Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A Home Away From Home

Few words bring us as much short term comfort to the majority of professional, employed individuals as the word ‘weekend’ does. These two days signify the time to catch up on those things important in life that our work get’s in the way of. This is the time you get to sharpen the proverbial ‘axe’ before you take on professional challenges head-on for another 5 days. Each of us has our prized weekend rituals, be it sleeping in, spending time with the family or getting your fill of your entertainment quota.
When do weekends start to lose their charm? Senior professionals amongst our readers will definitely have more of a say in this matter. Should your career growth, additional workplace responsibility and accountability always come as a double edged sword, meaning less time to enjoy the fruits of your hard work? Work even gets in the way of a well planned, annual, extended break where you find yourself glued to your laptop or stuck on unending conference calls with colleagues halfway around the world. Maintaining a balanced work-life equation has therefore become one of the biggest professional challenges across the globe today.
What if there was an option to combine the comfort which comes naturally associated with weekends, your home and the company of your loved ones? This option could provide you with a short but effective furlough from the rigmarole of the office, in the comfort of your family and friends without having to travel hours on a cramped flight or rickety bus. You can avoid the unpredictability of hotel comforts and accessibility while using this as a source to supplement your income. These are some of the prime reasons why the concept of ‘Weekend Homes’ is latching on in India.
The ever expanding middle-class with high disposable incomes is finding it very hard to treat every weekend with the due importance it plays in getting the family together. Imagine a place a short drive away from the grime and grind of dense urban areas, in the lap of nature. These countryside homes can afford you peace and solace which is rare to find in cities or a sprawling urban annexure. Add in a mountain valley or a scenic beach and the value of such places goes up many folds, not only from the perceived comfort value but also its real economic value.
Typically, a well planned weekend home is a high growth location near a city, with sound infrastructure and development which enhances its value many times over its acquisition cost. You can also avail tax benefits on your weekend home; if you have purchased the property through a bank loan, then the interest paid on the mortgage is allowed as a deduction for tax purposes. You can also deduct expenses like property taxes and municipal overheads that you paid from the rental income.
Realistically, you may opine, it would be impossible for you to visit this perfect getaway each week of the year. Also, it is highly cumbersome to maintain the home in your absence, or so you would think. This is where the role of a good developer comes into the picture. Taking into consideration that many customers find these as challenging aspects while deciding whether or not to invest into a weekend home; developers have responded with solutions of their own. Hospitality and maintenance options let you lease out your property to fellow holiday makers during those weeks of the year when the house lies vacant. This can prove to be a second source of income. The same maintenance crew ensures that your home is in proper shape when you arrive to spend your weekend rather than you having to waste precious time.
Developers have seen a spurt in demand for weekend homes from Indian expats, who are keen to go to newer destinations during their holidays back in India. They are also keen to retire in India and scenic and peaceful destinations in the vicinity of big urban cities. We have also encountered a boost in the concept of weekend home from the upper middle class families. This boost has managed to bust the myth around weekend home affordability and up-keep. Weekend homes were always seen as the investment restricted to the upper classes, but this stereotype has begun to fade away.
Choosing the right weekend home comes with a certain set of challenges but answering some key questions can assist you in taking the correct decision. Let’s begin with the most important one which is location. While not all cities have options for your consideration in each direction, you would do well which has the best accessibility and growth potential in the future. While current infrastructure availability is important, look out for areas that might show exponential growth in the near future due to external factors. Karjat (Pune-Mumbai), Dharmapuri, (Bangalore-Chennai) and Lepakshi (Andhra Pradesh) are some great areas in India to invest currently.
Weekend homes can be villas, duplex homes or even chalets depending on your preferences of privacy, space requirements and budgets. Remember to ask you’re the developer you are considering for a full range of facilities being planned as part of the project for all age groups like relaxation zones, nature trails, landscaped gardens, swimming pool, campsite, and sports facilities. The more thoughtful developers will amplify the natural resources at hand and add man-made features to give customers the best value for their money.

Whether it is to maximize your precious family moments, to make a style statement or supplement your income, weekend homes form the perfect asset sub-class in your real estate portfolio. Happy weekends are a short drive away!

Publication: Property Weekly
Author:  Lansel D`souza, Senior Vice President, Expat group