Pre House Hunt

  • Be honest about how long do you think you will stay in your new place.
  • If it is around a year, then know that with broker fee (anywhere between half and one month) and one-month painting charge, you will pay for 12.5 months for the 11-month contract that will be drawn with your landlord.
  • This means your actual cost per month will be different than the amount you send to your landlord each month.
  • Ideally, you should stay for 2-3 years so that these extra 2 months cost gets spread over a longer duration.
  • Think about the features you want in your new house and split them into
    • Must have P0
    • Should have P1
    • Nice to have P2
  • For me, P0s were at least 2 balconies, a non-ground floor flat, within 2 kms radius of office, a large bedroom, built-in wardrobes, western-style bathrooms, security, ample sunlight (especially in the morning), not too many restrictions, and 24 hours water during summers. P1s were society, attached bathrooms with all the rooms, power backup, well-lit kitchen. P1s include everything else.
  • P0s were what I communicated to the broker as requirements for the house. Rest I used to analyze myself.

During the hunt

  • Make it clear you will give only half a month’s rent to the broker. If you don’t negotiate upfront they will assume the full month and hassle you later.
  • Ask friends who stay in the area about +ves as well as -ves.
  • Confirm if the area floods during the rains.
  • Check if there is too much dust in the staircases of the building. It is an indication of how well maintained the place is.
  • Try to talk to the guards if it is a society.
  • Check the place once during daytime and again at night.
  • Don’t settle on the first house you like.
  • Avoid FOMO and say yes only when your P0s are met. You should not have any second thoughts once you move in.

