Monday, January 15, 2018

Very first steps towards buying your dream house

Today the scenario is that there is a huge supply of houses in Mumbai region but not much demand. However funny thing is that prices are still not falling. Biggest single factor that prevents a deal to be sealed is the price. You can find your dream house in the location or building of your choice, its is the price that may keep you away from making a deal.

Now I don't have much help to offer on price part, I think it all depends upon your negotiation skills and how desperate the seller is in disposing off the property. I however has few factors to keep in mind before making an offer with token money.

Apart from the price another very big part in buying an apartment is the "seller". A real estate transaction takes around 3 months to complete and all that time you need cooperation of the seller. Of course if a broker is involved he would help you with the necessary documentations and contacts but he would also need seller to cooperate. So first question is is this the seller you can deal with? Can he/she be your friend for next three months. Now it all depends upon how good you are judging people but just in case you find something not right with the seller's attitude, it is better to walk away from the deal.

Lot of times many things are agreed upon mutual understanding like when would seller actually give you the physical possession, what all items would be left behind by him/her. There have been cases when seller have actually sold a furnished apartment, but before possession left with all the furniture. So if someone wants to cheat he will cheat, what you can do at best is deal with people you are comfortable, someone with whom your frequency matches.

So lets say you are OK with the seller and you have somewhat agreed upon on the price too. To initiate a deal you would have to give some token amount. It can be few thousands rupees to say 1 - 5% of the total price. Now if there is some problem with the deal, you can get the token back, but by exercising some caution you can minimize the risk. Here are this first set of documents (or copies of them) you can ask seller to just show them to you before giving the token. If seller is genuine I am sure he won't have any objection.

1. The registered sale deed in the sellers name.
This is the most important document, specifying that property is registered in their names. If this is not there, be very cautious in dealing, I would suggest don't take the deal further. From this document, just note
   a) the sellers names
   b) the serial number of the document
   c) the plot number on which the building exist.

2. The copies of PAN/Aadhaar of the sellers. This will just verify that people mentioned in the deed exist. If there are multiple sellers then ask them for some MOU that all sellers have agreed to sell the apartment. There can be cases due to some internal dispute all may not have agreed to sell. Better to get some idea of this right at start.

3. The latest property tax for the apartment paid to NMMC.
In Navi Mumbai all the houses constructed are governed by laws NMMC and CIDCO. This is one such document that will help you relate the sellers with the two authorities.

So what to do with the information you just collected. Stay tuned and I will post this soon.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Steps towards buying a property in Navi Mumbai

For past year or so I had been looking for a suitable apartment in Navi Mumbai for self residential use purpose. Very recently I finalized one and this entire process of executing the transfer from seller to buyer is now taking place. I hope all goes well and I get a clear and marketable title upon possession. This is my very first real estate transaction and unlike financial market transactions these are very cumbersome. There were many steps and technicalities that I learned in due process and I wish to enumerate all at one place for potential benefits of others.
As I was my self researching on the internet on various aspects of a real estate transaction particularly in navi mumbai, I could not one "know all do all" site, hence I felt a need to create this page. So without further adieu lets jump into what all it takes to buy a property in Navi Mumbai (apart from truck load of money). ;-)

First lets consider that you are buying a resale property and after lot of search you have identified one. Note when looking for an apartment, apart from your personal preferences, two things you should keep in mind
1. Reputation of builder who executed that project
2. Has a housing society/condominium been formed and registered or not. This usually happens when builder conveys the said plot in the name of the society members. A formed society does take care of lot of hassles, which I will try to illustrate later.

So a typical transaction happens in three steps (and entire process may take anywhere from a month to three months).
1. Is usually an understanding phase between buyer and seller where seller can handover copies of apartment documents and buyer typically pays a small token money signalling is interest and having an assurance that seller won't again try to sell the same to anyone else. This is just an understanding phase based on trust.

2. Agreement to sale. Here buyer executes and registers an agreement to sell. This is a legal phase. Here buyer pays balance money (ie total sale consideration minus the amount he has taken a loan for). Seller here hands over all the relevant original property documents to buyer (or the bank making the loan). This happens usually 30 - 45 days after agreement to token money phase.

3. Sale deed. This is again a registered document where buyer with sellers help transfers the flat into his name (CIDCO and society transfer), bank gets all the needed NOCs to make the disbursement of loan. Seller now transfers the physical possession of the apartment to buyer and now buyer becomes new owner. This again usually happens 30 - 60 days after agreement to sale.

