5 Tips for Effective Home Renovation

Renovating a house can be quite demanding in terms of money, time, and effort. There are a few common mistakes that most renovators make, that can prove very costly at the end of the day. Here is how you can avoid these mistakes.

1. Prepare Well

Plan well before you begin the project. Do a lot of research, read plenty of books, and talk to people who have already renovated their houses. You might end up spending hours chalking out the last detail of the plan, but it’ll be worth the time and effort. If you do not have the time or interest to get things done yourself, hiring a professional would be a smart choice.

2. Take accurate Measurements

One of the most basic home renovation tips is to make sure that you take accurate measurements. You spend a lot of money, time, and effort on a home renovation project. Invest in quality measuring tools in order to avoid mistakes that will make you hate your renovated house. Also, be serious about taking accurate measurements, as even small discrepancies can result in drastic changes in the final outcome.

3. Obtain Prerequisite Permissions

While interiors are free from legal scrutiny, huge external projects often require legal permission.  Be on the safe side and avoid unnecessary fines and legal fees by getting all the necessary permissions for the renovation plan. Do keep in mind that your house insurance will not cover damages or injury if you go ahead without required permissions.

4. Invest in Quality

Although it might be very tempting, cutting corners to save money may put your home and yourself at serious risk. High-quality materials are more durable, and hence more expensive. Save yourself the trouble and future expense of frequent repairs by going for good quality products.  The same applies to the labour, interior designer, or engineer you’ll be hiring. Go for the best that you can afford at the moment. If not, wait until you have enough funds.

5. Biting More Than You Can Chew

A common mistake that most renovators make is to plan big and go over the top in their home renovation efforts. Be realistic and factor in your finances, abilities, and resources. It might be a better idea to work on smaller sections than to renovate the entire house at once. Running out of cash, time or interest midway will only leave you with a poorly renovated house.

Make sure you follow these basic home renovation tips to avoid costly mistakes. The golden rule is to plan well and know what you are getting into before you pick up that hammer or paint brush.


Pitfalls of Cash Transactions in an Apartment Complex

Maintenance collection is a task that recurs every month. Committee members need to ensure that each unit in the apartment complex pays what is due and is done so in a timely manner. This is a long undertaking in itself. However, in many cases, these transactions are made in cash. While this is convenient in many cases and helps clear any immediate payments that need to be made, cash transactions come with a few pitfalls that are not easy to ignore.

Inefficiency
The time of maintenance payment sees a lot of activity within an apartment complex. Often, the committee members have to knock on individual doors to collect the dues. In other cases, the residents flock to the committee office to make the payments. Payments also need to be eventually collected and recorded from the defaulters. This takes up a lot of time from the committee member’s schedule.

Safety concerns
One of the main concerns with cash transactions is safety. When there are multiple units within an apartment complex, the amount of cash that is exchanged is a considerable sum. This opens up the possibility of misplacing or miscounting the amount. It also makes it open to theft. Further, the cash collected needs to be physically deposited in a bank. Driving around the streets with a large amount of cash can even put you at risk.

Inaccuracy
With an influx of cash payments, it falls on the committee members to ensure that the amount is recorded and reconciled. In an absence of an automated system, it has to be done manually. This leaves room for human error. The issue further extends even to cheque payments. In case of a bounced cheque, bookkeeping becomes long and tedious and prone to errors.

With tools like ApnaComplex, maintenance collections can be made almost effortless. It also sends out reminders for payments and draws out a defaulters list. ApnaComplex also offers a one of a kind and convenient Collection Gateway where members can do a NEFT/IMPS transfer of their maintenance dues to a unique “Account Number” issued by ApnaComplex. With Collection Gateway, ledgers are updated automatically with details of the amount transferred by the member and payment receipts are issued automatically. This eliminates the need for cash transactions and manual effort by the treasurer or accounts office. Going cashless has never been easier!


