In November 2021, Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit chose a new apartment to reside. It’s a glossy premium project wherein the rent of the apartment would be Rs 12.50 lakh a month. The contract is for a period of three years.

It got us thinking about an aspect that is not commonly explored-how do elite Bollywood actors and top cricketers decide on their housing deals? What are their criteria for selection? Do they negotiate hard? Do they have advisors? Do they prefer to rent or buy?

Yet, seeing the choices eventually made by them it’s not hard to assess the reasons behind their decision-making.

The project in itself should be such that the remaining residents are also in the same financial league. There is then little possibility of residents getting over-awed with a major celebrity wandering around. Example: Aishwarya Rai has an apartment at SUNTECK’S LUXURIOUS BANDRA KURLA COMPLEX project where other buyers include equal or even bigger giants like Uday Kotak.

Amenities: It is true that several stars have their own bungalows which have their own set of amenities, the truth is that owning bungalows is not everybody’s cup of tea. The alternative is to explore offerings in top-league projects that provide a host of amenities.

Example: Shahid Kapoor, Akshay Kumar own apartments in the much-awaited OBEROI 360 WEST project at WORLI where the design and list of amenities are expected to set new benchmarks in luxury.

Rent or Buy: Some prefer to rent, some want to buy. People who don’t stay in Mumbai are often flummoxed when they hear of celebrities staying on rent. The question among many is – Isn’t he/she doing well financially to just buy a house himself?

At the same time when celebrities like Ranbir Kapoor take apartments where the rent itself is over INR 10 lakhs per month, the question is – Isn’t it just better for them to buy the apartment? One of the welcome changes in the last decade has been that practicality has taken center stage in decision-making.

Example: Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma tested their waters in Raheja Legend at Worli via a rental and then decided on their ownership decision. (And then went to an altogether different location)

Advisors: Celebrities also have their own set of advisors who assist in decision-making. The advisor is of no demarcated role or designation. It could be anybody chartered accountant, trusted broker etc. Few have structured family offices that aid their transactions. Vishal Masand of TMRA Advisors that has a record of servicing several celebrities says “Trust is a must but safeguarding their privacy is the key.”

Intermediaries: In a small circuit where the wealthy often know other wealthy people – the scope for intermediaries has diminished. Besides, builders and actors have historically shared a close relationship. Yet intermediaries exist. There are two reasons; (1) that high-profile celebrities have an image that doesn’t allow them to easily haggle in deals. Thus, they need someone to do their bidding, (2) due to ego-management. Rumour has it that an ego clash between a giant celebrity and a high-profile listed developer scuttled a deal in one of the most expensive projects of India.

At its core, Bollywood celebrities and Indian cricketers do transactions not very different from the rest of us. They value their hard-earned money, they explore multiple options, they seek advice from their trusted friends. And their wealth is primarily parked in real estate.