Finding a home is not easy –nowhere. You want to come to a cozy home after a long day at work; you want to have enough space for children playing and parties with your friends; you want a convenient location, maybe a bit of greenery around and some amenities you can’t live without. For expats, moving to Mumbai is a big decision. Likewise, moving into the right home is a big step. With the difference and new experience somebody from abroad experiences in the first few of months of moving here, their home may be the only oasis with the known comfort.
I spent my first couple of years in India without house hunting as I moved into my husband existing apartments. But since then, we have been moving houses twice. The first move was unspectacular as we were shifting apartments within the same building in Andheri. But a couple of weeks back, we moved to Kurla which is closer to our work places (probably the most important reason to choose a location in Mumbai!!!).
Websites like housing.com have made it so much easier to find the right apartment –but it doesn’t stop there. Once you found your dream home on the picture, you have to get it. And that can be a very frustrating long process (especially when you are a foreigner)! As most people, we used a broker to find our new home and we were very lucky because they did not show us extremely overpriced expat apartments. Instead, they listened to what we were looking for and helped us find it.
Or maybe we played it right: My husband checked out a couple of places without me and took videos of the apartments to show me later. As he is Indian, people don’t show him the pricey “foreigner” places when he goes alone. And once they anchored the price, I come into picture 🙂
This may sound like a good solution but the reality is this takes much more energy and time. And even when we revisited the potential apartments together, brokers and landlords came up with all different excuses why now the prize has increased or that suddenly another couple were interested in the place and offered more money.
But to bring this story to a happy end: Even without accepting foreigner prices, a bit of Hindi and a lot of negotiation skills, we made it and are now living in our dream home 🙂
As mentioned earlier, distance to your work place, kids’ school, etc. is probably the #1 reason to choose where in Mumbai you want to live. For me and my husband that was a difficult one as I work in town and his office is all the way in the north of the suburbs. So we were looking for a place halfway which allowed both of us to travel by road and had enough options around to socialize, relax and forget the craziness of this city. In a mega city like Aamchi Mumbai, it is important to have a home with all the comfort that you need (no matter whether you are an expat or a local).
To the surprise of all our friends (local as well as expat), we found our dream home in Kurla: Walking distance to the church, big trees in front of the window, big living room to entertain and with a club house that allows us to exercise and unwind. Besides –it takes us less than 30 minutes to Bandra, Powai or even Lower Parel (well again, if the traffic permits!).