Use your house as a Mast and not as an Anchor. So spoke the wise man Kahlil Gibran.
Like most others, I stayed put in an apartment for well over 20 years. Looking back I wonder, why is it that whilst we seek novelty in everything else, we stick to our apartment, even if it has outlived it’s utility for us. We overhaul our wardrobe, change our eating habits, seek new experiences and constantly seek to evolve . However, the very thought of changing our abode is ,well ,frightening.
We take it that we will forever stay in that Hole in the Wall at ” Ghatkopar”, seriously try suggesting otherwise. If at all we get into a vigorous debate about the merits of moving house , we get the familiar litany of reasons . Here is a list of some of them.
1. School is nearby. Strangely ,this argument is latched onto even when the Children have completed their education and are settled in distant America.
2. Bus Depot / Bus Stop is within walking distance. Never mind that the last time you boarded a bus umm. when was the last time ?, after we bought two cars.
3. Good Neighbours. Overlooking the fact that we have long since ceased socialising with the grim faced family that is of similar vintage.Maybe they share similar views about us.Don’t care enough to find out. Well, I have some news for you. Try shifting house and you will realise that nobody cares a fig. So much for your good neighbours.
4. Doctor is familiar with my ailments. From my personal experience, moving to a new location meant that a new doctor was looking at my family’s health niggles in a completely new way, giving us solutions and more importantly sparing more time for us. As we settled in the old neighbourhood, our Doctor’s practice flourished which meant that he was overworked. Every visit to him was an ordeal of waiting long hours at the Clinic.
5. Value of the house has gone up in leaps and bounds. A paper and pencil exercise would however demolish this thought process. The human mind is incapable of handling the complexity of compunding returns. So we react in delight and awe when we are told that the Rs 8 Lakh apartment bought in 1990 is worth Rs 70 Lakhs in 2011. When we use the wonderful tool” excel”, the scales will fall from our eyes. The working for this example will reveal that the compounded annual returns is well 12 %, whilst a cursory calculation will show it as having appreciated 9 fold in 20 years. Experienced investors in Real Estate will tell you that unlike shares, good gains are made in Real Estate more in the short and medium term as compared to the long term. As we hold onto our real estate for very long, we will realise that the returns begin to diminish on a year to year basis.Also, newer structures translate to better amenities and therefore newer buildings in new localities tend to catch up with the older established localities. As I will demonstrate later with my personal example, it pays to book in a under construction apartment early so that we get the best rates and then sell the existing apartment at peak rates. We then get the best of both the worlds, besides getting the thrill of staying in a brand new apartment.
So I have taken Kahlil Gibran’s advice and used my existing apartment as a Mast rather than dropping Anchor.
Since I moved house recently, I have the following experience which I wish to share with all you reluctant folks. My family showed little or no interest when I booked an Apartment , However, not willing to take no for an answer I engaged my good friend , Architect Surendra Shirke to oversee the interiors of my house. Thanks to following my instincts, I had booked a 3100 Sq ft Penthouse at a very low rate 4 years back. Although the project was delayed, it shaped up beautifully. The involvement of my architect at an early stage meant that I could incorporate all the changes at the construction stage itself, thus helping us design our dream house.
As the house began to take shape, my family members began to slowly sit up and take notice. All talk of not selling our existing apartment was now discarded. Enthusiasm crept in and suggestions came in thick and fast. We sold our existing apartment at a good rate and since we had booked the new apartment at a low rate, we could afford to spend a substantial sum on the interiors. The new apartment was thrice the size of the old and just the pleasure of new plumbing was overwhelmingly great.
Finally the big day come when we had to move out of the old and into the new. Surprisingly, the anticipation of the “new” completely eliminated the “nostalgia” of the old. In retrospect, I feel that we overestimate the hold of our old house. Yes we will feel nostalgic.But we often confuse the event with the location. Events like births,deaths , progress etc happen in people’s lives irrespective of the location. To hold onto the real estate where it all happened is to sometimes miss the wood for the trees.