So in next several posts I would be explaining as what buyer should do before executing each steps and also some insights in costs and processes involved. I would also try to list some pitfalls to avoid.
I may also do some write up in case you are buying directly from builder. Since I am buying from an owner I don't have that a great depth insight into that kind of transactions, but basics are same and should give you all a fair idea.

Keeping you posted ....


Friday, October 28, 2011

Random thoughts on Turkic and Mongolic tribes

I like to study the origins and history of various tribes and how they are inter-related in today's modern world.

Over the time there have been many migrations and inter mixing of various tribes and today its hard for one to identify where did he actually come from.

One thing that confuses more and more as I read into, relationship between Mongols and Turks.

So Today I just decided to pen some of my thoughts, so that I have a reference point, when I dwelve into this topic again.

  1. I believe Mongols and Turks originated from different part of central Asia. Though both belong to a common mongoloid race.What I have gathered so far is that Turks are primarily from present day region around Mongolia, and Mongols from present day region around north east china. There have been many migrations from east to west starting from Huns and culminating with Mongols.
  2. Who were Huns? I believe there were Turks and started first wave of migration.
  3. Are Han Chinese same as Mongols? I believe they are Mongols and I suppose first under Qin dynasty and than later under Han dynasty, many warring tribes were united to form kingdom of china. The rulers under these dynasty started building great wall of China to prevent nomadic Mongolic and Turkic tribes from laying further wars inside main land china.
  4. What I understand is that first Turkic tribes migrated east and then Mongols. Mongols and Turkic tribes readily intermixed and together they conquered Arabic tribes. Over their migration they intermixed with Arabic people, adopted Islam and founded Ottoman empire. I feel today's so called Turkish people are mix of European and Arabic people with traces of Turkic-Mogolic gene pool.
  5. I further feel that Indo-Iranian people are not same as Caucasian people, but a different tribe in itself. During their peak (Under Mauryan Empire) they conquered much of India and Persia. However over the time it declined and was then conquered by Turkic-Mongolic tribes (Mugals)  from North and Turkic-Iranian tribes from East.
  6. I think adoption of Islam by Turkic-Mongolic people was turning point of most of the Modern day history we witness in Asia and Europe. I feel once they defeated Arabic people if they would have continued with Tengerism we would have witnessed a different Geo-political map of the world today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Extending JQuery Translate plugin to include raw text translations

There is an excellent JQuery plugin to translate text. This is based on Google Ajax Language API. This JQuery based translate plugin circumvents the limitation of number of characters that can be sent using the raw Language API. This is a serious limitation when integrating language API into our code, we cannot translate big documents typically having 2000 or more characters.

The translate plugin works very well, except there is a minor limitation, i.e. when we pass a raw text to it (which may contain line breaks, tabs and other special characters), the translated text strips out such characters back. Many times we need to preserve these in the translated text too.

The reason for this is because in the plugin, the language translate API is called using:

google.language.translate(text|content, srcLang, destLang, callback)
It always passes default text which the API interprets it as HTML markup. To pass a raw text, one needs to pass a content object with attributes {text: textToTranslate, type:'text'}. This way the google language API treats it as raw text and preserves the line breaks and other special characters.

So in order to have the jquery translate plugin work same way for raw texts also, I have extended the plugin to make distinction between type of the text to translate. One can pass the type in options.
Default is: type: 'html' and for text one would need to pass type: 'text'.
jQuery.translate(textToTranslate, languageToCode, {
type: 'text',
complete: function(translation){
//translation contains the complete translation of textToTranslate
error: function(){
//error callback

So I have extended the plugin to take care of calling google language API based on type. I have called this version as 1.3.10. It should work with jQuery 1.2+

Hope you find this useful. Any questions or comments feel free to contact me.


ps: download the above version from this link.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Water Babies

India is essentially an agricultural economy. Now why say that?! Agricultural and related activities accounts for nearly 17% of our GDP and employs nearly 60% of our labour force. Any growth in our economy happens from grass root level. It is this 60% of the work force that drives our economy. Past five to six years have been very good for our economy. Our GDP grew by average 8 - 9%. Agricultural growth may just have been in range of 2 - 4 % but the multiplier effect it created has resulted in this superb economic growth. Stable livelihood that agriculture has given to our 60% of population has resulted in money in their pockets. This they have spent on consuming goods and services other sectors have produced thereby giving India its much to talk about GDP growth.
Some may lobby for placing greater importance to IT in our economy or some may lobby for more and more SEZ. Others may talk about liberal financial markets for FDI and FII to pour money into our economy and few on disinvestment and all sorts of infrastructure building. However the bottom line is, all we need to ensure is that this 60% of population's pockets are never empty!
People point at our young crowd of IT and finance people in malls and say this is where our future growth lies in terms of consumption and spending by them. Yes we are a consumerist society and a consumption driven economy but the real consumption is not driven by this tiny mass of people we see flocking in newly built malls, its driven by this very 60% of agriculture labours spread across the rural hinterlands of our country (places which we hardly visit).

