Friday, August 23, 2013

"Something Different" Homes!

Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams - they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do - they all contain truths...Muhammad Ali.
The great champion who in his later years turned as a philosopher too, has used above comparison for the different religions but equally applicable to present real estate scene also! As every day we see launching of new projects all around & the marketing gimmicks used for them. Nothing wrong as unless we don’t market our product how we will be able to sale them; the fun is in the way these products are projected! Just like every week we experience a new film being released and the producers are keen to explain how different their production is! Each film maker/director tries to explain from all platforms that how "hatke" from the traditional movies is this one & that’s why audience should watch it!

Singing on the same lines the trend is being followed in real estate too for launching of new project! We have brand ambassadors for the project now, who are celebrities’ in various fields. They also share their views as why they got associated to the particular project & how different it is from the customer’s point of view & things like that. The developers tries to provide many things which they claim has not been in any of other projects available in the market & their project is unique and different from others.
Here let’s look at the scene few years back in real estate i.e. in 80'-90's, when the housing was in changing phase as till late 80's projects were of small size & volume & city was yet to expand. At the same time options were limited for the customer & need for something different wasn’t there. Since 90's the customer has become more aware & the life style started changing. The more prosperity and wealth of the society has brought a sea change in standard of living as well the needs from the life also changed. Time was the key & each facility we want now  at hands distance! We don’t want to go on street for a morning walk as one there isn’t healthy condition to walk on road at many places due to vehicles & pollution & add the encroachment on footpaths & second is time at hand. So gym & jogging tracks within the complex like amenities roped in. Swimming was considered as only for super riches & that too either in personal pool or five star hotels. For masses only option was public pools which can’t be used by decent middle class families & so came along the town-ships or projects with swimming pools. On similar basis club house & gyms were introduced. Slowly all these also become common & the developers were needed to find out the more different thing for their homes. The things like library or meditation rooms or yoga rooms were discovered & introduced with the regular package of swimming pool & gyms. As the customers are also getting exposed to outer world’s developed countries naturally the assistance of architects from foreign lands comes in picture. Now we can see the projects designed by Singapore or Dubai based architecture firms; here the advantage is the developer gets assisted in introducing some more different ideas with the help of exposure these firms have got under their belt.

This is the era of Designer homes as well designer projects where the customer can demand his interiors on the line of a sample flat made ready with state of the art d├ęcor. Now few projects have their own attached terrace swimming pool & fewer claims the parking adjoin to their flat with car lift. Sky garden & gyms at top floor giving you aerial view around while you exercise is no more a new thing! And if someone thinks it’s all for just few super luxurious clients then even the low budget housing schemes also have designer gardens & things like amphee theaters for entertaining of the society. Amenities in form of specially designed spaces under the name Senior Citizens parks have been thought of & presented along with the regular specifications. So the “something different” trend continues with each new project & sure it’s in the benefit of the customer but, it’s this but which the customer should look while going for “something different“offered to them.

Somewhere in the zest of giving something different are we not deviating from the very basics of the home is what I will like to ask. As does a home or a home buyer really needs all these something different touch? Why not think of a plain simple easy to use & dear to pocket type home, which is the main need of many home buyers? If we don’t have luxurious amenities that’s fine but what one need is amenities outside of the complex & they are proper water supply, public transport & then a home with maximum natural light & ventilation along with lots of open spaces around. Why can’t we think of few builders coming together in nearby locality & think of arranging a PMT i.e. public transport route for the locality which eventually will help in a much larger way? On same lines, adopt a public park or reservation land from the governing body & develop it for the entire locality than just limiting our approach for our project? Also think of making a good road accessing to the complexes in surrounding so as the people in the projects won’t have to spend maintenance of their vehicles? Why we have to depend on Govt for doing all this & why we don’t apply our “Something different” funda here? We have Green Rating system by virtue of which we can ascertain that the project is a Green Building but in last 3 years hardly 60 projects have been registered in entire Pune region & only a few are certified under this rating system. Same situation is for such Star rating system started by PMC; so why not thousands of the developers which are launching every day new projects go for making their projects as Green Buildings & name it something different, as this will be eventually for entire society & not for few residents of such projects? Why we are not trying to cut the construction costs instead giving luxurious range specifications & making the end product costly? Isn’t it will be something different if we claim that we are giving cheapest rate per sft for a good quality construction? As for the real needy buyer what he is paying at end is what matters most! There is never a problem for super rich or super poor client in real estate as earlier can dictate his terms & get the home he want; & later category just don’t care what they are getting till it’s in their budget! So at end it’s the middle class & higher middle class who get hooked up in this something different tag!

Somewhere down the line the buyer should also become a bit aware about all these gimmicks’ & read the “something different” tag with open eyes, that whether he really needs it while buying his home? As “no lunch is free” so, what comes in lieu of “something different”, mind it very well! Decide our priorities first & then go for the deal as there is the sure way of getting a good home is what I feel. As the great boxing legend has said ultimately it’s the home of which the four walls & its surroundings is going to matter most & for that one doesn’t need to be different but plain & simple is what going to stay forever! And only the buyers have power to decide what’s truly different & what’s really needed for their home!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune

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