A comparison of old vs. new ways of doing business in real estate

Changes in the ways of doing business in Real estate


Sure, some of the things stay the same; in fact they’ll probably continue to remain unchanged for as long as there are transactions between two human beings, be it a seller or buyer or any other dealing in general. Pertaining to the real estate industry, there are many conflicting sides which consider that virtues such as a personal touch and honesty and transparency are done away qualities- its all about the numbers and the profits.

However, things can change as they may, one thing is certain, a home is a precious asset for the seller buyer (and the broker/ agent too) and there are certain tacit guidelines that govern it. It helps to remember that merits such as promptness and redressal of genuine concerns are held in good stead no matter which century we are living in.

Circle this one…and this one too

From potential jobs to prospective bride grooms, the traditional way of looking for something always began with the scouring of the local newspapers. Searching for a prospective home was no different and listing advertisements in the real estate section was usually the first and most important step for anyone who was looking to buy or sell.

Once preferences were duly encircled and the said parties contacted, the buyer would trek down to the location, trusty newspaper in hand. Often times, the effort would be in vain and the search would begin fresh anew. Say, a deal was garnered, there would be a joint discussion and negotiation between the seller and buyer (probably a broker or none at all) and the deal was finalised. Simple.

All this has changed and much to the relief of old timers, technology has made it easy for a buyer to hunt and for a seller to post his property details online. Of course, the property pictures, videos and location details gleaned from Google maps have made the job of house hunting so much easier and quicker. This doesn’t however substitute an actual visit and thorough inspection.

Advertising and promotion

Today, it is not uncommon to get daily updates from real estate agents and builders delivered in the inbox. Agreed, it is annoying when you don’t really need that information, but to a genuine home buyer the daily update means a world of information. Easily sent and received.

In fact, the methodology of reaching out to the buyer/ seller is getting more and more ingenious and innovative day by day. So finding an advertisement of a newly launched property in an unexpected place such as a shopping mall, an airport check in tag or in the parking lot is really not that uncommon anymore.

It definitely beats the conventional way of marketing properties through telephonic cold calls and going door to door, which were considered as effective but intrusive ways of attaining new customers.

Communication with the buyer/ seller

Suppose you had employed the services of a broker, you would typically be barraged by a flurry of calls, personal visits and letters. Some considered it as important communication for establishing a good rapport with the broker, with the end result being a good customer; most others would not have appreciated the constant intrusion in their lives.

Thankfully, this communication now has some semblance of propriety. The agent/ broker will probably communicate with the client via emails or text messages, thereby leaving room for the customer to respond when it is convenient to do so. Besides, there is a clearer message in a written format that would otherwise have been subject to hearsay in a personal meeting.

The flipside to this cutting edge use of communication is that you may perhaps not remember the face of the persons you’re dealing with, as you end up seeing a lot less of each other. The buyer, seller and the broker function as three separate entities that’ve only come together for the sole purpose of closing a transaction. Yet, the efficacy and the benefits of personal freedom that modern technology affords with cannot be ignored and it applies to transacting real estate business just as much as with anything else.

3 Fundamental mistakes a seller should avoid while selling the house.


While selling your Flat

Giving up and putting up on sale the home you’ve lived in is already a tough enough decision, selling it for a blunder that you may perhaps make in hastiness is well, a cardinal sin. Let us say that you are the cautious kind and you’ve gone over the sale details with a fine tooth comb, there may still be some miniscule details that you’ve ended up ignoring.

Keep the house in ship shape

Do remember that when you are selling the house you really must put yourself in the buyer’s shoes too. Think objectively and imagine how the house hunter would view your house. Improvise on the tiny repair jobs if it is possible to do so; think of mending the tiny cracks that will perhaps be in open view or employ a professional landscape gardener to spruce up the front lawn. Of course, do remember that big repairs require big funds, in which case you may need to plan things in advance. However, don’t let anyone stop you from making minor improvements to the house.

It also goes without saying that messy homes create an immediate disgust factor and so does furniture in a state of disarray. Remember that if it doesn’t visually please you, it’s even less likely to appeal to the buyer.

