4 Guidelines For Choosing An Interior Designer

An interior designer works closely with you on the project and sees to it that your vision is given shape in the most effective way. Choosing an interior designer is highly subjective as the project involves personal taste and preferences. Here are a few things to consider before you select the right candidate for the job.

 

  1. Verify Their Credentials

Before you hire an interior designer, verify his or her credentials. Check if they the prerequisite license to work as an interior designer. Ask about the designer’s education, training, work experience and other credentials. A good interior designer will have had comprehensive training that includes flame-spread ratings, space planning, AutoCAD, 3-D modelling, and lighting.

 

  1. Be Clear About What You Want

You need to be sure about what you want before you can start calling prospects. Assess the level of your involvement in the creative process and the amount of guidance you need. Know whether you are open to suggestions from the designer, or if you are firm about what you have come up with. Having a clear picture of your needs will ensure that you hire the right person.

 

  1. Scrutinize Their Portfolio

Studying a designer’s portfolio will give you an idea about his or her style and working methods in similar projects.  If you can arrange for a visit to one of the designer’s completed works, you can get an up-close and personal taste of their finished project.

 

  1. Choose A Designer With Transparent Billing Methods

Understand the fee structure of your prospects in order to know if their billing methods are transparent. Find out if the designer is going to charge you a flat fee or by the hour.  Make sure you let your prospective designer know about your predetermined budget. Having a clear understanding of what you are paying for will ensure that the work is not compromised by any financial disagreement that may come up later.

Interviewing and choosing an interior designer for your project can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to months. Do not hurry, as picking the right designer is critical to the long-term success of your project. Try using the ApnaComplex database to find a verified designer to suit your needs. Selecting the wrong designer, no matter how experienced or qualified he or she may be, can lead to a décor disaster.


Why Chartered Accountants prefer ApnaComplex

Presently, the number of apartment complexes in India is growing exponentially. With the growing number of apartment sizes, management committees are looking for some active help from chartered accountants or auditing firms to manage their accounting operations. This scenario offers a huge potential to accountants to grow their business.

 

ApnaComplex, a mobile and web-based apartment management service is a one-stop solution for all housing society requirements. The Billing and Accounting module is now being increasingly trusted by chartered accountants (CAs) as their technology partner for offering premium service. In this digital era, CAs who have adopted ApnaComplex achieved multi-fold growth in their business along with reducing their manual work.

 

Top reasons Chartered Accountants prefer ApnaComplex over other software:

 

  1. Best accounting software across India:

ApnaComplex offers online services, integrated with emails, SMS and online payments providing a clear edge over other players.

  1. Helps in saving time and money:

The accounting software helps in easing the accounting effort drastically and automates a lot of accounting process. Even non-accountants can be employed for data-entry.

  1. Supports a growing business:

Not only do the accountants use ApnaComplex for their existing customers but also acquire customers referred by ApnaComplex. As a result, the customer base of accountants grows in size.

  1. Offers convenience to work from anywhere and everywhere:

ApnaComplex accounting software enables accountants to enter and access data digitally. One does not need to carry all data to a centralized location. Moreover, multiple people can work on entering data simultaneously, further speeding up the work.

  1. Provides training and support:

ApnaComplex offers regular training and support on the product and conducts periodic refresher courses. This allows our customers to master using it.

 

The ApnaComplex accounting software is specially designed for a housing society

 

ApnaComplex automates the following housing society requirements for the accountants and management associations:

  • Offers readymade flat-wise sub-ledger
  • Automates unit-wise due generation
  • Provides flat-wise account statement
  • Automates calculation of late payment interest
  • Automates allocation of a collection to invoices
  • Generates reports

 

So, partner with ApnaComplex today to create synergy. Get powered with technology to offer superior accounting services and maximize your revenue.


Standard Domestic Help Rates: Can it be Achieved?

Domestic help/maids have now become a necessity for almost all households in India. Presently, with the average citizen working in the 9-5 shift or more, basic household chores need to be taken care of. It becomes essential that you hire the right person for all these activities that affect your day-to-day lives.

 

Some of the cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad have several high-rise apartments with 700+ people residing in the same. The amount of domestic help available in such apartments should also be abundant? But this is not the case and the simple rule of economics that demand generates supply fails here. Finding domestic help is not easy irrespective of where you stay or how much you can pay. Sooner or later you do go through the pain of finding the right domestic help and retaining the same. Essentially, the story remains the same whether you reside in a big apartment or small: demands by the domestic staff for salary hikes are too frequent and largely unaffordable.

How can you tackle this problem?

