Real estate/property agents in Ft. Kochi?

#1 Dec 25th, 2018, 17:14
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Hi guys,

My plans regarding staying in India/leaving for the States keep changing, so I am thinking of buying a small lot and building a little place in Fort Kochi, with an eye towards possible retirement there, at least in part, in a few years. I am OK to buy as I have an OCI, so can own anything except agricultural land.

But land is shockingly expensive there - at least to my Thrissur/non-tourist center accustomed sensibilities - and also hard to find. I have visited Ft. Kochi a few times in the last few months to try and see what the local property scene is like, but have not been able to find an agent, or anyone else who has a good sense of what is available, what might be coming up, what plots are tied up in litigation (quite common apparently), lots of other important questions.

Johnlord, do you have any relevant knowledge about Fort Kochi, or any suggestions on how to proceed? I have been calling people listed on signs unsuccessfully - too expensive or lots too big - and have also given out my name/email/phone to people who seem reliable and that seem to be well-connected in the community (eg, the lovely folks who own the homestay where I usually bunk down).

Checked olyx, but the listings there seem bogus, only a few, and a couple which I know are fake (one which was cheap and seemed perfect was opposite my home stay on the map in the ad; the homestay owner told me the ownership issue was before the Kerala Supreme Court and had been in litigation for 40 years!)

Any thoughts/info would be gratefully received.
#2 Dec 26th, 2018, 15:57
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All i know from personal experience is that most brokers are crooks even if you have known them for a long time. They just want a quick sale.

When buying a property the minimum documents needed are:-


The latest sale deed,

The previous sale deed,

The encumburance certificate (going back at least 30 years) , this is not expensive.

The pocession certificate,

Latest land tax receipt,

Latest building tax receipt (if there is a building on it)

And this is a new one , the ROR certificate (ROR - Record Of Rights).


My opinion is if you can, do a full cheque deal without any cash , this is just in case there are problems you can claim the full amount back rather than just the cheque amount.

There are a lot of people who are going abroad who are selling fully furnished villas and flats at amazing discounts.

I am not sure if you are from Thrissur proper, or just in Thrissur district, but in Thrissur proper land is basically unafordable for housing. The plot next door but one the owner is asking Rs40lakh/cent , this is overpriced as it should only be about 32lakh per cent.

A friends cousin bought some land in thrissur district, a long way away from the main road and it cost him Rs2.5 lakh / cent.

One last thing, make sure that the land/property is buy is not prone to flooding.

I am sorry I was not able to help further. I know you are looking at Fort Kochi, but I mentioned Thrissur as prices will probably be far higher in Fort Kochi.
Lord, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had to kill because they pissed me off.
Last edited by JOHNLORD; Dec 26th, 2018 at 18:49..
#3 Dec 26th, 2018, 20:28
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I was also planning to do this in the beginning. Decided to go for a flat instead in Kochi. Could'nt afford one right on the waterfront but did manage to get one around 200 m away from marine drive Kochi.

Real estate prices are absolutely crazy over there now .Far more expensive than the UK ( excluding London ) for a building plot. And there is no infrastructure (or you have to run around to get the same sorted)

Things had gone down a bit after the demonetisation fiasco but it looks as if things have now gone back to crazy days again

If you are planning to buy then it might be a good idea to rent in the area for a while before making a massive investment.

Also even you are buying life will be easier if you buy a villa or apartment with a society/management company taking care of it.

Far easier to get an electrician/plumber /domestic help etc if you live in one of these.

There are some decent eco friendly ones.

For example from the good earth group

http://goodearth.org.in/projects/cochin/aangan/


I haven't seen this particular project but have seen other projects and they were quite nice with a very good community spirit. They also were not the reckless 100-200 apartments per project and more like 20-30.

You do have to do your own diligence.I was initially planning to go back to India a few years ago and that's why I Bought property. Have postponed my plans by maybe a decade or so and am now a bit out of touch with the current market there


Also if buying from an established builder you are less likely to have to pay a black component and your hard earned white money stays white.

With land you are looking at sometimes up to 40-50% black component .
Last edited by ukdoctor; Dec 27th, 2018 at 02:35..
#4 Dec 26th, 2018, 21:55
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Can't remember if it is Skyline or SI but their gated villas are nice, many are owned by NRIs.