Appoint yourself a good broker

Speak to friends, acquaintances and colleagues- anyone, who has recently sold their home and has had a good experience with an agent/ broker. Meet the broker directly in his office and ask him questions about how he goes about his business. Clarify his terms, brokerage charges and when it would be payable. You’ll get a good idea about his working methodology when you’ve seen him in action with other clients.

Now, let’s take a broad, from the top view of how you can avoid some slip-up’s and still go about selling the house and saving yourself some sweat

1. Dropping the price

The first step is determining the price for your house. It would do a world of good if you are prepared with some idea about the ongoing rates. Scour listing websites and real estate portals; speak with neighbours who are in the know and consider running an eye over the recent price trends in your locality. A good broker should know the history of the area and should be able to give an unbiased figure.

Having said that, once you have determined the price, don’t go about reducing it time and again (worse still, out of anger or desperation). This will make prospective buyers wait for the next price drop. Remember that the trick here is to set it right and then sit tight. Don’t undersell and don’t over quote either– the buyer is just as well prepared as you.

2. Rejecting an offer because it’s come in too soon

Chances are the house is going to have more than its fair share of curious onlookers in the first few weeks, some of which may actually be genuine buyers. Of those who come to you with their first offer, it is best advised to consider it seriously.Usually, the first few offers are looked upon with some trepidation, for wont of a better offer that will come in later. It may not always be like that and it would be a good idea to remember the adage ‘A bird in hand is worth two in the bush’.

3. Pricing the house too high

This is one of the most obvious blunders that sellers make, perhaps thinking that real estate should indeed be a profit making venture or none at all. Of course, if you’re on the other end of the spectrum and have priced it too low you’ll end up worrying that you’re probably giving away the profits. It need not be either scenario.

To say that this is the trickiest part of home selling would be an understatement. You’ll need to consider the advantages of your house versus other similar homes down the street, think about the overall demand and the economical sentiment in general, deliberate over the home’s location and consider the condition of the house.

The right price tag for the right value and at the right time should just about do the trick.


What to know about mortgage and how it works


A mortgage, also referred to as a mortgage loan, is used by buyers of property to raise capital for purchase or by existing property owners to raise funds for any purpose.

Before understanding this in detail, let us re-visit the more commonly known entity ‘loan’. A loan is a relationship between two parties – a lender and borrower. The lender is also called a creditor and the borrower is called a debtor. The money lent and received in this transaction is known as a loan. The amount of money initially borrowed is called the principal. The borrower pays back not just the principal but also an additional fee, called interest.

Loan repayments are usually paid in monthly instalments and the duration of the loan is usually pre-determined. In the early years, most of your repayments will go toward paying off interest on a mortgage. But as your mortgage reduces, the interest part of the repayment goes down. So as time goes on, more of the monthly repayments go toward paying off the capital. The borrower usually has to pay an up-front amount called as the down-payment as part of the initial loan payment. This is usually arranged to a maximum of 20% of the property value.


Mortgages are secured (collateral) loans that are specifically tied to real estate property, such as land or a house. A collateral serves as protection for a lender against a borrower’s default—that is, it can be used to offset the loan to any borrower failing to pay the principal and interest under the terms of a loan obligation. Un-secured loans are not attached to assets hence they introduce higher risk to a borrower. These kinds of loans thus involve smaller amounts. Credit cards, bank overdrafts, and personal loans are all types of unsecured loans.

The property is owned by the borrower in exchange for money that is paid in installments over time. This enables borrowers to use property sooner than if they were required to pay the full value of the property upfront. Once the mortgage amount (principal + interest) is paid in full, the borrower then becomes a full owner of the property. This arrangement also protects creditors (mortgagees). In the event that a debtor repeatedly misses mortgage loan payments, for example, his or her home and/or land may be foreclosed upon; meaning the lender once again takes physical ownership of the property to recover the losses incurred as a result of the defaults.