 

Tips to standardise domestic help rates:

  • Prepare a rate card for all the household activities and ask residents to pay only that much.
  • Every maid needs to carry a No-objection-certificate from her previous employer so that the prospective employer ensures she/he is not switching jobs for money.
  • Residents are requested not to deviate from the rate card.
  • Any domestic help asking for more than the agreed rates are penalized.

 

Pitfalls of standardised rates:

The question that arises from the above pointers is that how easy is it to apply these rules to housing societies. A lot of residents were happy with the above-mentioned resolutions, however, some disagreed to the resolutions claiming that they were quite capitalist in nature and if doctors/engineers can demand their price, why can’t the domestic help do the same? The whole demand and supply economics lies in the scenario that if you can afford a maid for Rs. 8,000 and can very well afford it, it doesn’t matter to you if others in the apartment are paying Rs. 3,000. The others sooner or later will have to succumb to the so-called “market rate” pressure and increase the salary bars.

 

The resolutions mentioned above can only work if people living in an apartment work as a team with their associations and come to a common resolution wherein neither the domestic help is exploited nor are the employers blackmailed for sudden pay hikes.

 

Until then people with maids/drivers working with you for more than a year, good luck in maintaining them. For people searching for a good domestic help, best of luck for your quest to find the right domestic help!


Ensure Vehicle Safety with Vehicle Sentry

Vehicle Tracking of is one of the key responsibilities for security guards of every apartment. In addition, Vehicle Security itself is a very important issue for every society. With theft of vehicles increasing, it has become an imperative for societies to address this issue. How would one know whether their vehicle is safe and is still at the same place they left it? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to keep track of your vehicle’s movement whenever you are not using it?

 

The system in most housing societies:

“Parking lot stickers” are issued to vehicle owners. These are stuck to windshields. Vehicles are permitted entry into a complex after the sticker is verified by the security guard. However, since there is no way to “deactivate” the sticker the entry of unauthorized vehicles even after they left the society cannot be controlled. Further, there is no record or log of the entry or exit of vehicles of the residents. In case of a security issue, this can be a major shortcoming.

 

Our solution:

Vehicle Sentry is a Vehicle Tracking System that is RFID based and fully integrated with the ApnaComplex cloud. At a broad level, Vehicle Sentry includes RFID tags for all authorized vehicles and RFID readers at the gate. This allows you to track the movement of your vehicle when it exits or enters the apartment gate.

 

How does Vehicle Sentry work?

Authorized vehicles are first fitted with RFID tags. Next, RFID readers are installed at the gates. These Readers come with ApnaComplex’s own custom hardware called ‘Sentry Controller’ that acts as the gateway between ApnaComplex Cloud and the RFID Readers. Sentry Controller helps sync the vehicle entry, and exit information to the ApnaComplex cloud server in near real-time, and also keeps the reader in sync with tags issued for new vehicles and de-activated tag list.

 

Important features of Vehicle Sentry:

  • When a Vehicle with valid tag passes near the gate, the light/buzzer connected to the reader will buzz indicating the detection.
  • It can also be configured to hoot for invalid tags.
  • It can be hooked up with a boom barrier for automatic entry/exit.
  • Vehicle movement information will get automatically synced up with the ApnaComplex portal.
  • Admins can check the vehicle movement records any time in the portal.
  • Data of any new tags issues or old tags deactivated will automatically update the RFID reader (as long as it has internet connectivity)

 

Benefits of Vehicle Sentry:

  1. Increased security in your society:

The movement of every vehicle entering and leaving the campus can be tracked, making it more secure. Unwanted intrusion is avoided with the use of Vehicle Sentry.

 

  1. Easy and quick Updates:

All the data for your entire apartment complex is stored in a single database. Any other RFID solution you implement will force you to maintain separate databases for vehicles and apartment units. This means you need to manually update the same information over and over again. Vehicle Sentry is an integrated solution and redundant efforts do not come into the picture.

 

  1. Cost Effective:

No extra hardware is needed apart from RFID reader installed at the gate. All functionalities are driven from the ApnaComplex portal. Your estate manager can issue and deactivate tags to be updated to the portal. In addition, you could just deploy the vehicle movement tracking with our boom barrier, making it very cost effective for the housing society.

 

This is yet another innovative approach by ApnaComplex to keep your mind free from worry while providing you with the best services possible. To know more about Vehicle Sentry and to implement it in your society, kindly submit a sales request at the Contact Us page and we will get back to you with the details.


Things to keep in mind when looking to rent a flat

There are many things one must consider before choosing to rent a flat in any apartment building. We, at Apnacomplex, list out the things we think you should keep in mind before renting that flat.

