From pot bellied, smooth talking operators out to make a quick buck, dalals or property dealers, as you know them, have since got a radical makeover.
Thanks to the boom in real estate industry, they come armed with foreign degrees, rattle terms like floor-to-area ratio, vastu merit of the plot and give an informed opinion about anything from Italian marble to wooden floorings and draperies.
"The real estate industry segment today requires real estate specialists who have knowledge in business, finance and investment & communication skills.
There are aspirants who want to make a career in this emerging opportunity, and they need a formal orientation into this conventional segment, which is now metamorphosing into a new industry altogether, says Dr Hari Gautam of School of Business & Communication Studies.
The size of the real estate industry in India is estimated by FICCI to be around $12 billion. It is growing at a pace of 30 per cent.
This double-digit growth is mainly attributed to the off-shoring business, including high-end technology consulting, call centres and software programming houses, which in 2003-04, was estimated to have accounted for more than 10 million square feet of real estate, says Marshal Sahni, a real estate academic expert.