Google gets ‘Neighbourly’, to add more cities in India including Chennai

Bengaluru, Delhi top waitlist; Chennai, Hyderabad on cards

Google has announced the national roll-out of a new app from its ‘Next Billion Users’ team called ‘Neighbourly,’ which helps people source local information from their neighbours.

With more than 1.5 million downloads and half-a-million people on the waitlist, Google is rolling out ‘Neighbourly’ starting with Bengaluru and Delhi, which topped the waitlist.

Over the next few weeks, more cities will be added every day, including Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. Some other cities include Kolkata, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Indore.

The ‘Neighbourly’ app has already made inroads in popular neighbourhoods in Mumbai first, followed by cities like Jaipur, Mysore, Vizag, Kochi and Coimbatore.

Ben Fohner, senior product manager on Google’s Next Billion Users team, said humans are the core part of the app as the information that users get from ‘Neighbourly’ comes from people based on their ‘experiences’ and not from a website.

Mr. Fohner said the process of creating ‘Neighbourly’ starting from research, testing, to the launch and expansion of the product was all focused on India. “But looking beyond [India] obviously this need exists everywhere and our hope is that we can take what we’ve learned from building ‘Neighbourly’ here and expand that to other countries as well. [But] it is not something we are doing immediately,” said Mr. Fohner. However, he did not share insights about how Google was planning to monetise this product.

‘From gas to jumbos’

Google said people are integrating ‘Neighbourly’ into their routines, asking just about anything from finding the source of an LPG odour to knowing “why there are elephants on the street outside?”

Each city’s distinct personality came out in the types of questions people are asking and answering. For example, Mumbai saw questions about flooded areas during the heavy rains, finding the nearest ‘Dahi Handi’ celebration and the time when a ‘vada pav’ seller comes to a particular locality.

Families and housewives in Coimbatore sought advice on shopping for festivals. Jaipur’s student community, which is active on the app, asked questions relevant to their studies such as finding information about “good accounting coaching.” Recent shifters in Mysore use ‘Neighbourly’ to help them find information about their new routines such as “getting a water purifier service,” according to the company.

The Hindu

For a home makeover – 360 Property Mgmt

For a home makeover

Teja Lele Desai gives us eleven tips for a quick and easy home re-do

If you groom and style yourself as the season turns, doesn’t your home, your haven, deserve a styling session too? We let you in on 11 décor secrets that every stylist worth his or her salt knows but won’t tell you.

#1 The statement piece

There’s no need for a multitude of things in every room. It only results in the eye going all over and finding no focus. Just one statement-making piece does the trick.

#2 Scale with height

Use artefacts and accessories of varying heights to create a sense of scale and proportion. A statuesque floor lamp, a vase with overhanging branches or a small sculpture on a table can create a new look.

#3 Get some trays

Every table or counter has things that seem to run away from you —cosmetics in the bathroom, remotes on the coffee table and odds and ends in the entryway. Keep things together by putting them all in a stylish tray.

#4 Tea towel tales

Apart from drying-up duties, a tea towel may be used for various odd jobs in the kitchen — to spread over cooked food, cover a tea tray or mop up a mess. Pick up good looking ones and use them to add style to the kitchen.

#5 Mixed throw pillows

The throw pillows on your couch should never be the same size. Mix them up when it comes to shapes, sizes and textures to add colour and depth to your sofa styling. Odd numbers tend to look better than even.

#6 The Rule of 3

There’s a reason why the third rule is the adhered to by designers across the world. When things come in threes — be it photo frames, candles or nesting tables — they tend to look better as a group.

#7 Kitchen counter

Sure you scrub and keep it as clean as you can. But we’re referring to keeping the counter top free. So tuck away as many appliances as you can into the cabinets or wall-mount them. A cleaner counter top gives you the illusion or an airy kitchen.

#8 Put out white towels

They may be a pain to keep clean — yes, we feel it too — but there’s nothing like fresh and fluffy white towels to inject a spa-like feel into your bathroom. But make sure you keep these white babies white.

#9 Not too many

Instead of a riot of colours that seems to take you all over the place, do as the stylists do: Select a monochromatic scheme and add pops of colour. This gives you a cleaner look, one that can be changed more often.

