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Monday, July 16, 2018

Goodbye, dream home: The struggles of a homebuyer in Delhi-NCR

What's to be done when you've emotionally invested in a house that never came to be.

Written by Anuradha Varma | New Delhi | Published: May 29, 2017 8:34:58 pm
homebuying, buying home in delhi-ncr, delhi ncr property buying problems To what end do you chase your dream home? (Source: Thinkstock Images)

As somebody who booked a flat with in Noida eight years ago, I’m now a statistic, joining a legion of homebuyers without a permanent address. RERA (the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act) is a distant cloud of hope, at this stage. A while back, my friends and I went looking for options in Greater Noida, a little further from where we had booked our flats, together with another friend. We can’t wait any longer for the builder, beleaguered with financial problems, to deliver and have decided to say goodbye to our dream home that never came to be. We’ve decided to cut our losses and look for a ready to move in home, even if that means a more expensive flat and increased EMIs, but as every buyer knows, it beats paying rent.

It’s the practical thing to do. But, since when has life been about mundane realities? Saying goodbye to the flat means closing down my Pinterest page, where I set up colourful bar stools for my open kitchen (it had to have a breakfast counter). I looked up sofas, oscillated between just sofa-cum-beds or a combination of three- and two-seaters for the living room, decided between trundle beds or queen-size beds for the second bedroom, which brand would do a better modular kitchen — would a peppy yellow be better than the warmth of wood or stick to a utilitarian steel? And definitely a handmade carpet. Maybe I would replace some of my folk art for something more modern. When I looked at the sample flats this weekend, none of them had an open kitchen. So, it’s bye, bye barstools, it would have been nice knowing you! It’s time to re-adjust my other dreams.

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I had also planned to pick up a bicycle and offered to run errands for my friends who would reside in the same complex, but if all goes to plan, we’ll now be scattered in different complexes. We were to grow old together, leaving keys for our homes with each other, dropping by to water the plants if one went travelling. I hope I will find neighbours I can take for granted wherever I go finally. The first things we realised that my friends and I, looking for three-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, respectively, were headed to different societies that catered to our needs.

My brain takes an instant to build images and experiences and, this time, I had eight years to do it in. So, as I begin my search for a permanent roof over my head in NCR, it’s almost like saying goodbye to a host of memories, so what if none of it really happened?

Calls from property dealers ask if you want to sell, beating you down on the price, till finally you start asking, “How much?” Exiting is all that matters now.

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There are, of course, other struggles that all homebuyers face, besides making sure of a regular income in an increasingly tough job market. I’ll also be saying farewell to my WhatsApp group of other buyers, some of whom wake up in the middle night to vent abut housing and other related tragedies. These are often ticked off by the others. An association was started, but the leaders declared “corrupt” and not working for the welfare of the group, prompting the rise of a self-help group where all are deemed equal. There have been rallies, ‘havans’ to appease the gods, lawsuits filed and attempts at filing FIRs. One vocal member of the group explained why he was so “irritating”, saying he had a home loan EMI, house rent and his daughter’s school fees, which was about Rs25,000 a quarter.

Well, neighbours, I’ll miss not having known you and hope to find an equally raucous bunch wherever I decide to go next. Goodbye, house that lived in my dreams…I’ll have to replace you with something that’s suitable and practical. But, like they say, there’s no love like the first one!

(The writer is an editorial consultant and co-founder of The Goodwill Project. She tweets @anuvee) Views expressed are personal.

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