  1. Budget – Always consider your budget carefully before deciding to take up any flat on rent. The things to consider would be; gross rent paid, deposit, maintenance, and upkeep. All those things need to factor into your decision to rent out a flat.  Generally, things work up to 1.2x of the gross rent. So assuming your rent to be 10000 per month, you’ll eventually end up paying 12000 per month all things included. Once you know what the rent of your new flat will be, factor in your household income. As a rule of thumb, it is ok to spend 30% of your household income on rent in any given month. Once you have your budget sorted out, looking for a place can be much easier and less time consuming.Know your budget
  2. Broker Vs. No broker – getting a local broker can be a good way to increase your awareness of apartments in your area of choice. But then there’s the dreaded issue of brokerage, the one thing we never wish to pay (Trust me, I’m regretting paying brokerage as I write this article). Going on online sites can be a healthy start too, but what you see is not always what you get with online real estate listings, so it might take you longer than anticipated when you take that route. The only trait you’ll need is patience and you might just find the right fit searching online. In our experience, some of the best deals are available on classified newspapers and online portals (Please check https://www.apnacomplex.com/classifieds). You’ll be surprised at the deals you find there.Consider a broker carefully
  3. Be specific – If you’re experienced in renting out a place, you’ll probably be aware of these factors more or less, if not, then here’s the stuff that you’ll need to make that house a home.
    1. Check the amount of noise in that area – having religious institutions nearby might be good for your piety but can have a disastrous effect on your sleep schedule.
    2. Check if household services are available in that area – From dry cleaning to housekeepers, there are many areas where these basic services are difficult to come by, so ensure that you’re not making your life more difficult in the future.
    3. Check power outage cycles – some areas are notorious for a number of power cuts that occur there. So make sure your apartment provides for power backup or there are limited power outages there.
    4. Check water limitations – Water is considered the element of life, so maybe having a check on whether your apartment is equipped with rainwater harvesting or has some water facility to meet demand and supply will benefit you. Else you won’t have to option but to literally air your dirty laundry.Check if there's water in the flat
  4. Check the contract – Contracts are mandatory if you’re taking a flat on rent legally. Yes, we’re putting it that way because taking a flat legally benefits you more than the landlord. Here is a snapshot of things you need to look out for while taking you flat on rent:
    1. Contract dates – check when your contract starts and ends. Yes, you’ll be surprised at how many people miss this.
    2. Termination clauses – This is the most highlight-able area of your rental contract. Check to see if “My sister wants to come and stay” is a valid reason. Else, you can’t be evicted if you pay your rent on time.
    3. Penalties – Generally most flats have a one month rent as a penalty from their deposit. But make sure you’re aware of that clause in your contract.
    4. Repairs – Most contracts are segregated into major repairs and minor repairs. Major repairs are undertaken by the owner and minor repairs are undertaken by the tenant. So be sure to look out for that.
    5. Guests – Check to see if there’s any limitation on guests allowed. Contracts generally mirror society rules on such issues, so if your society limits guests then it’s better that you’re aware of what needs to be done.
    6. Rent renewal – arguably the most important part of your contract, check on the terms of a renewal. If there’s no renewal clause, push for it to be added in. Assuming you’re not going to move out of the house for the foreseeable future, it’s unjust to randomly have your rent increased on renewal. In our experience, most landlords settle for an annual 5% increase in rent year on year.
    7. Get everything in writing – Most landlords make blanket promises when giving out their house, make sure you get these promises/guarantees in writing, taking someone at their word can be good for relationships but remember, you’re looking for a house, not a friend.Contracts are important - Read carefully
  5. Inspect your flat – A lot of issues with your apartment can be hidden from a simple look. Inspect these things properly before deciding on whether or not to take the place.
    1. Pipes – make sure there are no blockages and the pipes work smoothly.
    2. Electrical fittings – See if the lights and fans work properly. It’s common courtesy for your landlord to provide these. Else, make it clear on who pays to fix it.
    3. Faucets and shower heads – Sometimes these basic fittings don’t work and nobody checks it out before renting out a place and moving in. Be sure to check these facilities in your prospective flat.
    4. Cracked windows or broken walls – If you can live with a cracked window or a broken wall, then it’s still fine. But make sure you keep photos of these issues before taking up a place. Those photos will come in handy when you’re vacating, trust us on this.Inspect your house carefully
  6. Rules and regulations – Although your landlord may be okay with these things, sometimes the housing society can have a lot of issues with some of the things you want. For example, you might not be allowed to keep pets in your house or you might not be allowed to throw a party. These are things that you should ideally check beforehand. It’s wiser if you ask the landlord these things than asking the society directly. (In Mumbai a lot of Societies require you to give an interview before being able to take a house on rent, so additional caution is advised there)Pets are people too
  7. Negotiate – A lot depends on who your landlord is and whether or not they’re ready to negotiate on the price. If it’s a person who owns a lot of property and runs this as a business, you’re going to find it harder to negotiate a better deal for yourself. If it’s an individual that is just looking to supplement their household income, play hardball, you’ll come out on top. Most landlords also practice up-selling their houses, so negotiating could make your deal sweeter than you think. Keep your poker face while negotiating
  8. Check if your apartment society is smart enough – Last but not the least, check if your prospective apartment complex is listed on http://www.apnacomplex.com by searching for it. If it is, then you’ll notice how simpler your life becomes once you live there. If not, then there’s always something you can do about it; like referring the software to you society or searching for a different apartment altogether.

