Finding an apartment in the Mumbai is difficult for women as the male-dominated real estate market holds misconceived stereotypes that prevent them from achieving real independence. Big Happy City shows you how to navigate the daunting task of housing in Mumbai, one problem at a time.Information and ListingsRental websites are great resources, but are rarely effective when looking for authentic spaces. The pictures posted on ads usually misrepresent the actual flat, if they have any pictures at all. Moreover, because there exists the flawed perception that conducting business with women may be a "waste of time," landlords and brokers are unlikely to respond. Though persistence is helpful, your best bet is rental and roommate groups on Facebook, where individuals post ads rather than relying on brokers.Fast PaceYour search could begin months in advance, but places in Mumbai go fast as the real estate market is constantly fluctuating. Unless you're repeatedly checking rental websites or Facebook groups, other contenders will snatch spaces up quickly. So make sure you check your sources daily, and message anyone who has a listing that you might be interested in as soon as you see it.Terms and ConditionsHouse hunting in Mumbai is commentary on Indian society and its expectations of women. Listings often have underlying terms and conditions, as brokers and landlords attempt to morally police women's identities. You may have to produce a permission letter from your father or sign a contract that states "only blood relatives will enter the house." Unfortunately, there is no definite resolution to this apart from engaging in dialog and being honest about your requirements.No Formal ProcessUnlike other places, Mumbai does not have a formal renting process. If you hope to receive the contract prior to transferring the token money to secure your space, you should rethink your expectations. Brokers commonly request a bank transfer before handing over the contract, which may seem a little bit suspicious at first, especially if you're a young woman who is new to the city. But this is just how Mumbai runs - trust is the non-official currency.False PromisesDid the listing promise an A/C room and balcony? Prepare yourself instead for a fan on a rickety table and a window that faces a beautiful paan-stained wall. Though this is an exaggeration, brokers and owners promise lots of amenities that they cannot always deliver, especially due to the notion that women will not voice their concerns. Always be assertive when confronting them about any repairs that may need completion before you move in.The search for your right space could be a long and tedious one, and there may be times when it feels like Mumbai simply does not have space for you. But the city's charm remains in its hustle, and with resilience and determination, you are sure to find a home here.Take away:* Don't waste your time on rental websites - join Facebook roommate groups instead.* Check your sources daily.* Be honest about your requirements and engage in dialog to erase cultural stigmas.* Learn to trust the city's informal processes.* Be persistent and proactive when ensuring your requirements are met.
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