Improve your Apartment Security this Navratri

It’s that time of the year! For the next nine nights, most Apartment Complexes will be full of lights, colourful outfits and catchy beats that nobody can resist: it’s Navratri! Most people come out of their houses to participate in the Garba and Dandiya that’s held within the complex. Naturally, there are visitors from outside your immediate community who come to enjoy the festivities. So, during the Navratri festival, security measures need to be tightened in every housing society for internal safety.

Security Measures To Be Taken Before Navratri

Some common security measures need to be enforced during Navratri as a general resident movement with the housing society will be at an all-time high during this nine-day festival. A few security measures that can be taken up are:

  • Prior to the commencement of the Navratri festival, a complete identity check of all guards should be conducted.
  • A photograph of those working within the housing society should be recorded and kept handy.
  • Record the entry of every visitor along with the name of the people they are visiting.
  • Allow any visitor only after verifying with residents.
  • Cars allowed inside the gate should be given a parking sticker to be displayed the whole time it is within the complex.
  • Install CCTV cameras to monitor the entire complex thoroughly.
  • The names of all the caterers, technicians and entertainers hired for the event should be recorded and their identity, verified.

This dance event commences in the night and continues till the wee hours of the morning, so it is all the more necessary to provide proper security during this festival. ApnaComplex can help you ease your security concerns. With products like Gatekeeper and Vehicle Sentry at your disposal, you can make security during this Navratri easy and efficient.


Garage Sales: An event for the entire community

Garage sales are usually a great way to foster community bonding. Neighbours can get together to set up stalls and buy and sell household clutter that may be handy to someone else. Setting up stalls in the common areas or basements is a fun way to spend a weekend together.

In India, household items are often used to their absolute demise, at the end of which they are completely unusable. So, naturally, garage sales are typically not quite as popular. But with festivals like Dussehra and Diwali around the corner, most families should be gearing up for a home makeover. Typically this involves repainting the walls, changing the upholstery and a good top to bottom cleaning. This is the perfect time to fish out items that are not in use.

Setting up a Stall

1) Pick out things you want to sell
Garage Sales are built on the premise that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Anything from clothes, books, unused furniture, utensils, is fair game. This clutter can usually be found under beds, inside storage units, out on the balcony, in the storeroom, or on the terrace. The general rule of thumb of cleaning is to pick out things that have not been used in about three years.

2) Price everything fairly
Based on the condition and years of use, slash the prices of every item by 50 to 75%. Put price tags on all the products. It would also help if you put down the original price next to the selling price. Check online stores to check the current prices of similar products.

3) Set up your wares
Your customers are more likely to buy your products if you make them look presentable. Make sure all your items are clean and dust-free. Set up tables and stools to place your products on. If you’re selling clothes, put them on hangers or fold them up neatly. Make sure everything is visible and ready for easy perusal. Keep a register or notepad handy to track your sales easily. Also, remember to keep plenty of change on hand. This makes transactions simpler.

Garage Sale as a community event

Garage Sales are a fun way to bring the entire society together. It can be turned into a community event by setting up a number of stalls and turning it into a temporary mini market. Not only can you sell old used products, but artists and chefs can set up stalls for their homemade masterpieces. Involve children into the mix and help them set up a mini-games stall. It can be a fun learning experience in entrepreneurship and quite frankly, practical maths.

Make it for a good cause

Many of us usually donate used items to charity or to the needy. However, quite often these items go unused even in the charity. There are either no takers for that particular item or the product is totally unusable. Monetary donations are a preferred option. So take the money raised in your sale, (in part or whole) and donate it to a good cause of your choice. Not only will your apartment complex have fun, but you could bring a smile to somebody in need.

With the season of goodwill just around the bend, why not give this a go? ApnaComplex provides the perfect tools to help you organize the Garage Sales. Conduct a survey to gather other interested people, create a separate group and start a new discussion. Collaboration has never been simpler!


Community Collaboration: The Communication Tools on ApnaComplex.

ApnaComplex has always tried its best to offer the best possible facilities and tools to its users. Communication gap has always been a problem in most of the apartments. There is a lack of an effective communication system among the committee members or between the apartment management committee members and residents. Understanding this gap, ApnaComplex offers various communication tools to its users for their convenience.