Types of mortgages

In terms of interest rates, the mortgages can be further categorized as fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) and adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). In an FRM, the borrower pays the same interest rate for the life of the loan i.e. the monthly principal and interest payment remain the same from the first mortgage payment to the last. In this ‘traditional’ form of mortgage, the borrower is un-affected by either a rise or a fall in the market interest rate. This type of mortgage loan is preferred if economy is not very strong and the interest rates are going to fluctuate.With an ARM, the interest rate is fixed for an initial term, but then it fluctuates with market interest rates. The monthly payments by the borrower are thus un-predictable– where-in there could be a decrease in the amount in case the market rate decreases or the
borrower would need to cough up an added sum on the interest rates if the market rate increases. These types of mortgage loans are preferred in a performing economy where interest rates are likely to fall.

Reverse Mortgage

Another interesting type of an instrument in this family is a reverse mortgage which helps the home-owner to raise capital by borrowing against the value or his / her home. This is exactly the opposite of a conventional home mortgage loan. When the home is pledged, its monetary value is arrived at by the bank, on the basis of the demand for the property, current property prices, and the condition of the house. The bank then disburses a loan amount to the home-owner in the form of periodic payments, after considering a margin for interest costs and price fluctuations. The periodic payments also known as reverse EMI are received by the home-owner over fixed loan tenure.

Sembakkam- Residing here is sheer delight for residents

Nature and Modernity- The best of both worlds in Sembakkam!


Sembakkam is a quiet, consecrated municipal in Kancheepuram district, located within the south side of the ever so bustling city of Chennai. Situated approximately 30 kms away from the city centre, Sembakkam has recently been in the news on account of proximity to the adjacent IT Parks and the recent growth in real estate activity.

About Sembakkam

Positioned advantageously in St Thomas Mount Taluk of Kancheepuram district, Sembakkam lies within the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA). The area enjoys superb access through road, rail and air bases and is connected to all the important landmarks within a 10 km radius. Recently the Sembakkam Municipality received its prestigious ISO 9001:2008 certification from an evaluating body— a recognition that is not just noteworthy but well-deserved as well.

However, Sembakkam has become hugely popular among home buyers for the simple reason that the area provides a wonderful work life balance. There is a hurried measure of pace combined with a perfect harmony of peace with many temples such as the Chandra Mouleeswarar temple, the Jambulingeswarar temple- a temple of lord shiva and Aghilandeswari amman.

The exquisite Skandasharamam temple has been built recently with lord murugan, pancha muga Vinayagar, Shiva lingam and lord Mahalakshmi. Besides these there are many other temples in and around the area. The Guruswamy Nagar temple is believed to be one of the more pristine and well-maintained must-visit temples here.

There is a reserve forest area within the precincts of Sembakkam and it serves as a green lung to the town. Besides which, families frequent the immaculate Sembakkam Park which has many amenities such as a library, water fountain, orchids, lawn, shuttle ground, a walking path. Moreover, the Sembakkam Lake is located in this area and one can easily access the nearby Cove long beach.

These factors have contributed to make Sembakkam a highly coveted destination.

The challenges of a growing area

The Sembakkam Lake is situated between Sembakkam, the Chitlapakkam town panchayats and the Pallavaram municipality.Once sprawled across 150 acres, the Lake is now believed to be much smaller in size due to encroachments.

Considered to be a rich treasure trove of water, the lake receives the excess water supply from the nearby Chitlapakkam Lake and other reservoirs in Hasthinapuram and Nemilichery. The value of the lake can further be gauged from the fact that every monsoon,the lake assists in recharging the ground water table and provides an ongoing source of water supply in the nearby areas.

However in recent times the lake was subjected to massive garbage dumping and encroachments. Nevertheless the issue was recently taken up seriously and authorities have planned constructing a weir and putting up a fence around the lake in order to curb encroachments. There are plans for reconstructing the outlet point, de-silting and height increment of the lake bund as well.

Once complete, the redevelopment activities planned for the Semabakkam Lake will go on to make this place a nature lovers paradise.