Once a you like a place and want to confirm it

  • Check the tube chocks.
  • Check the plug points. Take a charger with you and see if the plug points work.
  • Ask about 24 hours of power backup.
  • Confirm with the owner who will be responsible for the repair. Say, your geyser conks out one week inside you moving in, will it be you or he who pays for the repair/replacement?
  • Check all the geysers.
  • Check for electricity fluctuations. In older buildings wirings are faulty. The only way to check is by doing a load test. Turn on all geysers. Our geyser turned out to be faulty when we did this test and our electricity tripped.
  • Check if the bathrooms and office room have power backup.
  • Check if there are holes for rats/cockroaches to enter.
  • Confirm when you should change the inverter oil if the owner has provided one.
  • Ask about garbage disposal.
  • Check shower fittings
  • Check water pressure for washing machine tap.
  • Check if plushes work properly.
  • Ask the owner about the existing Wi-Fi connection. Check wifi coverage across the house. Check possible wifi dead zones. Do a video call from inside the house while walking around to test this.
  • Ideally, the point for the router should have power backup so that you don’t lose internet during power cuts.
  • Check locks on almirahs. Get the keys for each one of them. If the keys are not there, get it in writing.
  • Check the condition of the dining table and beds if you have been provided with those.
  • If you plan to get a new mattress then ask the old mattresses to be removed.
  • Check the main door lock.
  • Check the water pressure in all the bathrooms.
  • Check duplicate keys. Ideally, the owner should not keep spare keys.
  • Check washing machine inlet and outlet pipes.
  • Discuss who will pay maintenance. Put it clearly on the agreement.
  • Check if the fan makes too much noise at full speed.
  • Will be able to get your old furniture, including your king-size bed, inside the door?
  • Look out for rust on iron rods.
  • Check if all the doors can be locked properly; if the latches work fine.
  • Ask who will fix heavy electronics if they stop working?
  • Who will do fixes if there is water seepage? This is a common problem in old societies.
  • Carefully observe the layout of the house is important. Think where you will put all your stuff. I realized that the place where I wanted to put my study table did not have any plug points nearby. So I had to use an extension cord.
  • Talk to the neighbors in the absence of the owner or broker.
  • Check if there is some new construction going on nearby.
  • Ask if there are any restrictions placed by society: Can you get your food delivered to your doorsteps or do you need to go to the gate? What about housework? Can you drill a hole on the wall, if you have to, at 8 PM?
  • Check if there is a washbasin near the dining hall.
  • Check alignment of tube lights.
  • Check for cracks in the walls.
  • Check the flooring unless you want your dining table chairs to jiggle.
  • Ask the neighbors if there is any water seepage problem in the building.
  • Ask the neighbors if there is any cockroach infestation.
  • Walk around in the neighborhood. Can you imagine living there? Sometimes the house might be great but there might be a slum nearby.
  • Is there any medical shops nearby?
  • If your house is in the outskirts, check if the food delivery apps deliver there.
  • Check out google and facebook reviews of the society.
  • Check availability of Uber.
  • Check route to and from work.
  • Availability of fiber optic internet providers. Local cable operator doesn’t count. At least 2 providers is critical.
  • If you’re the one who has to pay the maintenance, confirm the mode of payment beforehand.
  • Check if all drawers open/close smoothly.
  • Check kirana Stores accessibility.
  • How far is the nearest supermarket?
  • Are you getting mobile network in all the rooms? Are there dead zones? Atleast do one call from the house to check signal strength.
  • Are these mosquito meshes?
  • Check if there are any holes to get the fiber optic cable inside the house for your router.
  • Is there sufficient natural light coming in?
  • Check maid and cook availability in the society.
  • Read the notice board (if any) to get a general idea of society rules/culture.
  • If you are in Bangalore, ask neighbors if monkeys roam around in the area. I swear I had to keep my doors closed in my previous house because of constant monkey invasions.
  • Ask the owner if they have restriction around guests? If your parents want to move in with you for a month, will they object? You want to get these things cleared before moving in.
  • Check if the apartment has ample storage space.
  • Ask the neighbors how frequently power cuts happen.
  • Is there a provision for water purifier (say water pipe outlet and switch)?
  • Will you have to go out and carry Bisleri bottles yourself for drinking water? If yes, is there a shop nearby that delivers water?
  • Check how far is the nearest medical clinic?
  • In case you are a privacy focused person, confirm if the society/building has Mygate or other security system which tracks all your data.
  • Check if your owner/society will be okay with you having pet/s.
  • Ask how long it has been vacant before you. If it has been vacant for too long, there are usually a lot of small maintenance issues (like fused bulbs, clogged taps) in first few weeks.
  • Check traffic noise especially during rush hours.
  • Check gas connection. Some have it. Others need your to get your own.
  • Check gym, playground for kids, etc. nearby
  • If it is a smaller house, will there be a place for your study table?
  • Absence of municipal dumpyards nearby which cause a lot of stink.
  • Absence of street dogs.
  • Absence of religious places too close - you can’t even complain about the noise pollution.
  • Is there a modular kitchen with chimney and shelves?
  • Is there sufficient ventilation?
  • Is there exhaust fans in the bathrooms? Do they work fine?
  • Check for parking space.
  • Move in/move out charges (for tenants).

Signing the agreement

  • Get pan card details of the owner.
  • Take photos of everything, including small damages.
  • Do an inventory check.
  • Let the owner know that you will be responsible for only the items mentioned in the inventory section of the agreement.
  • Don’t keep useless furniture. If it breaks, the owner will charge later. Best to get them removed. Or make it clear in writing that they are old, might break, and you should not be responsible.
  • Owners are desperate during covid. See if you can get the deposit amount cut down.
  • Confirm with the owner if you still have to pay for painting charges if you can find a replacement when you leave and that person is willing to move in without any fixes. Whatever you decided get it in writing.
  • Check the agreement for non-standard clauses. My owner wanted to put a clause which would fine me for paying the rent after the 5th of any month. I got it removed.
  • Check the notice period. Like your job, it should not be move than 2 months.

The first week

  • Once you move in, take photos of all the existing furniture, electronics, and paint again. And mail it to the owner mentioning that it is the state of the place. When you leave you can compare and decided on damages, if any.
  • If you make any structural changes make sure you ask for permission and get it in writing. Most owners depend on their properly for livelihood and try their best to cut money from your deposit when you leave.
  • If you got anything repaired share it with your owner. They might not compensate you, but they should know that you have spent your hard-earned cash on improving the place and are treating it like your home.
  • Form a good relationship with the guards, society secretary, and your neighbors. You will need it.

Check out this related doc by vetrijedi: House Search Public Template