Real Estate: It's not just about the money, honey!
Hunting for a house is exciting. And if you get paid lakhs for it (plus incentives, as they say) then it's a lot more fun, right?
But that's not the first thing Janak Malkani said when I asked him about the pluses of working in the booming real estate industry. Instead he said: "It's the happiness you get when a family plans its life in the empty houses you show it. When the woman plans the kitchen, the kids their bedroom…It's a great feeling."
Emotions. That's what the business is about. Money? Yes. But lot of emotion too. The real estate industry may be about brick and mortar with a glass façade and growing at 30 per cent annually. But when it comes to residential properties__which is an important area of specialization within the industry__it is all about finding that perfect house.
How does one do that in Mumbai where budgets are expanding and homes are shrinking both against the middle class buyer's will? Where you pay 45 lakhs for a 400-square-foot space in Andheri and end up with a bedroom that can take either your bed or your wardrobe? And, of course, spend the next 15 years of your life repaying the loan you take to buy this pigeonhole.
If you have the money to go for a bigger house, lucky you. And from the rate at which newly built houses are being lapped up there seem to be many such people. But for Mumbai's vast middle class the perfect house is still an elusive dream.
Ever since I started working on this subject I've been thinking of what it is like to sell someone his or her dream house. Poor journalist that I am (Every alternate blog will have this line. This series has made us all realise many other people are making so much more money. Hmmm…) I don't think I'll be able to buy my dream home in this lifetime. But I like the idea of building dreams with people when they go house hunting.
It may sound high-handed when a well-paid property consultant says there is tremendous joy in getting a family its dream home. But I think for somebody to say that, the emotional factors involved in the job are probably more dominating than the monetary aspects. And when that happens, you can be rest assured it will be a job you love. Cheers. Shweta.