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Home > Business > Special

Now your dream house comes with fancy interiors

Gargi Gupta in New Delhi | June 02, 2007

Rosedale NRI Complex, coming up in Rajarhat, Kolkata, is a unique project in more ways than one. Built by NRIs, for NRIs (only 25 per cent of the flats are up for sale to locals), all 504 apartments at Rosedale comeĀ fitted out with modular kitchens, refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, chimney, air-conditioners and wardrobes in the bedroom.

For a long time now, developers have been wooing the high-end flat-buyer with good-life trappings like fancy floorings, bathroom fixtures, wall finishes, AC lobbies, swimming pools, vast open spaces and so on. But even here this is, probably for the first time, that a developer is selling such 'semi-furnished' apartments.

Developers of premium apartments, not just the big ones like K Raheja and Hiranandani in Mumbai, and DLF and Unitech in Delhi, but also the smaller ones like Uppal, Omaxe, Sheth, Realtech, offer luxury specifications in their high-end duplexes and penthouses -- central AC, bathtubs and jacuzzis in the master bedroom, even a lap-pool.

According to Rohit Malhotra, CEO, Realtech Developers, which is coming up with the premium Vesta Heights project in Faridabad, "Modular kitchens have become a standard fixture these days." But refrigerators and wardrobes -- not yet.

There are the practical difficulties, of course. As Shruti Gupta, national head (residential) at real-estate consultancy Colliers International, explains, "Someone who is spending a crore and upwards will naturally want to do up his apartment according to his taste, his requirements. A bigger family will require a larger fridge, and so on. But yes, a few
Hiranandanis luxury condominiums in Powai and a few Raheja properties offer buyers a choice of doing up their apartments."

Delhi-based Uppal Housing is offering something similar at its high-end Marble Arch in Chandigarh and Metro Park, Dwarka. Says Atul Mehrotra, director, marketing, "Customers are offered the option of complete furnishing, at an additional cost, prior to delivery of the apartment."

But if furnishing is one trend in luxury spaces, especially villas and town houses, the other and entirely opposite trend is to provide "bare shells" -- plain concrete in the interiors, rough plastered and unpainted, with no internal door-frames or shutters.

The idea is that the buyer will do it up according to his taste and style. "The Aralias" and "The Magnolias", both super luxury projects inside the DLF Golf Course, had this option.

And then, of course, there are the service apartments that developers are so keen on, that are given for leave-and-license for time periods ranging between 11 months and 3 years. These are fully furnished and, says Gupta, residents are barred from making any changes, even in the civil works.

And, most importantly, these are not for sale. In a sense, of course, the apartments at Rosedale would also fall in the
service apartments category since they are meant specifically for NRIs, who come visiting and want to stay in an ambience they are used to, but don't want to put in the effort required to do up a place from scratch.

Realtech's two soon-to-be-launched developments in Goa, which again will be fully furnished, will fall in this segment. These condominiums will be projected as holiday homes in Goa for Delhiites, making them fall in the same part-hospitality segment as Rosedale.

But what's interesting is that despite being conceived as a convenience for NRIs, the 'semi-furnished' plank has gone down very well with the locals too -- the 126 apartments set aside for non-NRIs were sold within two months of their launch. And why not? Rosedale is charging Rs 2,650 per sq ft, all inclusive -- and when first launched it was even lower at Rs 2,250. That's moderately priced, even for Kolkata, where prices in a nearby Unitech project has touched Rs 3,000, per sq ft.

"It's the economies of scale working for us," says Chanchal Saha, marketing, Rosedale.

Also, Rosedale will finalise the brands and models of the white goods, but owners can get them changed on paying nominal charges.

The convenience of getting a fully or even partly furnished flat, where you can move in bag and baggage, at a little extra cost, cannot be denied.

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