Launching New ApnaComplex Classifieds

We are happy to announce the launch of a new ApnaComplex Classifieds Section for our members to post their needs and reach out to wider audience. You can access the classifieds section at https://www.apnacomplex.com/classifieds.

ApnaComplex Classifieds will replace the earlier mechanism of posting notices with “Every one on internet” visibility. With this feature, admins need not be spending time approving buy/sell/rent type of notices from members and keep the noticeboard clean. ApnaComplex Classifieds is also tightly integrated with Facebook for members who want to post these classifieds to a wider audience in their respective networks.


Apartment Basics – Kids’ Rooms and How to Design Them

Designing your kid’s room in your housing society flat can be quite an ordeal because of the swift pace at which kids grow and their rapidly changing tastes these days.Designing kids room

You can implement some of these useful pointers, which will help strike the ideal balance between finesse and practicality for designing a kid’s room.

Space is the Key

Kids these days require as much free space as possible. It is extremely important for you avoid cramping up your kid’s rooms with furniture and unnecessary decorations.

While designing the bedroom, you must have a basic idea on how much storage space you will need. Kids often outgrow their toys every six months and demand new ones. So the designing process requires a lot of flexibility when it comes to storage. You can opt for beds with pull-out bins as these provide additional storage space.

Choosing the Bed

The bed is the first piece of furniture that you should choose. It is extremely important to choose one which is of an appropriate size, keeping in mind that your child will grow at a fast pace.

In order to make the bed inviting for sitting as well, make sure that you install a suitable headboard which is preferably made of cotton or leather as opposed to wood. Install a variety of pillows in different shapes and colors. Installing bunk beds is an extremely practical space saving tip.

Space can be an issue in a housing society flat, so choose the bed accordingly.

Make the Room Lively

While choosing the color, don’t be afraid to experiment. Choose a soothing yet lively wall color which matches with the rest of your furniture. Most parents take it as a given that pink is the color that they need to use while designing a girls room. This is not true.

You must remember that your kids grow out of their phases extremely fast, so try to go in for more neutral colors. Another important feature is the lighting. You must ensure that your room has sufficient natural and artificial lighting at all times.

When you’re assigning a room for your kid in the housing society flat, choose one that has proper natural lighting and finely spaced bars in the windows.

Furniture and Fittings

When it comes to furniture, remember not to overdo things. A comfortable bean bag can be the perfect seating accessory for your kid. Installing a bulletin board is a smart way to display your kid’s drawings and artwork. Storage closets and study tables are essential.

You can install multi-compartment pockets, each used to store a particular item. Study tables should ideally be placed facing a window so that natural light flows in, in addition to a table lamp.

Alternative Hanging Tools

Most parents in a housing society are uncomfortable using nails or tape for hanging wall decorations. The laundry line hook is a practical alternative. You can install one across the length of the room as this gives the room a vibrant air.

Designing a kid’s room can be challenging, yet fun. Keep in mind that your child requires a lot of space and color. Housing society families can take note of these useful tips while designing a room that will appeal to every single kid.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s best and most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

Housing Society Knowhow – What You Should Know About Prepaying Loans

Prepaying Loans

Prepayment Penalty is a nightmare that is suffered by the individual borrowers who take home loans for buying apartments. A prepayment loan generally means that all debts have to be paid before the due date. Prepayment penalty usually ranges between 1% or 5% on the total loan taken depending on the bank.

