the credibility of the land and the builder. There are so many varieties of real estate fraud happening around and you surely wouldn’t want to get fooled in any way in as big a project as a house.
  5. You are happy with the house and with the builders (although you can never 100% be), next comes the home loans for all the middle class folks whose pockets wouldn’t be able to shell out lakhs. Decide on the bank from which you’d like to take the loan. Government banks like SBI are always preferable for lower interest rates but again, they wouldn’t offer more than 70% of the house cost as loan during recession times as now. And again, they’ll require a lot more procedures and visits that unless you know it’s within your scope, do not venture. As for the private banks, they steal from you anyway with higher interest rates. Just find a bank that steals the lowest of the lot!
  6. Once you have finalized on the bank with the help of Google and enquiries from others’ experiences, approach them (read as, beg them). Fill in all the forms, submit all the requested documents, sign in all the so many places and wait…wait patiently!
  7. One fine day, you will know that your home loan is approved. Before the bank changes its mind, go to the registration office and register the house to your name. Phew! That completes lap one.
  8. While the first lap involves a lot of self work, the next involves getting work done. Drive the site engineers with calls and visits as frequently as possible or the work gets done like forever. Polite pleases will never do the trick. There would come a time when you realize that a few loud authoritative words is the only language that the workers understand.
  9. Design the wood work for the wardrobes and stuff on an A4 sheet and find a sincere carpenter who would be able to replicate it for you. Make sure the carpenter doesn’t compromise on quality for cost or vice versa.
  10. Purchase things and provide as and when the workers demand. Shopping for geysers, bathroom rods, fans, tube lights, plumbing fittings, floor and kitchen tiles, paints etc. is certainly a different kind of experience from the everyday shopping that you do and gosh, everything costs like hell!
  11. Check if there are necessary electrical points in the house. Else, make sure you get the electrician to fix it all up before the painting begins.
  12. Painting surely does the magic in spite of all the tougher businesses behind. A few strokes of shades transforms the look of the whole place. So chose proper shades as per your liking and if you are planning for a house warming ceremony, stop with a single coat of paint where the pooja is to happen or the smoke would tarnish the look a little.
  13. Getting the cleaners to do the acid wash would finally remove the construction mess and make the house ready for occupation. So much marks lap two.
  14. The final lap is the house warming ceremony. I would almost equate it to the convocation ceremony after your degree program and so you would want to do no less than what you did for the house.
  15. Fix an auspicious date and arrange for a priest to conduct the pooja. Get a list of pooja items from him and run around the city in search of them until every item is ticked. Make a list of invitees and invite them. Arrange for catering including rented tables and chairs and arrange for transport and lodging for outstation invitees.
  16. Look your best during the ceremony even though you might be deprived of sleep and suffocated from the pooja smoke. It’s your house and you want to drive the evil spirits away from it (that’s the point of the pooja, isn’t it?). If you sport the natural look which would have been totally screwed up due to all the efforts so long, your dark-eyes and soggy self might make the priest mistake you for the evil-spirit that he had come to drive away.
  17. House warming done, officially announces that your house is livable. Wait no more! Pack your bag and baggage from wherever it is that you are put up and shift over to your new place. Why pay rent anymore when you are a proud house owner yourself?
  18. Dump your belongings in your new place and unpack them. You would need another shopping spree for curtains, door mats, cloth hangers and what not. There is this final stage of losing hairs to the workers for painting re-coat, a nail here, a wedge there and a crack on the fourth tile in the second bathroom. I know, its pretty irritating and frustrating to have someone hammering and polishing after you have moved in but believe me, the earlier you get this all done, the warmer your house would be.
  19. Bring in the furnishing now to fill up your house. A couch to sink in, a dinning table to eat (often used for multiple purposes) and a cot to stretch are certainly luxurious at the moment but necessities nevertheless.
  20. Last but not the least is decoration. A flower vase, a wall clock and a painting is all it takes to finally transform your house to a cozy home, understood that you are going to scent it up with love and care and all that is good in the world.

Phew! Until I wrote this post, I didn’t realize that we had actually undergone all of these steps. OH MY! I am feeling mighty proud and rightfully too! My husband and I had to go through each of these phases all by ourselves and together. Right from a tooth brush holder to bedroom dresser, both of us had equal consent in everything and that is why we love this house so much. Now, as I rest myself on this soft sofa, after sipping hot tea at our dinning table, a tea prepared in our altered kitchen, before I go and inhale fresh air from the balcony and stretch my tired bones on our cot, I lift my chin and give myself a pat, this is our dream house and forever it will be!

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19 thoughts on “Home Sweet Home

  1. @Premnath: That is why I have given the link for the snaps in my post. Dress code is better understood when seen than when said…and audiences too…what say?

    @Subash: Thanks Subbu but no thanks for another 600m race, at least not for a couple of years…we are still panting 🙂

  2. :-O After just reading this post, O feel like I wanna relax my muscles, sip some steaming hot filter coffee and catch up on some good sleep on a nice cozy bed. ZZZzzzzzz.

    How did you do it? *Clap! Clap! Clap!* indeed! 🙂

  3. Good One buddy… & congrats once again on your new place… I am sure that I get some valuable tips from you, when I go for my own “HOME SWEET HOME” 🙂

  4. @Meens: Thank you! Thank you! *BOWS GRATEFULLY 🙂 Wanna catch up on some sound sleep on a nice cozy bed? Welcome home for a slumber party! 😀

    @Lakshmipathy: Hey come on! ‘Mariyaadai’ is a priceless movie…how can i give the cost of such an inexpensible movie and demerit it? Won’t caption get angry? 😛

    @patil: Oh…seeing you at my blog after a looong time…am glad you are back. thank you dude…tips are free and i’ll bore you enough with it. When u next come to blore, make sure u drop by 🙂

  5. Congratulations dear new house owners..

    i can relate all ur points to the suffering i also went through.
    especially for getting a bank loan, it would fair for the bank has to reimburse the money i spent travelling to and fro to the bank.. and the best part is, its still not complete.. they want me to visit the bank with new cheque leafs again 🙁

  6. hmmm…….. food for thought…. i’ll keep thm in mind n hope the same wrks for me too… if i ever happen to run the so called 600m race………..

  7. @Sathappan: It happens…and i know how frustrating it can be…just hold on a little longer. Once all that is done, u’ll have ur home sweet home all for yourselves.

    @Amit: Wish you all the very best in advance if you ever choose to run the so called 600m race 🙂

  8. Congrats! You N Vijay have done a grt work for owning Dream house. Applause Guys.Wishes are your way….. that every second gives happiness N grt memories in new home.
    once again grt job!!!!!

  9. Wonderfully written…the pains and the struggles which you both have faced become fruitful..First blog which i read of urs…Good one…Will follow it…All the best…

  10. great 🙂
    house looks nice.

    owning a house is indeed a huge relief.(saying this after going through several rental experiences)

    to take care of the house as it takes care of us requires thought & action.

    apostleofzion

  11. @ANonymous: Check out my next post! 😉

    @Arvind: Thanks. Yeah…it is a huge relief to own a house, that too in a place like Bangalore, half your sal goes for house rent itself 🙂 Sure, after all the efforts, we’d definitely take good care of our house.

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