One thing to bear in mind is that these places usually have a monthly maintenance charge.

A problem I have heard about with flats is that they only keep their value for twenty years, after that it may be difficult to sell on.

Ukdoctor if it is not to personal a question can you give us a ballpark figure for your flat.
#5 Dec 26th, 2018, 23:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNLORD View Post Can't remember if it is Skyline or SI but their gated villas are nice, many are owned by NRIs.

One thing to bear in mind is that these places usually have a monthly maintenance charge.

A problem I have heard about with flats is that they only keep their value for twenty years, after that it may be difficult to sell on.

Ukdoctor if it is not to personal a question can you give us a ballpark figure for your flat.
3 bed /3 baths bought for around 30 L all inclusive in 2005 and this included all light fittings/fans /lights /wardrobes etc and even a geyser in the master bathroom. Only 2 flats per floor and covered parking for one car.

Did look at a few Villa projects at the time and they were around 70-80 lakhs at the time. My plan was to rent it out for a few years and then use it when I go back.

The issue is that the rental yield for property is only 2-3% for apartments in the first place and is far lower for independent houses . Moreover if the property is locked up most of the time apartments are more secure.

Did not buy one with a pool as it adds up a fair bit to the maintenance cost). My maintenance is around Rs 2800 per month which includes water supply.

All I have to pay in addition is electricity bills and corporation tax of around Rs8000 per year..

PS: It is from one of the builders who you have mentioned in your post..

Just before demonetisation I had an offer for well over 3 x my purchase price but this did include a black component.
I did not want that and refused the offer. Thank god I decided to be on the right path
#6 Dec 26th, 2018, 23:19
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Originally Posted by ukdoctor View Post 3 bed /3 baths bought for around 30 L all inclusive in 2005 and this included all light fittings/fans /lights /wardrobes etc and even a geyser in the master bathroom. Only 2 flats per floor and covered parking for one car

Did not buy one with a pool as it adds up a fair bit to the maintenance cost). My maintenance is around Rs 2800 per month which includes water supply.

All I have to pay in addition is electricity bills and corporation tax of around Rs8000 per year..

PS: It is from one of the builders who you have mentioned in your post..

Just before demonetisation I had an offer for well over 3 x my purchase price but this did include a black component.
I did not want that and refused the offer. Thank god I decided to be on the right path
You got a bargain. I think it would cost you more than 1.2 cr now, given its location.

Thanks for sharing the details.
#7 Dec 26th, 2018, 23:24
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Originally Posted by JOHNLORD View Post You got a bargain. I think it would cost you more than 1.2 cr now, given its location.
Not in all white. Might get that amount with a black component Also due to tax issues people are not too keen to buy from NRi's (and Kochi has a very high NRI ownership). It is also nearly 10 years old ( got possession in 2008 as it was a new build)

https://www.charteredclub.com/tds-pr...-purchase-nri/
#8 Dec 27th, 2018, 13:53
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John and Doc, thank you both for your considered and helpful replies. The below is probably more information than you need or want, so of course feel free to skip/skim.

My situation/thought process is the following. I am a 56 year old woman, not married, no kids. Have been in India for the last year and a half to spend time with my 82 year old dad, who is basically a genius and is still sharp as a tack, but is suffering from every age related/exacerbated illness possible, ie; advanced cardiovascular disease and diabetes, prostate cancer, high blood pressure, history of TIA's/stroke. My mom, while physically pretty healthy for her age (78) is in the early-middleish stages of some kind of dementia (it is obvious she is there but she refuses to get diagnosed.)

Seeing them, I have been thinking pretty hard about where to retire, given my life circumstances and the genetic medical crapshoot. The choices are pretty much the US, Mexico, and India. India has become the number one choice because when I get to their age (and time seems to be passing faster than ever!) I would like to know that I will be able to afford full-time care in a place of my choosing, probably home.

Also, I have about a million cousins in India, many in Kerala and half of whom are doctors, so a lot of family support and advice of a kind that will probably be important at some point. I have two sisters in the States, but they have their own families, I do not want to stick them with my problems if I get to the point where it is hard to live alone. I would not be able to afford full time help in the States.