Covelong Beach

The covelong beach is merely 45 mins or 27-28 kms Sembakkam, if one travels via the Medavakkam-Mambakkam Rd or the Vandalur-Kelambakkam Rd. The beach is renowned for its fishing activities and a charming seaside façade. Many activities such as windsurfing, swimming among other water sports can be enjoyed at the beach. In fact, as you walk along the beach, you will also come across the ruins of an ancient Dutch fort. A leisurely stroll in the Covelong (Kovalam) village will take you to an archaic Catholic Church.

At a distance of a few kilometres from Covelong, one can reach Mahabalipuram and visit the 7th century shore temples or the Crocodile farm.



Handy energy tips that take the shock out of the energy bill

Save your penny and earn it too- Home energy conservation tips that will make you smile!


Why save energy?
Let there be light! But let there be no squandering of it, especially not in today’s day and age. No wastage- That’s the mantra, considering that we are almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels for energy production. Given that fossil fuels are fast depleting besides being a non-renewable source, mankind will be in a doldrums if energy conservation is not taken seriously by one and all.

But what is all this energy conservation brouhaha about? In simple terms, it is a clever method of expending electricity with a slight change in the consumption methods; a means of preventing future resource depletion with a lessening pressure on precious fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Conversely, burning less of fossil fuels also means lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the number one cause of global warming. And of course, who can ignore the fact that besides easing pressure on fossil fuels there is the added benefit of saving on energy bills and making some added income on the side.

Here’s some innovative ways and means of conserving the mega watts-

Energy saving in the building
Most architects and builders prefer to make buildings complaint with energy saving methods from the blueprint phases itself. Smart homes now come with pre-fit motion sensor lightings and solar panels that reduce wastage and make way for optimum saving on electricity. Older buildings conduct energy audits, a tried and tested method for improving the utilization of energy. Essentially, the audit suggests ways and means of reducing the consumption of energy without creating any unnecessary interferences or disruptions. Audits can be done in commercial and residential buildings alike.

Conservation begins at home
There are innumerable ways of making a neat saving by employing handy energy conservation guidelines that ensure you can turning on the savings by choosing to turn off that button-

Make it two

The oven uses many kilowatts of energy and its truly a criminal waste to utilise it for just one thing. Ideally, it is suggested to prep in advance and prepare two-three things that can be placed on multiple baking trays and placed in one go itself.

Scrape it off-
It may sound easy and less of a tedious process, however, pre-rinsing the dishes in hot water in the dishwasher does use a lot of energy. It is better to scrape the dishes beforehand and toss the leftover scraps in the bin. Pop the dishes into the dishwasher and you’ll find that it’ll save precious water and electricity. Additionally, it is important to start the dishwasher on full load capacity besides turning on the energy saving setting. This will allow the dishes to air dry conveniently or you can turn off the drying cycle yourself. You’ll find that the heat for the drying cycle utilises nearly 20 percent of energy of the total dishwasher’s electricity consumption.

Did you know that nearly 90% of a washing machine’s energy is exhausted on heating up water? Ideally, one must set the clothes washer to either warm or cold water setting, rarely hot. Wash your clothes at 30-40 °C and you’ll save a good amount of money.

It is also advisable to hang the clothes out to dry, rather than using the tumble drying setting. Even better, take your clothes out of the dryer just before they’ve completely dried off. The slight remnant dampness will help to iron clothes quicker. Besides, you’ll also have used less energy on the drier.

Blow hot. Blow cold
The trick is to set it right and then sit tight. Don’t keep the heater going on for too long, just set the thermostat to an ideal temperature and leave it be. Using hot blasts for unnecessarily heating the room will lead to wasteful consumption of energy and put additional load on the heater.

Similarly, in the summer, keep the air conditioners on an accurate setting keeping into account the number of people and the temperatures outside. Ensure that you use the sleep timer at nighttimes. Additionally, clean or replace air filters from time to time. Air conditioners get overloaded when it requires drawing air through dirty filters. Replacing the filter in time can save upto 5 percent of energy.