Speaking about importance of agriculture in our economy, on what is the output of this sector largely depended upon? Sadly, its still the monsoons. Our irrigation facilities are not so developed across the states and these farmers largely depend on blessings of rain god for their good livelihood. Building great agricultural infrastructure is another topic all together and may focus on this some other day, right now focus is on monsoons vs stock markets.
There are many charts which show correlation between GDP numbers and monsoons. Stock markets are said to be voting machines for a short term and weighing machine for a long term. What do they weigh? They in general weigh the health of our economy or in a long term conform to the GDP numbers. So if GDP numbers are good, our economy is growing, stock markets would also tend to have an upward bias. So as monsoons are co-related with GDP and GDP with stock markets, isn't monsoon co-related with stock markets.
This is the last thought that can come to someone's mind. Stock markets and monsoon, ha!

Let me try to analyze this issue a bit. Here I am presenting a chart of rainfall as % to LTA (long term average) and returns of sensex (a barometer for stock market), for the next year. So like in 1998 rainfall was 106% of LTA, and sensex returns in 1999 were -4% relative to 1998. Both the charts are scaled so as to overlap one another so as to see a co-relation.

One can clearly see a strong co-relation between rainfall in a particular year vs performance of stock markets in the following year. So we look at all possible numbers IIP, FII inflows, broker community's sentiments and what not, but a simple analysis of an event which has greatest impact on the lives of people which in turn have greatest impact on our economy can provide us with almost all the answers. Can it?!!

So with the current performance of monsoons, what would be the direction of stock markets next year can be anybody's guess. The point here is that many times something simple is more effective than something complex and just because something is so simple, don't overlook or ignore or replace it with something complex and hard to understand.

A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is Bob Arum playing safe with Manny Pacquiao's next fight

With Floyd Mayweather Jr Vs. Juan Manuel Márquez fight postponed to September later this year due to Mayweather's rib injury, any chance of either of the two facing Manny Pacquiao may not happen till mid of next year. So who should Pacquiao fight next is a multi-million dollar decision. He is a prized fighter and there is a line of challengers waiting to face him. Who is the lucky one is what Paquiao's camp is working on these day.
As per reports, Miguel Cotto is coming out to be the chosen one. Question here is that is he the right choice for Paquiao.

Let us examine the possible alternatives. Firstly the big question is on what weight the fight should happen. I feel that the Super lightweight (140 lb) is the ideal weight Pacquiao should take the fight. As we saw in Ricky Hatton's fight, he is best at this weight. So who all can be his opponents at or around this weight (+- 4 lbs)

One boxer that readily comes to our mind is
Shane Mosley. He is a world class boxer with huge fan following and a formidable opponent for Pacquio. This no doubt can be the best fight we all would witness in present times. However he is little too bigger for Pacquiao. At 5'9'' and fighting at 147lb he can no way make it near 140 lb. I think this was perhaps main reason for talks between these two camps to breakdown and another may be split of fight purse as Mosley's camp would want a close 50-50 split.

Next can be Andre Berto. Undefeated welter weight (147 lb) champion. He may not have that a big fan following right now which may deter Pacquiao's camp to take a fight. Another reason can again be his reluctance or inability to make it to 144 - 140 lb range.

As we move down the weight category to 140 lb we have an option of Andreas Kotelnik or Timothy Bradley or say Nate Campbell. Kotelnik is busy fighting Amir Khan, Bradley may be less experienced and Campbell may be too old to take on Pacquiao. Also none of these fighters have a big fan following to make a great PPV fight.

