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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Aggregator apps for realty are connecting buyers with multiple service providers

New platforms let you search by service, identify plumbers, painters, housing society managers; monitor accounts and keep records too.

real-estate Updated: Mar 16, 2019 18:38 IST
Lavina Mulchandani
Lavina Mulchandani
Hindustan Times
(iStock)
         

New real-estate startups are all about consolidation. You can complete the full cycle from looking for a flat to deciding on one, decorating and even renovating it, all on one app.

“A lot of the human input that used to be required in real-estate businesses is being replaced by technology,” says Anuj Puri, chairman of Anarock Property Consultants, a real-estate advisory. “Startups are moving from the one-size-fits-all approach to offering personalised solutions for a range of consumer needs.”

So there are now apps that connect you with architects, interior designers and plumbers to fix a single structural issue like, for instance, window expansion.

“Your interior designer might suggest that you extend the height of your window by 4 ft. Your contractor would then have to consult an architect, plumber and electrician to figure out what’s above it and whether this can actually be done,” says Sharan Grandigae, CEO and founder of Redd Experience Design, which owns and runs an app called Redd Bricks. “Our app lets all these conversations happen on a single platform. And you can then decide to perhaps extend the window by 3 ft instead of 4.”

The app is free, for now, and operates on a crowd-sourced model where developers or secretaries of housing societies add the architects, plumbers, electricians etc who have helped in the construction or maintenance of their building as consultants. Other users can then search by service and identify the professional they would like to work with.

Meanwhile, an app called CHS One launched 15 months ago lets residents generate bills and notices online, store digital copies of society documents and have a consolidated phonebook of service providers (electrician, security etc), all in one place.

“This helps the CHS manage everything from parking to visitor logs, billing, notices, celebrations and meetings, all through the smartphone app,” says founder Rabinder Sharma.

The app is paid. Users can choose to use one module, like parking management, and only pay for that, or pay for all the services available. The price depends on the size of housing society and is charged per flat per month.

Another startup called Fortify helps home owners and housing societies personalise and design a security model. “We offer a mix of human resources and technology to provide security solutions,” says Omar Pathare, founder of the month-old app. “If you live in a 1BHK on the ground floor with your room facing the road with moderate traffic, for instance, we will design windows with filmed glass and a camera pointing to the road outside. We offer both security guards and equipment for complexes and homes, based on location and requirements.”

As with many apps, data privacy and security are key. “We offer an option where users can choose to have their name, mobile number and flat number kept hidden on the app. You can still participate in discussions on the app, through a unique user ID number. The app is also scalable so you can keep adding more flats and people,” says Sharma of CHS One.

Sharma adds that you can even create a page on the app for your complex, share pictures of festival celebrations and initiatives on it with the help of the app.

“We use the app CHS One for managing parking and celebrations in our complex. We can coordinate and share parking space when guests visit, and effectively divide expenses for festivals and parties,” says Ram Kanjani, 35, an engineer and resident of Petals housing society in Kalyan. “We pay Rs 30 per flat every month for the app.”

First Published: Mar 16, 2019 18:38 IST

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