From anywhere to bangalore - Accomodation 101!

Bangalore - uhum Bengalooru, the place where dreams of software engineers and made and broken. A lotta college students, getting a feeler of Bangalore during one of the Industrial Visits, would have been amazed at the city. Everything about this city reeks of a software touch, making it appealing to the geeky and the "hapless" [according to me]. You are taken aback by the sudden rush of concrete high-risers amidst a flat garden background, the number of jazzy cars, the number of software names, etc. What also appeals to you are names like Mc Donalds, KFC, Pizza Hut etc IOW, Junk food. You would also be aware of the fact that Bangalore, Bengaluroo, is the pub city of India. It has the highest consumption of alcohol and tobacco in India. [Certainly an appealing factor to some]. So, in summary, at the expense of sounding cliched, you have work, money, booze and women in namma uroo Bengaluroo! [Yeah every software engineer's secret ambition is to be a rock star ;-)! ] So, you have finally chosen _that_ job that will land you into Bengaluroo, the land where your aspirations are gonna bear fruition. Now, your search for accomodation should begin. Initially your company is gonna arrange a guesthouse for you [Life's awesome then]. However, if your company doesn't, you come in early and start your PG/flat search.

The million dollar question - PG vs Rented apartment This must easily be one of the initial questions you will get once you get to Bangalore. Well, the answer is highly subjective. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Lemme list some of 'em.

Paying Guest Accomodation Why you should adopt this?

  • It doesn't require you to deposit an exorbitant amount of money to start off with - Bengaluroo landlords follow a weird policy of demanding a deposit money of 10months rent, which they will give back [well at least most of it] at the end of your lease agreement. It is a security in case ya damage stuff off the house etc. PG people generally do not demand 10 months advance. They usually take 1-2 months PG rent as advance. The maximum I have heard people paying up for PG is INR 10,000 [which is really really high mind you]. The usual range is INR 5,000.
  • You usually have a decent room, with all the facilities - Again, depending on your rent! For about Rs. 3500 pm, you get a decent, fully furnished room, which you will have to share with another person. You also get decent facilities - a kitchen, geyser fit bathroom, a TV with cable, an iron, a maid/man servant. Furthermore, you get a cot, a bed with mattress ;-)!
  • If you are a loner, you'd prefer this to sharing your space with 3-4 others in the house

Why you should not adopt this?

  • You may have to forego your freedom and be restricted by time limits
  • You won't have the freedom to invite your friends inside your house
  • Your monthly rent will generally be higher than maintaining a rented apartment

Rented flat/house Why you should adopt this?

  • Freedom to be.... Aazadi dil ki - You don't have to give a hoot about the landlord trying to keep up with your timings
  • If you have friends, you'd like to stay with 'em
  • If you wanna invite people over, have a house party, etc, there are usually no qualms unless you have weird [read: asshole] neighbours.

Why you should not adopt this?

  • Deposits - the biggest deterrent - You will have to pay 10 months rent in advance to the landlord. Unless of course, you know him well enough or something
  • No frills attached - you wanna wash your clothes, you gotta invest in a servant/washing machine [unless of course, you are interested in washing your own clothes], you wanna iron, get a dhobi/invest in one.. etc you get the point. Ya gotta pay your electric bill, your water bill, etc. So, there are a lotta hidden expenses coming your way. Furthremore, maintaining the house. Else at the end of it, the landlord is gonna gulp some money for repainting etc
  • The lease arrangement and rent receipt arrangement - When you share accomodation with your friends, esp if all of them are working in the same company, make sure you have an arrangement with your landlord. He will have to produce rent receipts separately for all of you, covering just more than enough of your allocated HRA [refer to your offer document], else you are going to lose tax even if your HRA :-D! Also make sure you have a very close look into your lease agreeement - the fine print. Landlords are trying to ooze money everywhere and will try their best to retain that deposit money you gave him!!

The next million dollar question - Where to live in Bangalore? Unlike the trips earlier, where accomodation was arranged by the travel agent/you spent time at your uncle's place, this time round you are gonna have to decide on your place of residence. I will try and list out the various places in Bangalore. There are essentially 2 hubs of software firms in Bangalore - Electronics City [Hosur Road] and ITPL [Whitefield]. Apart from these, there are a million other places, like Koramangala, MG Road, Indira Nagar, Madiwala, where there are a plethora of software firms.

If your aim is to save money and NOT splurge your city life, stay in the outskirts of the city. You could probably walk to office, saving your traffic allowance. Rents are generally cheaper, the further you are from the city.. You get to concentrate more on your task at hand - saving money.

However, if your aim is to enjoy the city life that Bangalore offers you up until 11pm every night, then stay closer to the city!! But a note of warning - get ready to save practically NOTHING!! :-D!!

Anyhoo, BTM Layout 1st stage [Taverkere], 2nd stage, Kormangla, JP Nagar, Double Road are the major areas where you have a concentration of software engineers from outside Bangalore. The Bangaloreans still live in Indira Nagar, Malleshwaram, Vijaya Nagar, Rajaji Nagar etc.

Up to you to decide where you wanna live!!

How to search for which houses are available? There are many magazines that you can get whilst you are in Bangalore from the plethora of roadside shops, bakeries etc. Ad Mag, is a very popular form of advertisment for the realtors. You have two ways to search out for a PG/rented apartment/house.

You can hire a realtor You can do the searching yourself!

If you hire a realtor, things are faster, but you have to give him a month's rent. Another thing is that these realtors are territorial - i.e. a particular realtor will keep track of only BTM 1st stage, these many crosses/main, if he's from Taverkere and so on and forth. So, find a realtor for a particular area that you finally decide on!

If you are doing the search yourself, make sure you spend some cash on the telephone calling up various options, visiting them etc.

In conclusion, finding an accomodation in Bangalore is not hard, but it's costly. Furthermore, like quality processes, you can always better and optimize your place of residence until you strike a good balance between your locality, rent, and services. Good luck in finding accomodation!!