So Thomasville (basically a 3bhk flat in the heart of the city) was bought when it didn’t exist! It was an under-construction building, which was only about done with the walls & roof of the 2nd floor. We were to actually look at a flat on the 2nd floor, but unfortunately (or fortunately), we were informed by the builder’s sales manager right outside the building that someone finalised that very flat just an hour before our meeting. We were heartbroken. Well, not really – we had seen hundreds of flat over the preceding one & half years, & with nothing having worked out for us, the disappointment was hardly a big deal. I was rather happy to hear that as it was a Saturday evening, I had had a hectic week at work, & I was desperate to get home, get ready, & do weekendy things.
I was all set to bid goodbye, when the manager (the only well-dressed, well-spoken, & classy real estate sales person I met during my 1.5 years of house hunting) offered to let us have a look at the 3rd floor. He said though nothing is up yet, it would be very similar to the 2nd floor, just slightly bigger. While I made faces, that polite husband of mine, readily agreed to hop over all the cement & metal & get to the bare 3rd floor. I grudgingly followed.
So while Mr. Manager started to explain the layout to us, I quickly started to tick off our must-haves in my mind: (i) huge balconies (saw those at the second floor); (ii) all balconies facing the road (no peeping into other people’s home, how sad); (iii) ample sunlight & air; & (iv) beautiful huge-ass trees falling over the balconies. Now let me highlight that while the 4th point may seem more of a ‘good to have’ than a ‘must-have’, for the husband it was indeed a ‘must-have’.
Rosh & I quickly exchanged a look, we were both excited, but the question was how much bigger was the flat going to be. While the bigger the better, the concern was how much more expensive it was going to be and whether we could even afford it. So we asked Mr. Manager and realised that he was being way too modest in his claim of this flat being ‘slightly’ bigger than the one downstairs. We did a quick calculation in our respective heads and we exchanged another look, which basically meant “hello, tata, good-bye”!
So this “seems to be perfect for us” house turned out to be way out of budget. We asked Mr. Manager, if he had any other flats in other buildings, he readily agreed to show us a few just completed, ready-to-move in flats in a close-by neighbourhood where the fancy sort of folks put up. So the next day we had a look at few more flats, of which one we particularly liked, and it wasn’t way out of our budget, and was located in a ‘cool neighbourhood’ (sadly enough it didn’t have trees caressing the balconies but there were enough trees to stare at from the balconies).
After showing us the flats, Mr. Manager was keen to know which ones did we like, if any. We said we liked “treeless”, but what we really liked was “the one that does not exist”, however, it was way out of our budget. Mr. Manager (who seemed to be in his 50s) appeared to have felt bad for a couple in their 20s trying to have a home. He thought awhile and asked us to come and meet the builder and see what could be done.
So, we patiently waited for the weekend and landed up at the builder’s office to discuss ‘things that can be done’. I was expecting (or hoping) the builder to say ‘kids, 50% discount for you” (ok, that’s being excessive), but honestly I thought ‘if someone says we will see what can be done, it must mean that there will be some discount), but well, that didn’t happen. What we were told was that this being a building under construction, it would be a staggered/milestone based payment (basically, you don’t have to put up all the money up front, and you can make payments as the building progresses). We were also informed that we are free to make changes to the layout & other things such as flooring, etc, which made me dizzy with happiness (how I hate those shiny floors!).
So we got home that night & realised that we had truly, deeply, madly, fallen in love with “the one that did not exist”. We did some really complicated math, & came to the conclusion that if we (i) became anti-social & (ii) invested every single penny we ever made or will ever make over the next 12 months & (iii) stopped having a life, we could just about own ‘the one that will soon exist’. Now there is lot that happened in between but eventually, we got to the other side, and exactly 12 (horrendous) months later, we moved into ‘the one’ that we had closely observed come into existence and which we now call ‘home’ (the story that we were the only residents in the building for the first 5 months, and that there was no permanent electricity or corporation water when we moved in better be kept for later.)
As much as I hate long blog posts, I’ll be guilty of doing just that for the first few chapters of ‘The Making of Thomasville”, in the hope of sharing some learnings (& f@$*-ups) from the roller coaster ride so that other new home owners may possibly benefit. So, stay patient till I get to the more interesting bits of doing up a house J.