Apartment hunting in Delhi turned out to be surprisingly painless.
I have definitely hunted for apartments before. When I looked for my place in New York, I remember losing five places to other tenants before I was finally able to snag one. A day to contemplate was a day too long, and the landlords knew they didn’t have to do much to a place to get people to rent it – so they didn’t. In New Haven, I saw so many barely-lit rooms in the backs of oddly proportioned houses in East Rock before deciding to just bite the bullet and pay almost what I was paying in New York for a place downtown that met my needs. (Though, not to knock my New Haven apartment – I absolutely love every square inch of it.)
So of course I was apprehensive about looking for a place in Delhi. But once we started seeing some of the places, I realized I had completely misjudged the situation.
The apartment we are going to take has beautiful white marble floors, a full kitchen, three bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms and balconies (this is something I love about India – personal balconies come pretty standard in apartments), is completely furnished, has A/C in every room, a washing machine, maid’s quarters, it’s on the second floor of a beautiful, new looking building, and is generally just an incredible space to live and work. And the best part is, it’s only $1100 a month. Having lived in New York for eight years, I just cannot get over these numbers.
The negotiation process for the place was a bit odd. As we kept trying to bring down the price, he kept trying give us more things (he offered us every possible additional amenity, including AC for the maid’s room, a dinner set for six, and an actual security guard to come and stand by the front entrance 24 hours a day). At first we thought he was doing it to keep from having to lower the price, but in the end he agreed to the price we asked, and we still were able to get whatever amenities we needed (no, we didn’t get the guard). Though I’m not sure what to make of the negotiation methods, it reminds me of the time I was trying to bargain down the price of a piano for my friend Crystal in Los Angeles, and the owner of the store kept trying to throw in multiples of unrelated things – like, six violins or four guitar cases.
So unless something changes tomorrow, it seems we have the apartment of our dreams. I asked what the address was, and still can’t quite figure it out. The roads don’t really have names, and even the area we are living in is divided into different parts. So it seems the closest we can get right now is The Awesome Yellow House, The Road with the Lawyer and Physiotherapist, Lajpat Nagar – Part III, India.