Why Ft. Kochi? After a year in a half in Thrissur, I really miss friends who are Western or younger NRIs, especially those who are similar to me (women, middle-aged, politically progressive and engaged on US/Euro issues.) Although I was born in Thrissur, we moved to the West when I was two, so my
sensibility/experience/mental framework is very much reflective of that. I love my smart, well-educated and well-traveled cousins, but more and more I have been missing conversation with people that I am not afraid of boring silly with long conversations about Trump, the US government shutdown, Brexit, the immigrant caravan, European responses to immigration, so on, ad infinitum.

I was in Ft. Kochi for the beginning of the Biennale a couple of weeks ago and went to a couple of the talks, it was so great to be in a room of 300 people listening to a presentation by the Guerrilla Girls. I don't think I could expect to find that in Thrissur, or in many places in India except for the major urban hubs.

Why a house rather than a flat? Couple of reasons. First, I have two dogs that are the most important beings in my life (brought with me from LA when I came here). I would like to have a yard, even a tiny one, so that they can let themselves in and out via dog door when they want, as they are used to doing. Second, I would like to build a place with a second floor with three or four en-suite rooms and a common living space/kitchen that I could potentially rent out during the high season.

At the price at which land sells in Fort Kochi, and given that it is relatively cheap to build, it seems like it would make sense to maximize value by building more on a given size plot rather than less. I imagine building in Ft. Kochi is a pain, but I have done a lot of building/flipping in several cities in the US as well as in Mexico, so building per se is not intimidating to me. Also, I know lots of people who have built here, including my dad, so have sources of advice. Also a cousin in Mattencherry whose family has been there for ever, is v. well connected, and will be able to direct me to good local architects, I think.

John, thank you for the check-list, it is surprisingly similar to what you would have in the US! I live out in the country in Thrissur District, not in the city. Did not look for land there, so was somewhat shell-shocked at the prices in Ft. Kochi (and now, after your post, in Thrissur city) as it was my first time looking in Kerala.

I knew about the sky high/Manhattan type prices in Delhi/Mumbai. But even the lots I have been looking at in Ft. Kochi cost between 20-25 lakhs per cent; if anyone unaccustomed to Kerala is curious, a cent is around 435 sq ft, so - if I am doing the math right - a 5 cent lot in Ft. Kochi, for example, would be about 2200 square feet and cost upwards of 150k USD at a minimum. As UK Doc pointed out, that is higher than most places in the US except for a very small percentage of major metro hubs.

Doc, thanks for your info, especially the link. That place looked gorgeous. Perfect in every way except not in Fort Kochi proper! Your place sounds like a great location, lucky you. If not too personal, what changed your mind about retiring, or the timing thereof? Thanks also for the tax link. Had no idea that it was so much more complicated to buy from NRI's. I guess because it is easier to wire the money out of the country and avoid/reduce TDS or capital gains? Still not sure why if the sale is reported, though.
#9 Dec 27th, 2018, 14:20
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The IT department has made the rules more strict as it is difficult to get taxes back from NRI's ( especially if they decide not to come back )

So they are asking for the taxes to be deducted at source and if not the buyer will end up paying !!

Best of luck with your search. Its good to know that you have family in the region. Otherwise purchase /build would have been a nightmare.

Not too sure how high prices for care etc are going to be 2 decades on .

Labour costs are quite high in Kochi (1000 rs /day ) for basic manual workers .This was during the recent floods and might have decreased now.
#10 Dec 29th, 2018, 17:28
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Why a house rather than a flat? Couple of reasons. First, I have two dogs that are the most important beings in my life (brought with me from LA when I came here). I would like to have a yard, even a tiny one, so that they can let themselves in and out via dog door when they want, as they are used to doing. Second, I would like to build a place with a second floor with three or four en-suite rooms and a common living space/kitchen that I could potentially rent out during the high season.


This is a great idea, if you can try and do it as two seperate dwellings, this way you will save money on electric bills, property tax, building tax and luxury tax.

By two seperate dewellings I mean try and get a seperate number for the second floor.


When we built this house my father insisted on building a granny flat below our main house, but he refused to get a sepaerate property number or elec connection for it.

So unfortunately the rules have changed and now I am unable to get a connection for the basement dwelling. I say basement but it is not really basement as all four sides have windows.

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