#10 Add little touches

Simple additions and touches can add more style than big-ticket pieces. A fresh flower in a group of vases, a pretty plant in a brass planter, a comfortable throw placed on the back of the couch — small touches can elevate your styling.

#11 Less is more

When in doubt, remember that less is always more. If you can’t think of what to do to make your room look better, consider paring it down.

Move to make ‘pattas’ mandatory for property registrations in Tamil Nadu

In a bid to avert scams and make property registrations more secure, the state government is considering making ‘pattas’ mandatory for transactions. At present, properties can be registered in Tamil Nadu by furnishing either the parent document of the land or the ‘patta’.

The parent document is the registration deed by which the previous owner acquired the property, ‘patta’ is a revenue document detailing all the previous owners dating back to a specified date.

According to revenue department sources, the move would provide a double layer of protection during property sale.

“When ‘patta’ is made compulsory there would be engagement of two departments (registration and revenue), enhancing the security cover for property registrations,” a senior revenue department official told TOI.

The revenue department is sending study teams to other states, including Karnataka, that have introduced the system.

“If we decide to launch, it will be on a pilot basis (in selected places) to look at how it works,” the official said. A certifying surveyor would be nominated for scrutiny of land ‘pattas’ ahead of registration of properties, sources added.

Move to make ❝pattas❝ mandatory for property registrations in Tamil Nadu

The number of land documents jumped by 20,000 over 2016-17.

Registration department sources said they were yet to get a formal communication from the revenue department regarding the proposal. “But, it is good development that would benefit the buyers at large,” a registration official added.

However, a few said mandating use of ‘pattas’ would be a challenge in view of the prevalence of forgeries. An official cited instances of ‘poromboku’ land being sold by forging ‘pattas’.

Yogesh Kabirdoss, Economic Times, Chennai

Chennai development body land-use maps to show disputes over survey numbers

Property owners can no longer take prospective buyers for a ride while selling land in and around the city by hiding information. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is set to make disputes over survey numbers public.

GIS-enabled land-use maps that will soon replace their outdated predecessors on the CMDA portal will feature information over ownerships disputes.

CMDA sources said the new maps in the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA) have been upgraded on GIS.

“In addition, a user selecting a survey number will be able to view all details related to restrictions on development owing to location in the vicinity of ASI-notified sites, defence establishments, besides objections and whether the land comes under the purview of any acquisition,” a senior CMDA official said.

Currently, the multi-colour coded land-use maps have data such as residential or commercial and locations, where restricted development is permitted apart from construction banned areas such as water bodies and reserved forests. Details regarding disputes are absent.

Different agencies and departments of the government notify the CMDA regarding the areas identified for land acquisition for public projects. According to sources, objections to ownership is also brought to the notice of the planning authority by the people concerned. “These details would flash as people click on the survey number. A majority of the disputes are about ownerships,” another official added.

The CMDA portal has a decade-old land-use map, which has not been updated though the CMA has witnessed massive urbanisation over the last ten years. Even as peripheries of the corporation have been expanded adding the fringe areas, these localities continue to figure as town panchayats or municipalities despite the upgradation. OMR resident Satish rued that Perungudi and Sholinganallur on Rajiv Gandhi Salai that were merged with Chennai district continue as town panchayats.

When contacted, a CMDA official said that these issues would be addressed and necessary updates would be executed.

Yogesh Kabirdoss, Economic Times, Chennai

Follow this procedure in order to get back a certified copy of the property document

Get back

Legal documents are absolutely crucial when it comes to property related transactions. For instance, the sales deed is a proof of purchase and enumerates various important aspects of the property and transfer of ownership. So, without it, the property is legally unsafe to buy and technically also, unfit to be transacted.

If you are unable to locate your documents despite rummaging through your house, you can follow this procedure in order to get back a certified copy of the property document:

Step 1: Lodge a police complaint. The minute you realise that property documents have been lost, lodge an FIR immediately. “Lodging a police complaint is very crucial because a sale deed determines the ownership transfer after paying the required stamp duty. The deed is typed on a stamp paper which can’t be made again but can be copied,” says a real estate lawyer. Keep the FIR copy safely with you, as at the time of sale, buyers may ask for that as well.

Step 2: Give an advertisement in newspapers. Two notifications in two newspapers (one in an English newspaper and one in local daily) under the seal of a lawyer has to be given. “The notification usually states that for any issues or claim, if the copy is found it has to be returned to the owner/ lawyer,” says a real estate expert. Then wait for 15 days to see if anybody finds it and returns it.

