The parameters for buying a flat are so many that compromises are, omnipresent Mumbai citizens will always have constraints of the particular area they want to settle, the rates, area another major factor, proximity to workplace and schools, the list goes on. But hope there are additions to this long list. The current crop of housing projects have add-ons like swimming pools, clubhouses, gyms, health clubs, restaurants – these are the major attractions, but in smaller projects it is double height lobby, landscaping of the outer spaces marble cladding on walls and stairs, large lifts, safety features like the refuge areas — the list is endless. All these have started mattering to various degrees, with the increasingly savvy home buyer who is looking for maximum gain for his hard earned rupee. It is all very well for the elevation to be different and special but that is only a visual element. In the case of these features the actual usability is what matters to the buyer. It should have an aesthetic as well as user appeal. For instance “we are providing a podium garden which will cover almost ten acres which will be a definite plus for anybody living there”.
It is true that earlier buyers were willing to put up with narrow, badly ventilated or dimly lit corridors uneven staircases and one lift for one building but now the scenario is different. Convenience is countered very high even if it is not about luxury but plain functionality, as exposure to better layouts and, materials grow. Buyers will not buy if the basics are not in place. Customers are much more conscious of everything that does or could affect them – whether it is environment, safety or health wise. The days of selling a flat where one had to bend down to enter, with the electricity meters out on display and at risk for the elements are long gone. No customer minds paying that slight extra when it comes to these aspects, especially as eventually home reflects their lifestyle and status in life to all visitors. The developer would need to put in approximately Rs 50 per square foot over the original cost to provide all of these basic amenities and no customer today is averse to that cost being passed on as it is not a high price to pay. Security and safety are paramount and frankly who doesn’t want a large lobby with twenty four hour security with attendant and the outside of the flat reflecting the inside – it is no longer only about the four walls of the home.
It is now getting more and more important that developers focus on these aspects as it now being asked, almost demanded by the customers. It has become a great point of discussing between builders and buyers today. It is not only the fact that developers are providing such amenities, but the quality of giving also is crucial. The health club, the swimming pool, the logging track – all of these may be present but may not be adequate for the size of the project when fully occupied. It is not enough for the amenities to be simply checked off a list, they need to be more than adequate and superior in quality.
This brings up another important point wherein the maintenance of these special amenities is under scrutiny. Most developers prefer to keep these under their control as strict quality standards can be maintained and it remains the showpiece of the development. We have a beautifully maintained clubhouse and other items like a jogging track boxed in play areas for cricket or a basketball court. The important part is that professional staff runs these for instance the tennis court makers are experienced, the lifeguards are proficient and the gym instructors are trained. They are capable of training children and adults desirous of learning. The icing on the cake is that all of this is within five minuets of our home, with no hassles involved in reaching the clubhouse.
The inherent mark up is a small price to pay of such meaningful value additions to the quality of life as all buyers and builders have some to realize. Here’s to the better life.