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India's Unreal Estate Market

India's Unreal Estate Market

October 03, 2012

Why watch a movie when real estate agents can provide you with live entertainment?

Roti, Kapda aur Makaan - A 1974 Bollywood film that strived to highlight the importance of having food, clothing and shelter. While steadily increasing prices of Roti and Kapda can be attributed to inflation, Makaan prices in the metros, continue to hit the roof, or rather, soar through it. On a recent visit to Mumbai, in our quest to find a dream home, I just about succeeded in pulling out my barely-there-few-strands-of-hair in an attempt to understand the logic behind the exponential rates charged per square foot. Little did I know that real estate agents, builders and even co-operative housing society members would have such convincing, innovative responses to my queries on the tip of their tongues. “Sir! International Airport Sir, don’t you want to stay close to the airport?” came this enthusiastic customer service rep’s quick reply to a question we had put forth on why a particular area was pulling exorbitant rates. He was the fifth agent stating this as the reason, the other four we had talked to had all been from completely different suburbs. I wondered just how many international airports were really being planned. “But that’s not approved, no land acquisitions yet, right?” quipped my husband. “Will happen saab, don’t worry, only a matter of time.” Sure, I thought, in just about 15-20 years, when even my kids might be in a position to buy their own house, but who wants to talk about that! He also proceeded to tell us that it would significantly cut back airport travel time. I chuckled. Unless I worked at the airport, it wasn’t going to help with my daily commute to work, a place that I would go to more often than the airport, I surmised. “See that mountain there?” This lady at another builder’s pointed out her window, “That’s where the BOLLYWOOD sign is coming up. Just like HOLLYWOOD is in Los Angeles.” she said. following it up with “If BOLLYWOOD comes, celebrities will also come na sir!”. I wanted to ask her if Rakhi Sawant had booked an apartment already, so we could steer clear, but I kept mum. “Your house will overlook a golf course!” said another gushing salesman. I couldn’t resist asking, “Wow! Is it a 9 hole or 18 hole?” The young 20-something, blinked twice, looked at my husband and then back at me, before he answered, “I think its 24, but let me check with my boss and get back to you.”. Figures. ‘The bigger, the better’ seems to be the favourite motto in the real estate world. Show customers they’re getting so much for so less and you would have them scrambling over each other to put in their down-payment. Then, there was this broker who pitched us the “Area is so developed, modern amenities” story, what with a mall right across the street, you could do all your shopping, groceries etc. The tiny fact that the mall in question had been closed down recently due to fierce competition from another mall two blocks down the road was never mentioned. Technically, there’s still a mall right across the street, isn’t there? This agent at the rental office we visited wouldn’t stop talking about the magnificent IT parks opening up in the vicinity. “Big companies saab. Reliance, Tata, Accenture all nearby. You can walk to work! Memsaab can bring tiffin also for you in the afternoon, its so close.” He said, flicking his head in my direction. Knowing what was coming, my husband, quick as a gun, changed the topic. The walk-to-work concept was really being pitched everywhere. Much as the idea sounded inviting, considering traffic jams and never ending travel in metros, what really helped as a deciding factor was picturing my boss’s face saying “We really have to send this report in tonight. The others stay far away, I can’t ask them to work late, you stay close by, I’m sure you can handle it, couldn’t you?” Well, for Indians after all, work is worship. But the one that took the cake was when this real estate guy pitched us a two-bedroom for Rs. 2.6 crores ONLY. Once I was done counting the number of zeroes in my mind, I visibly blanched and my husband proceeded to explain to the agent that we were looking for something well within a crore. The agent paused and then remarked “Kya saab, people are doing scams of Rs. 35,000 crores, Rs. 20,000 crores and you are talking about one crore. You can also get into the elite league saab, rich people. Then 2.6 crore will be peanuts for you!” I was speechless. How on earth do you respond to that? Even though we eventually did book an apartment, I enjoyed the hunt. Well, even if the Roti and Kapda were to be within reach, the Makaan might still be a distant dream, at least for those from the impoverished class. But that doesn’t stop creative real estate agents from putting their best foot forward, turning into magicians and selling you the world of your dreams, does it? So the next time, you’re in the mood for some hilarity, visit a real estate agent nearby. You will not be disappointed. Dear NRI readers why not connect with us on the following social media platforms. Click here to join our Facebook Fan Page Click here to join our LinkedIn Group


  • Sal
    20.10.12 11:33 AM
    Because increase in value, as in the stock market, is based on perception. And an upcoming airport will positively impact land rates if land is not acquired.. but a 20 year old apartment will depreciate by then.
  • Sal
    20.10.12 11:32 AM
    This is hilarious. But having a home near the mall or airport can increase the value of the home...
  • jaishvats
    05.10.12 05:09 AM
    Hi Deepa

    I agree, they do provide a lot of hilarious moments...And the rise in average salaries of Indians and the rates in real estate are so much damn out of proportion....I remember once my granddad told me that an independant house in Rasipuram (Chennai) costed Rs 7000 (guess in 50s) and he could not buy it then as he could not afford!
    03.10.12 11:31 PM
    @ DEEPA

    I think one crore is still alot of money do you not agree? for two bed flat. But like you said that estate agents will sell you anything or will try.

    I think it's worth paying two crores for hot lunch, see you can take tiffin to the man at lunch time. :) LOL, If I was the man I would pay. Wink wink.

    Rakhi Sawant is the only Indian I know who has more silicon then all my computers put together, but I like looking at her, so don't be nasty to her Deepa and I'm sure your Mr does too. :)

    So, which one was it in the end, was it going to be golf course or hot tiffin? :)
  • Bikramjit Singh Mann
    Bikramjit Singh Mann
    03.10.12 09:03 PM
    :) he he he Well just proves one does not need a marketting degree or something like that to make a SALE.. the gift of mouth is good enough and some people make the best use of it :)

  • C. Suresh
    C. Suresh
    03.10.12 03:51 PM
    Mmm! Deepa! That was great reading and lightened the hour for me. My heart is now as light as my wallet :)
  • Akanksha Dureja
    Akanksha Dureja
    03.10.12 12:50 PM
    Oh, these agents are a pain in the ass. :(
    I hate going to one of them.

    Interesting points you mentioned there...They are the real salesmen, without even having MBAs :P

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