The NHB (National Housing Bank) sent out a notice to all the HFCs (Housing Finance Company) recently to levy any prepayment charges. This decision has been greatly applauded by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India). The ban is not only levied on the prepayment of the floating rate home loans but also the borrowers of the fixed rate home loan schemes

However, if you have taken a Prepayment Loan you just need to follow a few simple rules. Here’s a look at them

Rule #1 Negotiation With Your Bank

Before transferring your home loan, do let your bank know regarding why you have planned to pay your loan beforehand. If the EMI on your home loan is unaffordable to you or the interest rate is sky high, then the bank might grant you certain options like extension in tenure, partial repayment or a relaxation in the home loan EMI.

Rule #2 Switching to a Floating Rate Scheme From a Fixed rate Loan

Some of the borrowers let you choose a floating scheme of payment if you are finding a difficulty in paying your home loan. The floating loan scheme comes 1 or 2 percent cheaper than the fixed rate loan scheme.

Rule #3 Partial Prepayment

If the pre-play is taking a toll on your budget and the interest rate is too high for you to pay up; talking to the bank is always an option. The bank can allow you to make partial prepayments and lower the principal amount; they can also reduce the outstanding loan amount. Many banks have the option of a partial prepayment of the loan, which does not exceed 25% of the total loan amount.

Rule #4 Prepayment of the Home Loan from Your Source

In case you decide to go for a full loan prepayment or opt for a foreclosure with own funds, no penalty amount will be levied on you. These funds can be a maturity of bonuses from sale of assets and employment or life policies.

Home Loan is a major source of fund when you buy a property. The Home Loan EMI or the interest rate varies from one bank to another. Hence, it is very necessary to plan and choose an interest rate or an EMI or a home loan prepayment.


This article aims at collating and providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use it only as a guidance for further discussion and action with help of relevant professionals.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!

ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trail as well so that you can try before you buy!


Housing Society Living – How to Make Your Home More Spacious

Spacious Homes
Having your own home is definitely a priority in life. One of the first impressions while buying a home is that it should be large and spacious and that can burn a hole in your wallet. You start compromising on your shopping, partying and other luxuries when you plan to buy a spacious apartment.

However, when you actually move in to your new place with all the furniture and other storage boxes, the house looks crammed up. Figuring out the right places to store all the old and unwanted items is definitely a challenge. Following are some useful tips on how to effectively make your house more spacious.

Placement of Furniture

The furniture needs to be in the perfect place to efficiently partition a room into two. For example, you can use a big wardrobe to separate a large room into two, which will offer more privacy. A kitchen platform is a nice way of dividing an entire kitchen into a cooking space and a separate dining space.

Storage Space

You can always reduce the storage area by keeping all the container boxes and seasonal items below the beds or underneath the furniture. Buy beds or tables which have drawers or storage spaces in them. You can use shelves and hooks behind the doors or wardrobes to hang your clothes.

Colors and Paints

Using pastel and light colors makes your room look bigger. For better illusion you can use colors like cream, yellow, icy blue and white. Dark colors absorb most of the lights and hence make the room look darker. You can paint your room with light vertical paints to give a high rise look.

Natural Light

Avoid placing big furniture in front of the windows; it blocks the natural light from entering the room. It is always advisable to install high rise windows at your such as French windows to give your room a more spacious look. Don’t clutter up your window sill if you have smaller windows.

Installing Adequate Mirrors in Your House

Placing a mirror in your apartment makes it look more spacious. A mirror reflects both artificial and natural light. Using cabinets, which have mirrors, can be used to store a lot of small stuff. You should keep the mirror at a place where light falls on the mirror.

Electronic Goods

Making use of electronic goods can clutter up your home space a lot. Take optimum care when you plan to place the TV or the LCD in some room. Laptops are more useful than that of personal computers.

Interior Décor

The walls should not be cluttered up with many photo frames and pictures. Using one or two pictures on the wall is a better option. Feng Shui or Vaastu Shaastra can be implemented in your place to bring in a good ambience to your apartment.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

ApnaComplex Delivers what it Promises

Recently Kamal Co-operative Housing Society, Mumbai went live on ApnaComplex. The society has moved all thier accounts into ApnaComplex and for the first time issued digital invoices and receipts to its members. Mr. Hemang Thakker, Hon. Treasurer of the society was very pleased with the many positive comments from their members and has the following to say on ApnaComplex –

“We were on the lookout for an accounting software for our society for quite some time. We zeroed in on Apnacomplex as the site is well designed and featured all the things one looks for in a good software AND offered a no-obligation one month free trial.

The best part is that ApnaComplex delivers what it promises. I am very happy to say that all the doubts, queries and issues raised by us were addressed promptly and in a very positive manner. And as new features are being added the whole experience becomes richer.

We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship and would recommend the program whole heartedly.”

Thank you Mr. Thakker for your kind words!