Lets move further down to 135 lb category. One name that comes to my mind is of Edwin Valero. He is is a great fighter, a south paw, has tremendous punching power and speed. Just like Pacquiao! Further he is available and has shown interest in fighting Pacquiao. What more adds to the fame of this guy! He is currently Lightweight WBC champion. He holds a perfect record of 25 victories and all these coming by a way of knockouts. Infact first 18 of his fights were won with a KO in first round itself. He may not have fought many quality fighters till date, but he surely deserves a chance to take on one, and who could be a better opponent than Pacquiao. I think this fight is the best fight which Manny Paquiao camp should consider as next one.
Here are few reasons for same:

  1. Both boxers have same size and the contracted weight to fight would be ideal for both. They both would be in best shape making it a great fight to watch.
  2. They both have similar energy levels, speed and punching power.
  3. Purse negotiation won't be any problem for Pacquiao's camp and even a 65-35 split can be arranged.
  4. There would be great air behind the fight. Valero has a good fan following now, has fought in USA and has a claim to fame that is always knocked his opponent down.
Coming back to the choice of Cotto. I just don't think it is a good choice. Cotto seems like a fighter on a decline and had struggled to win against Clottey in his last bout. Also there may not be much air behind the fight.

Where do we go now!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

IT Software Freelancing - Choosing a right buyer

We see numerous articles, blogs over the internet where people have written how to choose and select the right provider for the job.

Here is something opposite, its from the provider perspective on how to choose right buyer and their projects. I have been freelancing for over 5 years now and have applied and got projects from number of freelancing sites like odesk, guru and rentacoder.

If you have done your homework well, have good skill set and bid competitively and selectively then there a good chances of success in this fragmented world of software freelancing.
Speaking of success, what is general success rate?
My experience on bidding on project shows that if you qualify as a good freelancer, good success rate would be anywhere between 5 - 10%. Now that seems low, but actually it is not, here is a bit of breakup on where you bid goes:

  1. Buyer selects you 5 - 10%
  2. Buyer selects someone else 10 - 25 %
  3. Bid goes waste 70 - 80% (yes that is right!!!)
The third includes - job expired, project itself canceled or project itself did not start after buyer selecting a provider.
There has been lot of profiling done on providers, their demographics, their competence, but seldom or never has the buyers been profiled (also because buyers profile unlike the providers is not publicly available).

Who is this typical entity on the other side of the fence (whom we would never meet, as most of the projects are transacted online with people in different geographies)?
Possible answers:
  1. Would be a small company how does not want to go through the troubles of having physical presence in a different geography.
  2. Would be a startup (but incorporated) company working on a new concept and has plans but not enough cash to hire full time employees.
  3. Would be a stealth startup (not incorporated), taking a long shot on something, would be a one man show who is still busy in his full time job.
  4. Would be a middle man trying to hire someone cheap for the local market to work on his clients projects.
  5. Would be an individual like the provider, trying to get something done or taking a long shot at some concept.

As we see that 70 - 80% of the bids go waste, so unless buyer belongs to first two categories described above, there is a pretty good chance that your bid would end up in waste.

Freelancing market is still fragmented, there is still no sign of organized biggies of the IT and software world (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook etc.) entering this market. They either have their captive units in local or offshore markets or enter into defined contracts with offshore vendors for their IT needs be it support or development or services work.

I continue to believe that the startups that would be big tomorrow would still be the ones that have an energetic team physically located and working together at one place. Something like Google or even Facebook or Twitter cannot happen using offshore freelancers. So we as providers cannot hope for many long term, big budgeted projects and would have to bid regularly on small to medium size projects. Thus with all this background there comes a need to know where to bid, as actual projects are scarce and competition is high.

Here are some pointers that may help to choose the right buyer or project:
  1. Every good freelancing site has steps to verify or review a buyer, like the payment verification, contact details verifications to know the entity is real. They usually stamp such buyers along with the projects they post. Look for these. Usually buyers under category one or two would have these.
  2. Next comes the project description itself. There would be well defined scope of the project or well defined criteria for providers needed for that project. This shows they have plan and again buyers under category one or two would fit these. Ignore projects with clone of this or clone or that or where from the project description it is not clear what the buyer wants. Avoid projects with generic descriptions, which are so general that there would be many bids and in the end project would never take off.
  3. Projects have clear guidelines on the time estimate i.e. duration, hours per week, no of providers needed or tentative budgets. Again buyers under category one or two have to go through this process for every project because they are incorporated and budgeting is needed for planning. Avoid projects with open or unsure budget duration. These would seldom take off ending your bid in waste.
  4. Many freelancing sites give a brief work history of the buyers posted projects. Like how many projects he posted, how many got started, size of the projects etc. If someone has posted many projects but none took off you can assume he falls under the category 3 - 5. No point wasting your bid on that.

Thus by understanding the online freelancing world better and profiling the buyer better, you can improve your strike rate and spend more time working on right projects than bidding on waste projects.

Hope this helped!