When the downturn hits you

There are ups and downs in life but sometimes they shatter you. I was looking for buying an apartment in Thane for sometime now. I could not find one of my likings within my budget. This was getting somewhat frustrating. Family members thought about it. There were suggestions of my being stingy, out of touch with reality when it came to real estate prices.

A real estate agent known to me called up to say that a certain builder of high repute had announced a short period scheme under which one could book an apartment at a fairly reduced price. This was the builder’s response to falling market demand they said. That the builders were charging till recently an exorbitantly high price was the perception of all, so I thought this was my opportunity to buy a good apartment.

The real estate agent took me to the site. The location was good, the layout of the apartment was also very good, imaginatively designed, and it reflected the builder’s long experience and knowledge of his clients’ needs. My wife wanted an apartment between 6th t 8th floor and that was also available. So everything was going well for us.

I took a day to decide, actually there was not much discussion required at home, and all agreed that we should take the apartment. The apartment was to be ready by next October and that suited me well. It allowed me just enough time to raise money. So we went to the office of the builder. The price and terms of payment were finalised. I handed over a cheque for Rs. 100,000. The balance amount was to be paid in instalments, but a major chunk would be paid by end of January 2009.

I rang up a friend and told him triumphantly about my new acquisition. He advised me not to book an apartment with the said builder. According to him, the builder had lost over Rs 7 Billion in the downturn and it was wise to wait and watch before buying an apartment. That created panic at home. I spoke to my agent who assured me that there was no problem. I issued a ‘stop payment’ instruction to the bank, and also informed the executive in the builder’s office. They responded by reassuring me that nothing was wrong and offered to arrange an appointment with their senior most managers. Perhaps they are right, nothing may be wrong, I will meet them but it may not change my decision now, fear is overriding everything, and it is propelling extreme caution.

It was a big swing from elation to depression. The good part is that no money is lost; the bad part is that the hopes are dashed.

A common man like me who feels downturn of economy in some indicators like food prices, crowd in the mall etc, has now felt it the hard way. Let us hope that things will improve quickly.