As an ApnaComplex member (whether you are part of the apartment management committee or not) you may need to do one of the following at some point in time:  

a) Communicate with all residents

b) Send out personal or one-to-one messages

c) Communicate with Administrator of your portal

d) Communicate with Committee

e) Communicate with Registered Owners

f) Communicate with sub-groups of residents

When you need to send a message across to an individual or a group in your residential complex, there are different communication options to choose from for different communication scenarios. Here is everything you can do with the Communication feature on your ApnaComplex App

1. Notice Board

The notice board is a foolproof way to get a message across to all or particular residents. The message can be sent through the App, or even by email or SMS. It also reaches numbers that are on DND. While sending out the notice you can even attach relevant files or documents.

2. Discussion Forum

The forums allow you to start or join in discussions with fellow residents. You can access all the past and ongoing discussions easily. However, if you choose, you can restrict access to certain discussions to a few residents like committee members. All your society-related discussions will be easily available in one place.

3. Surveys & Polls

You can create polls and surveys to take the opinions of the residents. The polls can be customised to be accessible to either certain residents or all of them. You can customise it further to make it multiple choice, rating system, and with an option to respond anonymously! It is all up to you.

4. Groups

You can even create groups or clubs within the society. Start a discussion board for your sub-committee (or even hobby clubs!)  with all the relevant documents and a complete mailing list. Connecting with your neighbours has never been easier!

5. Photo Gallery

Share photos and create albums within your community. Photos of your community events should now be easily available to all the residents easily.

6. Repository

Keep your important documents handy. Upload and share useful documents like bye-laws, dos and don’ts, lease agreements under tags and categories. Again, this too is customizable to who can view and access each of the documents.

7. Community Wiki

Create a hub for your society. Share information, publish articles and tips, collaborate with other residents and much, much more. allow all your residents to contribute to the same. Create a one-stop information centre for all things related to your society.

Here at ApnaComplex, we understand that a housing society is a close-knit community. What is a community without communication? As such, these tools are always at your disposal. Now you can know and collaborate with all your neighbours with ease!


7 Easy Tips To Improve Your Home Office

Almost every home has an area designated as “the home office” or simply, “the study.” Often these areas double as storerooms. However, with the recent rise in usage of work-from-home (WFH) option, it has become extremely important to have a workspace that is comfortable and free from distractions.

So if you are looking to redo your study to enable productive WFH, here are 7 tips to help improve the space. Whether you’re working from home, or simply a student, we hope these tips help create a stress-free environment.

1) De-clutter your workspace

The first thing that needs to go is unnecessary clutter that you may have lying around. Your office space should follow the minimal style for interior decor. Anything that doesn’t directly contribute to your work needs to go. Also, remember to keep a dustbin next to your desk for all those balled up papers or pencil shavings.

2) Let the light in

Remember to keep your workspace well lit and ventilated. Whenever possible, let the daylight stream in.  However, if this is not an available option, make sure you have a bright table lamp.

3) Don’t compromise on comfort

If you spend a lot of time at your desk, uncomfortable furniture is a big no-no as this puts a lot of strain on your back muscles. Invest in a good chair which supports your back adequately. Supplement it with cushions and a footrest. When you’re sitting at the desk, make sure the height of the desk reaches your chest.  This will reduce the strain on your body.

4) Make it easy to track time

Make sure there is a clock that is easily visible from your seat. Not only will this help you manage your time, it also will remind you to take breaks while you work. According to psychology, it is important to take a short 5-10 minute break after every 40 minutes of continuous mental effort.

5) Get some greenery

Consider placing a potted plant nearby. Plants make a room look welcoming. They also have a mild detoxification effect on the room. Consider placing sweet-smelling herbs around the room. This can also help reduce stress.

6) Make it quiet

It may be a good idea to soundproof the room. Background noise, by common knowledge, hampers performance. So if you live in a very noisy neighbourhood, it may help to block it all out.

