So you are moving to Mumbai! Before you can get on with realizing your dreams, you’ll have to get involved in the obstacle course that is apartment hunting in Mumbai. You will have to navigate the tricky world of brokers, try to impress landlords, get cleared by the building’s “society” (or board), find that your single status works against you, try to gauge at first sight if you are being told the truth about 24-hour water supply and, most critically, stay within your budget. So do your research, roll up your sleeves, and plunge headfirst into the challenge. Some tips before you take that plunge:
Choosing a neighborhood is crucial. You want to live close enough to work so as not to spend all your time and sanity on your commute, but at the same time you don’t want to break the bank. To get an idea of a neighborhood that might suit you, first read our section detailing Mumbai neighborhoods. If you already have, sally forth!
Finding Your Apartment
Before finding a broker, do your research. Get a good idea of the going rates in the neighborhood that you are exploring. Websites like 99acres, MagicBricks and Makaan are good for this and you may even strike gold online. There are also forums on Facebook inspired by another anti-broker website that might help you cut out the middleman altogether.
You are now in your potential apartment. It does not have dreary blue walls stained by water damage; it does not look out onto a mosquito-infested garbage dump; it is not located two feet away from a traffic signal where the bus horns will blow your eardrums out… so what’s the catch? We hope there isn’t one but do ask the questions that will take you beyond the obvious—ideally before you put money down.
Ask the neighbors or the building watchman whether there is 24/7 water and electricity supply. Also check the building’s provisions for storing water in case of an emergency (municipal repairs or city water supply leakages).
Does your flat get piped gas or does it have a gas cylinder in the kitchen?
Is there open or closed parking, or any parking at all, included with the flat?
Does the society have rules about parties, guests and visitors?
What is the exact security deposit amount?
Check with local shops or small business for any obvious warning signs about residents of the building and safety of the neighborhood.
How close is the nearest train station, bus stop, and/or autorickshaw/taxi stand?
Is there easily available domestic help to clean your apartment, wash and iron your clothes, etc?
Finally, stick to the universal principles of negotiating, like telling your broker that your budget is a little lower than it really is.