The internet is a great leveller, and it’s bringing that level playing field to real-estate. As real-estate websites such Magicbricks, NoBroker, HDFC Red and QuikrHomes find more users and create communities within themselves, the sites are offering a platform to new and emerging developers.
Most of these are three- to five year old companies with small budgets for promotions. The portals help them on these counts at nominal rates. Tying up with the portals is ensuring a rise in enquiries, sales and visibility. “We have seen a 30% to 35% rise in sales and 85% of our enquiries are now online. Being on a platform like MagicBricks or 99acres is a must for any developer in this phase of the realty market,” says Sandeep Kumar, managing director at TG Developers.
Namrata Developers from Pune and Panache from Mumbai are among the others reporting similar benefits.
“We have been receiving a lot of viewings for our website and properties via HDFC RED since we signed up on the website three years ago,” adds Raj Shah, director of Namrata Developers.
BRICK BY BRICK
It’s not just listings either. Magicbricks offers to help small developers with brand-building and by connecting and interacting with buyers through facilities such as live chat.
In addition, developers can avail of 360-degree view technology via the e-platforms, and even use maps to let potential buyers ‘visit’ the area, review the traffic situation etc. Special packages are available for online promotion, social media promotion, direct interactive platforms and even project-specific apps.
HDFC RED, for instance, is creating a dedicated app for Panache Developers called Premier by Panache. “The app will help potential customers see the projects better, with views of buildings, floor plans, gardens, other facilities and even nearby localities, to give them a realistic idea of the project,” says Akshay Shah, director of Panache Developers.
Buyers agree. “I browse through lesser-known home search websites but bought via HDFC RED because I found the brand more trustworthy,” says Dipak Bagul, 29, who bought a place at Kiran Shubhamkaroti developed by Kiran Creators and Developers in Pune in July. “Options suggested on the platform were relevant and quite helpful.”
Sushant Kasbe,39, has been looking for property in Badlapur mostly relying on online guidance. “I have gone for site visits based on the recommendation provided by the guidance team on the platform. Most options suggested have been relevant. Hence, I have started trusting HDFC RED and don’t feel the need of going through any other channel to look for properties.”
Pankaj Kapoor, director of real-estate research firm Liases Foras, advises that buyers not blindly follow what a website or app says but rather check the physical site themselves, appoint a good consultant and a lawyer for legal procedures and use the online platforms as a first step, to scope out the project, view floor plans, check out the neighbourhood.
“A property purchase commitment is not one which buyers will make with the same confidence and detachment with which they would buy a smaller commodity online. Home purchase is all about forming a personal bond and the process invariably involves personal inspection and onground research with the help of a professional firm,” adds Ashwinder Raj Singh, CEO for residential services at realty consultancy JLL India.