Concrete Beliefs In Indian Realty – The Sentiments and Beliefs Which Play Big Role during property purchase in India

A saying goes that the best investment on earth is earth. In the words of Charles Dudley Warner: “No man but feels more of a man in the world if he have a bit of ground that he can call his own. However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep; and that is a very handsome property. To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds and watch, their renewal of life, this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do.”
Especially true for Indians, for whom home ownership has the most positive and uplifting effect. How the face beams with a megawatt smile when they start talking about their own home… ‘sadi kothi’ (my house)!
A house is not just a house – it stands for safety, security and there is great deal of pride in ownership of this unique asset for an Indian. Owning a house is a keystone in financial and emotional security. You aren’t buying a space to eat and sleep. It is where you go after a hard day on the job – it is your ‘safe haven’.
India, with its unique social landscape, is driven by numerous religious beliefs and, for most people, they are sacrosanct.
To approach the Indian market one has to be mindful about these social realities. One significant trend is of buying during Navaratra and Diwali. In Indian real estate industry, it is common knowledge that one third of the annual sales happen during Diwali.
On an average, the festive season stokes up real estate transactions by 25-35%. On the contrary the “Shraadh” period typifies stalemate and a complete lull in the industry. This period is utilized for marketing and research activities to set the ground for sales during festive season starting from Dussehra to Diwali.
The real estate market operates on trust, rather than it being a plain commercial deal. People find brokers, more from word or mouth and references and bestow full trust on these agents. Brokers have a great deal of influence on the decision-making process and house hunting of a common man; hunting a house without a broker is akin to fighting a legal battle without a lawyer.
Even though things are changing now, and investors keep a keen eye on the internet platforms that provide reams of data on every locality and project, the final call, however, is made with the ‘trustworthy’ brokers. The New Age broker is becoming much more professional with even the term ‘brokerage’ rechristened as ‘transactions’!
The other important emotional driver during house purchase is the family. “Family is the real engine or driving force of Indian real estate market. Strong family ties play a pivotal role; even today, if a person is buying a house, he consults his full family before a final decision,” says Sonika Khurana, Planning Head, Vardhman Estate & Developer (P) Ltd.
An individual may zero in upon a property, but a final call happens only with consensus of family members. The stamp of approval of elders is seen as a must.
Family often lends financial support, without any ‘interest’ and, at times, without any expectation of return of their money. How else would one imagine people at the beginning of their career in their early thirties buying homes in metros; bank loans notwithstanding, it cannot be without the support of their family. So whether it is parents, in-laws, siblings – all have a role to play in that home purchase.
Some prefer to buy house in proximity to their extended families. And even those who, due to professional and sundry other reasons, are living in another city or country, are very keen and particular about the ‘safety’ and ‘security’ of their parents. “I am looking for a flat for my parents aged 70 and 65 in Gurgaon. I am keen on a place for them which has constant power, water and most importantly, tight security,” says Amol Mehta, a US-based NRI.
Rajeev Talwar, the managing director of DLF Universal Ltd, says: “A majority of customers are senior people – in their middle ages and beyond, since only at that time can one have this kind of affordability. One of the major reasons they come to this elite community of DLF apartments, besides exclusivity, is safety and security – something that their children, especially if they are living elsewhere, are very particular.”
Vastu compliance and east-facing property are other beliefs that drive the choice of customers. “People usually prefer eastfacing property. As the Sun rises in the east, this direction symbolizes life,” Sonica says, adding, “According to vastu principles, the main entrance of a house opening up to the east or the north is considered best.”
In fact, there is a new emerging trend of hiring ‘astro’ architects. Neeta Sinha, an ‘astro’ architect, has a clientele who are a veritable who’s who of Bollywood and the corporate world (like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kirron Kher, Karan Johar, Punj Lloyd, Kotak Mahindra, ICICI Ventures, Cox & Kings, among others).
“I study in some detail the kundlis (horoscope) of people staying in the house; whether the house is owned or rented, family is joint or nuclear and many other factors are also taken into consideration before I can make the kundli of a house,” Sinha says.
Her method is based on astrology, which she studied for seven years, along with vastu, and uses elements of feng shui in her advisory. Ask her what are the topmost concerns that bring people to her and she says ‘relationships’ – and improving its quality. She says everyone, across the board, yearns for health, harmony and happiness in their lives. The rich and famous are also concerned about their name and status besides other things.
Did you know what you eat is also relevant to house-hunting in certain parts of India!
“Are you a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian?” is a standard question that prospective tenants and buyers confront in Mumbai.
“While other cities are divided into premium and non-premium areas, the Mumbai real estate is divided into vegetarian and non-vegetarian pockets. They say they were amused that they were asked about their food habits – “We wondered how food preferences were related to housing, but very soon realized that being a vegetarian opens many doors in Mumbai and conversely, being a non-vegetarian closes some options”.
The fact is that the city has a fair share of Gujaratis, Marwaris, South Indians and pockets of Mumbai such as Santa Cruz, Khar, Juhu are dominated by pure vegetarian crowd, and hence the strong preferences.
Mona says – “Imagine, there is a pureveg Italian restaurant called Little Italy at Juhu. You will not find this any other part of the world!”
There are some project launches which are again for pure vegetarians. Even certain buildings in the newly launched Nahar Residency’s Nahar Amritshakti at Chandivali are only for vegetarians. There are some builders who develop societies meant only for vegetarians; they create a mandir (temple) there and the multistorey gets booked in no time.


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