7) Put a dash of Colour Psychology  

Colours have a way of influencing our mind and body. For a study, always go for light, cool colours. These colours and soothing and stimulating to the brain. Hang up artwork that uses blues, greens and purples. As for the furniture, opt for light wood. This too helps to reduce stress.

A home office should ideally, help you feel relaxed and yet motivated to work. This space should also improve your efficiency rather than hamper it. We hope these tips help you do just that! Happy redecorating!

 


Featured Society: Purva Highland

Just off Nice Road, in Mallasandra, lies one of Bangalore’s well-known high rise apartments – Purva Highland. Perched on a hillock, this apartment complex boasts breathtaking views and a list of luxuries for both, body and mind. This society has 13 towers, each 20 stories high and a one-of-a-kind 3-tiered pool.

The apartment complex stretches over a huge plot of land and hosts more than a 1500 flats. This society provides a number of amenities and luxuries – a tennis court, a basketball court, a three-tier swimming pool, a medical store, a cafeteria, a supermarket, are just a few of the many, that are housed inside the gates of this society. Couples, children, bachelors, elderly, this community has a bit of everything. With so many people living in one place, using all these facilities, naturally, the managing committee has its work cut out.

Managing an apartment complex is just like managing a mini-city

So how does the committee manage everything? According to Mr. Ravi Shripathi, Secretary, the managing committee was founded in 2015. “There are three principal office bearers president, secretary, treasurer. Apart from this, there are nine blocks in the complex. Each block has its own Vice President. Besides this, we have many sub-committees like the Green Committee, Library Committee, Sports Committee, Evacuation Committee, and more, who work closely with our office bearers.”

All these committees comprise of volunteers who have decided to work in their free time towards making their communities run smoothly. But it is easier said than done. A big apartment complex is like a mini-city. And like any mini-city, there are problems that keep cropping up, decisions that have to be made, plans that have to be executed. This requires time from each committee member which, sometimes,  is more than they can spare.

Using ApnaComplex as a force multiplier

This is where newer technologies come to the rescue of managing committees. Being a fully integrated apartment management platform, ApnaComplex uses technology to reduce the workload of both residents and managing committee members.

Take billing, collections and accounting as an example. According to the Estate Manager, Mr. Shaman Joshi, “Previously, we had to rely on accountants who came in. I had no control over it at all. I was completely dependent on the accountant. Now, using the ApnaComplex App, I can generate our invoices myself. There is no more dependency.

When asked how this has made things easier he replied,Everything is faster and more convenient now. Earlier we had a big ledger we had to go through to list out all our defaulters for the month. Now it is no longer manual. The app automatically generates a defaulter list that we just need to send.

Or security, another big challenge for the size of a community like Purva Highland.As just a resident, I thought of ApnaComplex as just an accounting software,says Mr. Shripathi,Now as a Secretary, I saw all the other options available. We have been using ApnaComplex Gatekeeper for almost a month now. The response has been positive. We are planning on introducing biometrics soon.

ApnaComplex Gatekeeper @ Purva Highland, Bangalore

When asked what the ultimate goal of this was, he replied, “We have tons of manual registers that have been maintained over the years. Eventually, I want to get rid of it all and move to a strictly electronic records.”

From a library to a health spa, Purva Highland has a little bit for everyone. This society and its committee strive to make its residents happy, comfortable and safe. ApnaComplex commends the committee on their work and hopes our service continues to aid them.

Gym in Purva HighlandGym

Indoor Games @ Purva HighlandIndoor Games

Tennis Courts @ Purva HighlandTennis Court

Children @ Play @ Purva Highland Children at Play

Library @ Purva HighlandLibrary

Squash Court  @ Purva HighlandSquash Court

 


ApnaComplex: The 3 Ways To Manage Your Staff

Have you checked out our Staff Management Features yet?

Do you remember the 90s classic, “Chachi 420?” This movie about a nanny in disguise tickled everybody’s funny bone. But in real life, wouldn’t this situation be a tad alarming?

