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Indian culture factors into homebuying process

First-Time Homebuyer

Satvik Patel decided not to rush the home purchase process, waiting until after his 2010 wedding to buy his first place with wife, Laxmi.

They started looking, but signed a nine-month apartment lease to extend their search, as they worked with Karen Smyth of Top Atlanta Real Estate. Despite delays in the closing due to paperwork and title issues, they closed on their Decatur home in August.

Satvik, 27, a convenience store owner, and Laxmi, 28, who works for Triage Consulting Group, chatted about their search.

Q: What was a priority in a location?

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Laxmi: Originally, we thought we wanted to live in downtown Decatur. The idea of the house we wanted, we weren’t able to find in downtown Decatur. When we realized that this is maybe going to be our 10- to 15-year home, it was like, we would like to have children at that point, and it was very important to think about where they were going to school.

Q: How did you narrow the choices?

Laxmi: We wanted two stories, at least 2,000 square feet. We also narrowed it down based on school districts. We wanted to be somewhere in between both of our jobs [in Midtown and Snellville]. We realized that there are beautiful homes right off Lavista, Clairmont and Briarcliff [roads].

Q: How did you find the home you bought?

Satvik: The house is sort of directly behind the apartment we were living in. As we drove around our apartment, we realized there were some nice houses around here.

Laxmi: When we would go to dinner, we were like, “Let’s go down this street.”

They had lowered the price of the house by $40,000 and put it back into our price range [it dropped from $469,000 to $429,000]. All of a sudden, we were like, we must go see this house.

Q: What features made it stand out?

Satvik: One of the first things we noticed, the kitchen has beautiful tile. The centerpiece of the kitchen, so to speak, is this giant industrial stove with six burners and a big ol’ built-in grill. It’s got heat lamps. Laxmi likes to cook, so that was one of the first things we were attracted to.

Laxmi: One of the actual things we had to look at before we bought a house is which way the door faces. The ideal home [based on Indian culture], the front door should face east and the back door should face west, because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Q: How else did Indian culture factor into the process?

Laxmi: The day we were supposed to close was actually a bad day, according to Indian astrology. We convinced our parents not to worry about it. Then we sat there for four hours and nothing happened. Our parents were like, we told you it wasn’t supposed to be.

You have to check the timing of when you can actually move in. We had a time of 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. There is a religious ceremony to bless the house and get rid of any evil thoughts and spirits. It was 5:55 p.m., and we made it into our driveway. We said, let’s put the idol in here and say a prayer and wait for our parents.

Q: What’s a tip for buyers?

Satvik: Have a lot of patience. You feel like you found something and you want to just go ahead and buy it. There are so many more steps that come after you decide to buy a home. You have to have a lot of patience and think these through rather than being impulsive about it.

At a Glance

Satvik and Laxmi Patel’s home, built in 1999 in Decatur’s Brettonwood neighborhood, has four bedrooms, three baths and about 3,000 square feet. They purchased the home in August. Homes in the neighborhood range from the high $300,000s to low $400,000s.

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