Step 3: In case of a flat, you can furnish the copy of the police complaint to the Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) seeking a duplicate share certificate. If the application gets approved, the RWA issues you a share certificate after charging a nominal fee. It’s advisable to also ask for an NOC (non-objection certificate) from them as it will help you while transacting the property at a later stage.

Step 4: Register with a notary. The next step is to notarise the loss of document on a stamp paper. Along with the two newspaper advertisements and the copy of the FIR, get the documents attested and registered with a notary. “The documents are attested and registered with the notary to ensure that your undertaking becomes legal,” explains a lawyer.

Step 5: Seek a true copy from the sub-registrar’s office. With the copy of the FIR and clippings of the newspaper notifications, the next step is to write to the concerned sub-registrar seeking issuance of a certified copy. “A sales deed has two copies. One copy lies with the purchaser while the other copy lies with the registrar. If the sales deed gets lost or stolen, the registrar issues the certified copy,” says the real estate lawyer. The letter, along with the relevant Application Form 22 (which can be downloaded from the department’s website), is to be submitted. Documents such as identity proof, FIR copy, passport and utility connections bill also have to be submitted.

After paying a nominal fee, the certified copy is granted in a couple of days.

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Buying a second house is the best bet

Buying a second house is the best bet

A second house is definitely a good investment. Lessons from the purchase of the first house can help you make a better choice the second time around.

Buying a second house can provide numerous benefits to a home-buyer. Primarily, a second house would serve as a good investment and may prove to be a money saving mechanism, in the long run. That apart, one can always make a better and more informed decision, owing to their prior experience, when they buy another house.

Kumara V, a city-based marketing professional, concurs. “In 2012, I bought my second house in Chromepet (Thiruneermalai Road). I purchased my first house in Bengaluru. But since I have been working in Chennai for more than 20 years, I decided to invest here. The experience of purchasing my first house gave me a lot of clarity while sealing the deal. For instance, I knew that all the legal documents relating to the property would have to be properly verified. The design of the house is also important when you decide to buy a house,” he says.

He purchased the 3-BHK flat, which cost him Rs 3,700 per sqft. He says that in six years, the price appreciated to Rs 4,200 per sqft. He said that the house would be for self-use as well as be an investment. “I wanted to live in a gated community that had all the amenities like a gym, swimming pool and plenty of open space around, where children could play. I also ensured that the builders were of a good repute. Also, it fit my budget besides being located in a place that is well-connected to the rest of the city,” says the marketing professional.

He suggests that buyers ought to purchase a house that will fit their budget, for which the EMI or loan is not a big burden.

Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Upward and onward – Chennai Real Estate

Several realty reports are suggesting a comeback for real estate across the country and a huge demand is being seen in the affordable segment.

The year 2018 has been a year of revival of sorts for the property market in Chennai. Recent reports suggest that new consumers now rule the previously investor-driven market.

The last two years saw a slew of reforms and regulatory measures being implemented and there was a certain degree of a confusion before the market could touch the new normal. According to Anuj Puri, Chairman, Anarock Property Consultant, “With the now discernible impact of RERA, DeMo and GST, housing sales are seeing an upward trajectory in 2018 q-o-q. New launches have also gone up this year with affordable housing witnessing significant growth. NRIs see India’s rebooted real estate market environment conducive enough to justify property investments, especially on the back of the depreciating rupee.” That is the national trend at large.

Earlier this year, many real estate experts observed a 50 percent jump in overall new housing launches in the second quarter of 2018 over the preceding quarter, with the maximum supply being in the affordable segment (less than 40 lakh). Interestingly, the affordable housing supply increased by 100 percent in Q2 2018 over Q1 2018, and this supply has led the overall growth.

The city connect

To be more specific, Chennai’s new supply doubled to 4,200 units in Q2 2018 compared to only 2,100 units in Q1 2018, which is an increase of 100 percent. Over 64 percent new supply was added in the affordable segment.

A report by Knight Frank also said that buying interest was more inclined towards projects that were closer to completion and more so in the affordable segment, between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 40 lakh. And with 6,520 units launched in H1 2018, it was the highest in the last three years. The prices also declined by 4 percent YoY as developers doled out discounts to lighten inventory load.