Almost every Indian household employs a household staff. Their presence is a part of our daily routine. The day they fail to show up, is the day, the entire household often screeches to a standstill. Now wouldn’t it be easier if we could track the attendance of our staff on a day-to-day basis?

ApnaComplex offers a unique and detailed feature to enable you to do just that! With our Staff Management Feature, you can track and maintain a log of the staff employed in your apartment complex.

The Staff in a Gated Community

Most societies have three categories of staff members employed within its gates.

  1. Domestic Staff: These are the staff members employed by the families, like, maids, cooks, drivers, and so on.
  1. Maintenance Staff: These are the staff members employed by the community like security staff, landscapers, plumbers, etc.
  1. Temporary Staff: This is the staff that is hired for a temporary period like carpenters or painters.

With so many people employed in one location, the movement in and out of the main gate poses a significant security concern. How do you know who has come in, and who has already left? This is where we can assist you.

Three Ways to Verify Attendance

In the current market, there are many apps that allow you to track staff attendance. While any of them can provide the basics, The ApnaComplex Staff Management Feature offers you a little bit more! With our fully integrated systems, residents receive an instant notification on their ApnaComplex app the minute a member of their household staff enters or exits the society gate. We offer you three ways to do this-

  1. By a picture

When the member of the staff is entering your society, the security guard can use this feature to click a picture. This enables the resident to know that their employee has entered the society complex and will report for duty soon. If the staff is hired in multiple households, the notification will be sent to each of one. This allows you to maintain an attendance log. This is especially beneficial if your employee is on a payroll.

  1. By RFID

This is a step-up from merely clicking a picture. Every member of the staff is issued an RFID card. A reader is installed at the main gate. When the member of the staff enters the gate, they are directed to scan their IDs. What is more, limited-period access can be given to staff hired for a temporary job. The resident can specify the duration for which the employee is permitted within the campus. When the validity expires, that staff member is debarred from entering the gate.

  1. By Biometrics

This is a foolproof security system. If you opt for biometrics, we provide you with a fingerprint reader or facial recognition software that is fully integrated with your ApnaComplex app. This enables the app to send you an instant notification when the staff member scans their finger at the gate.

Attendance vs Authentication

While pictures and RFID allow you to track attendance, they have their own drawbacks. Picture verification can help you create a log and track attendance. Incase of a security breach this log can help in an investigation. However, this is not a foolproof security system. The same applies to RFIDs. If the IDs exchange hands, security can take a serious hit. To make your apartment complex truly secure ApnaComplex recommends Biometrics. This system makes it impossible for a person to impersonate someone else. This means no more Chachi 420 moments in your society! Employers know exactly who is in, and who is out.

Bonus:

The ApnaComplex app allows you to create a database of staff members employed throughout your society. This database can be fed by both residents, as well as the security guard. This feature also provides a rating system for your staff. So if there are any other residents searching for new employees, they can skim through the existing database of staff employed within the same society. They can then hire a person based on their rating.

The life of an Indian household typically revolves around the household staff. The schedule of the entire family is built around their comings and goings. So allow us to make it a little easier!

Check out our Staff Management features here: https://www.apnacomplex.com/gatekeeper 

 


A Landlord’s Guide: 4 Things To Consider While Renting Out Your Apartment

As buying land or property is typically an expensive affair, renting an apartment becomes the preferred option for large sections of people, be it the newlyweds or those moving out to live closer to a workplace. In an atmosphere where affordable housing is in high demand, renting out your apartment is beneficial to you. So if you are looking to do so, here are the four important things you should consider

I. Offer a market-competitive rent

Deciding on the rent you will charge is important. Renting out your apartment is a competitive affair. You will need to be aware of the average rents being charged in your area. Once you’re aware of the number, you can set your rate depending on more or less what you can offer to the prospective tenants.

Consider quoting a reasonable rate. If you quote low, you may end up with many tenants, but at an opportunity cost. On the other hand, if you quote too high, you risk not getting approached at all.

II. Draft a water-tight, but fair, rental agreement

There are just a handful of things you need to know about laws, including contracts and insurance. The laws are more or less balanced. They’re neither tilting towards the owner nor the tenant. Verification is made mandatory for signing the rental agreement.

Take professional help if required in drafting the rental agreement. It will make you as well as your tenants confident, as it will protect the interest of either party. Ensure that the agreement contains such information as the description of the entire property, facilities provided, the date on which the rent should be paid every month by the tenant, a clause related to termination, security deposit, maintenance charges, and TDS.

Add anything else you think is important, and state explicitly. Any difficulty in understanding the agreement should be avoided.

III. Ensure you have all documents ready

One of the three important documents, namely lease deed, rental agreement, and license agreement will come in to use while renting out your apartment. If you’re renting out your apartment for a period of fewer than eleven months, you will require the rental agreement. For a period of more than eleven months, a registration is necessary. You then need to issue a lease deed. The expenses will be shared between you and your tenant. The local police should have a copy of all the necessary tenant details.

IV. Get the house ready for the move-in

Renting out your apartment involves a certain amount of commitment on your part as well. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your tenants are provided with a healthy and safe living environment. Consider having the entire house cleaned up and checked for electrical safety. Ensure all leaks and breaks are fixed.

What is more is, you have to provide your tenants with a signed receipt for rent payments. Lastly, at the time of eviction, it is important to serve a notice period (by both you and your tenant.) This notice period should be specified in your rental agreement. Again, this helps safeguard both the parties in the agreement.

As a landlord, these are the aspects you need to address. Eventually, we are sure your apartment will be a popular choice among tenants.


An Eight Step Guide to Designing a Kid’s Room

A kid’s bedroom: there is no room more challenging, yet more fun to design. Before embarking on this project, you may want to consider all the pointers that follow.

1. Safety

The first thing you need to remember is to account for the safety of your child. Make sure that the wiring, paint, furniture and decor items are all of good quality and child-safe. No matter how good it looks, avoid items that are made of glass.  This includes shelves and furniture.

2. Space

Children spend a lot of time in their bedrooms. Remember to leave plenty of open space in the room. Opt to put all the bulky furniture against the wall. Leave the centre of the room empty so they have plenty of space to play, move around, and let’s face it, scatter their toys.

3. Tastes

When designing a room for children, it is important to include them in the decision making process. The easiest way to do this is to ask them to pick the colours for their walls. If the colour they pick is way too bright for your taste, use it as a feature wall and paint the rest of the room a more neutral colour. Yet another thing you can do is narrow down the different furniture you’re willing to buy and leave the final decision to your child.

4. Practicality

No matter how attractive the alternative, purchase practical items. Children are quick to grow in size. They are even quicker to grow out of phases. So while making big purchases, like furniture, keep things simple. You can indulge their tastes in things like bedding, rugs or wall decor.

5. Lighting

It is very important that your child’s room is adequately lit, both during the day and at night. When setting up the room, make sure there is nothing blocking the windows. As for the light fixtures, try opting for warmer lights. These help the body to relax so it is easier to put your child to bed.

6. Storage

Children may be small but they always seem to have more stuff than everybody else in the family. Give them sufficient storage space for all their things. Try to go for furniture that doubles as a smart storage option. It is always a good idea to invest in overhead storage for all the things that they don’t need every day.

7. Furnishing

A common idea while furnishing a kid’s room is selecting a theme. This helps in making the room look seamless. Themes range from cartoon characters, favourite animals to just a combination of colours. While designing a room based on a theme may be fun, the real problem comes with maintenance. So pick furnishings that are easy to clean and quick to dry. Remember, if it’s a kid’s room, spills, stains and scratches are part of the parcel!

8. Creativity

One of the best ways to personalise a child’s bedroom by displaying their artwork. Pick out the best of your child’s drawings and have them framed. You can also hang framed photographs or poetry.  Have them create wall hangings and craftwork for their shelf. Deck the room in their work and watch it come together!

Kids are the most challenging “customers” to please. Designing a kid’s room can be challenging. But the smiles, in the end, will definitely be worth all the effort!