Where to Start: A Guide for First Time Home Buyers

By Maria Dinshaw | Jun 2019

Where to Start: A Guide for First Time Home Buyers

As residential interior designers in Mumbai, we see a lot of first time home buyers.  People come to us to make their dream home, but fail to understand that creating a home really starts at selecting the right neighborhood, building, and flat layout.  These are the foundation blocks of comfort. If you have to spend 1.5 hours driving home every day, it will impact your daily life. So how do you choose the right place? 

After speaking with countless home owners, brokers, and real estate professionals, we’ve put together the essential tools for you to find your perfect home. 

Location, location, location

When choosing your first home, the “where” is just as important as the “what.”  Start by identifying neighborhoods that would suit your needs. Think about the type of building you want to live in also.  Have you dreamed of restoring a heritage cottage or is a high tech tower with the latest amenities more your style?

Don’t forget about noise.  Identify nearby neighborhoods which are notoriously noisy, especially in festival times.  Check air traffic patterns to see if your neighborhood is right under a flight path. Airplane frequencies can easily ruin a good night’s sleep and even sound proof windows won’t be able to muffle it completely.

Traffic Patterns and Nearby Services

Check the proximity of hospitals, schools, grocery stores, markets, and gas stations – all these things are essential to every day comfort.

Identify the locations where you travel the most (your office, your favorite restaurant, your in-laws house, etc.) and the times of day when you’re likely to be going there.  Route it on the map. If Google Maps says it’s going to take you 30 minutes to travel 500 meters, then it’s probably the case! Now multiply that by the number of days you travel per week and you’ll see how much time you’ll be spending in the car on a regular basis.

See if it’s worth it (and be honest with yourself).  It’s easy to get seduced by attractive pricing, beautiful amenities, and a spacious home interior design, but what happens when you have to leave the house?  Unless you work from home, it’s hard to avoid rush hour traffic. Make sure it’s something you’re willing to live with.

Make Your Wish List

At this point you should have narrowed in on your perfect neighborhood (with a few back-up options of course).  Now it’s time for the fun part – creating your Dream Home Wish List. Go wild and don’t worry about being practical, that will come in the next phase.  Just write down all the things you’ve always wanted. You can split these into a few categories: things you want in your flat, amenities in the building, and nearby services.

Now let’s prioritize.  Circle the things that you absolutely can’t live without – these will go in the “Must Have” column.  Then look at the items which you would like to have, but are not necessarily a priority. These will be put in the “Would Like” column.  Lastly, you take the rest of the home interior design ideas and fit them in the “Not Required, But Would Be Nice” column.

Get a Designer’s Opinion Before You Buy

As top interior designer in India would agree, it’s never too early to involve your designer.  A residential interior designer can give you a different perspective on the property than a broker.  Unfortunately, brokers don’t always have your best interests in mind. After all, their job is to sell flats, period.  A designer can evaluate the layout of the flat along with your priority list to see how easy it would be to fit in all your requirements of your home interior design.  And if you have a few options, they can recommend which one to take. 

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