Monday, March 28, 2011

Finding an expat house in Whitefield – the criteria

A grown up pool and club house at Epsilon
We visited Bangalore last March to look for a place to stay for the next two years. We had a relocation specialist to help us. We looked at houses in Whitefield and Indranagar then at some flats around Taj Westend before we settled on Palm Meadows. (Click here for a breakdown on some communities we visited)

Our children factored a lot in our criteria for choosing a place to stay. Listed below are our criteria for choosing a community and a house.

A very kid friendly pool at Palm Meadows.
Grown up pools are also there but kids go crazy on this.
Our criteria in choosing a community:

  1. Safety: We have two young kids and we wanted a place where they could play on the street without us worrying. A walk to and from the bus stop was not something that caused white hairs.
  2. Location: Close to the kids school ( with transport access) and close enough to work. We initially wanted to live in the middle of town but staying closer to the children's school is wise with Bangalore traffic.
  3. Friends: Not necessarily a place where our friends lived but a place with the potential to make friends. We had to find a community with like minded people – people with similar interests and children in the same age group.
  4. Convenience: It should be walking distance to places and within reasonable walk able distance to public transport. This allows you to get help from other parts of town and also enables you and your visitors to get an auto etc when and if needed. Having shops – grocery and medicine – around makes life easier. Having a mall or movie theater at a walking distance makes for good evening walks with a destination.
  5. Age: Age of the community was something we kept in mind. Too old meant houses that needed lots of work, too young meant construction going on. Ongoing construction was a no go for us. A well aged community also meant help that had engrained themselves there and a network of handymen and delivery services.
Our criteria for choosing a house:

View from an Epsilon house. Pretty but has potential for
being noisy and dusty.
Backyard in a Palm Meadows house.
  1. Budget: Houses in Bangalore can literally cause your jaw to drop. This is also one of the few cities that require an 11 month (not a typo -eleven month) rent deposit upfront. So, it is pertinent you know your budget before you start looking.
  2. Number of rooms: Our minimum was four bedrooms. It is unusual for houses to have more than four bedrooms in many communities for rent. We also wanted a puja room and an office. It is worthwhile to look at a few houses and then come up with your layout criteria.
  3. Garden/patio/terrace: We wanted some open space and there are houses with more sit outs and water features but less garden. We wanted a garden for the kids to play in and were clear about that.
  4. Beyond the wall: After looking at some houses I was carefull in what I saw beyond the wall of the house we were looking at. A temple, a field, a construction ground – these all meant strangers loitering around and impacted the safety criteria.
  5. View: view in Bangalore is not a view per say but I did not want to look at three houses our of every window and have people looking right back at me. Some houses had neighboring windows looking straight into each other.
  6. Bathrooms: Older communities tend to have bathrooms that are horrible, showers you cannot spread your hands in and tiles that look like they are weeping dirty tears. There was a time in India ( and is still in some places) where palatial houses had tiny kitchens and bathrooms – some rental houses have carried that tradition along.


  1. If this blog is aimed at reaching out to friends, then it makes fine reading. For a person who has been in Microsoft in 10yrs I would expect most of the points listed above to come as common sense rather than being put down on a blog!
    First half of the blog appears to be more of yet another expat tom-toming his "I’ve made it in life"....ugggh!! Grow up!! Sooner or later your children will be exposed to reality & will have to learn to co-mingle with not so like minded intelligentsia that so strongly forms the fabric of India. Welcome to are an Indian and moving back to your own country!! And you are posting on a site where predominant %age of readers (& members) are the Indians who are realistic Indians.
    I am not living in India (very much frm your part of the world) to bring this up more are a case of sour grapes. Seen the like minded living repeated on blogs here and reading one more similar one just makes me step in and bring home reality. I am sparing you a lot more flak, which can come your way if you tickle me any further.
    Welcome home, nevertheless!

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