“The Chennai office market that has been reeling under an acute supply crunch over the past three years has seen some respite in H1 2018 with the supply scenario easing somewhat with 10 percent growth in new completions. The paucity of quality office space also led to a strong rental growth. The residential real estate market, on the other hand, has begun on a positive note as H1 2018 shows the promise of a potential recovery in residential market volumes. H1 2018 saw the highest number of units launched in a single period during the past three years and the persistent drop in sales was largely muted as well, compared to the preceding period,” says Kanchana Krishnan, Director – Chennai, Knight Frank.

Arjun Narayanan, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Siruseri: A buyer’s market in OMR Chennai

Chennai

Siruseri is one of the rapidly developing areas of the city, which is attracting a lot of traction due its improving connectivity and proximity to the IT hubs.

Amenities make this an ideal destination for professionals working in private companies located on the OMR;

It is home to SIPCOT IT Park, the largest IT Park in Asia, with some well-known companies having their base in the park;

The presence of basic infrastructure facilities such as separate sub-station for power supply, separate telephone exchange and high speed data connectivity have added to its popularity;

Several IT companies have already booked land in this area and some have already started building their campuses;

Siruseri boasts of housing well-known educational institutions including international schools and research institutions;

One big factor, which favours this locality is its affordability and availability of apartments, plots and villas, mostly preferred by the service class;

If you are an end user and searching for a good locality, then you can consider Siruseri.

Source: Times Property, The Times of India/Magicbricks Bureau, Chennai

Space it out – for space crunch

Intelligent planning, while building, renovation and even while making cosmetic changes to one’s home, is the best way to deal with a space crunch.

When it comes to real estate, space is a luxury. And one that not everybody can afford. Small apartments, although quite popular among buyers as well as builders, seem to be grappling with the issue of space.

Smaller apartments definitely have plenty of takers. Whether it is the increase in the floating population of Chennai, or the space crunch that is the bane of every big city; whether you picked a small house because it is your first real estate investment or simply because a small apartment fits your requirements, the bottom line is that a little more space is always welcome.

According to Vijay Rajan, an architect, making the most of the space available to all comes down to intelligent planning. Even the smallest of houses can be more spacious than they look, if planned intelligently. “Small homes are mostly part of apartment buildings where the home owner does not have much say in the basic frame of the house. But that should not deter one from making the best of the space available to them,” he says. For small houses, functionality of space is paramount and hence special attention needs to be given to various aspects of building to ensure this. Even when the overall area is not as much as one would like, there are quite a few ways the space crunch can be addressed at the time of construction itself. “For smaller houses, one needs to ensure that the flow of the house is compact and efficient. There can be absolutely no unutilised spaces in the house. One way to do this is to give functionality to all the odd spaces in the house. Also, thinner walls inside the house can add a precious few inches to the overall area,” he adds. The basic layout, the design, the reusability of space, use of lighter colours and maximising natural light, are some of the basic things to keep in mind.

Although the best way to go about increasing space efficiency is to work with the idea right from the planning stage, it might not always be possible. Today, the real estate sector is giving abundant thought to space efficiency. However, residential units constructed in the past continue to struggle with the minimal space they started out with. “In most existing homes, renovating can increase usable space to a great extent. Simple things like breaking down half the wall between the kitchen and dining area not only increases the open area but also brings into play an extra platform that can provide functional usage to both the segments,” says Nivetha B, principal architect. For a long time, the idea of renovating consisted mostly of covering up the balcony space so that it became part of the room, thereby increasing internal space. Although this does make sense, there are better ways to do it. “When you decide to cover up a balcony or verandah, you are reducing the outdoor space of the house which in turn actually reduces the feeling of space rather than increasing it. What one could do instead, is to take in the balcony but instead of c overing it up completely, install wall-to-wall windows. This ensures enough natural light and exposure to the outdoors in such a way that you don’t feel boxed in,” she adds.

Use of multi-purpose furniture is also a sure shot way to make your home accommodate more than it could. “Dual usage is a great idea for smaller homes since any space can be tweaked according to personal needs and requirements. There is a lot of variety in terms of space-saving furniture that is available these days. Intelligent use of such furniture can help the hall double up as a second bedroom and the bedroom could be used as a study or office during the day, increasing usable space,” says Arun Nagappan S, a senior designer.

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai