Monday, 29 February 2016

Budget 2016 - 17 has built a road for real estate development!

The Union Budget 2016-2017 has been a balanced one for the whole country and will surely work really well in parity with the current government. With infrastructure and investment being amongst the nine pillars to transform India, the budget has built a road for real estate development.  With the first time home buyers getting an additional exemption of Rs 50,000 for housing loans up to 35 lacks, provided the value of the home doesn’t exceed 60 lacks ; the affordable housing sector will get a big boost. Like I had shared earlier as well, the real estate sector expected some major inclusions from budget to help uplift the real estate market and simultaneously balance the sentiment a little. The real estate market was in need of new home buyers to bring in the lost cheer and I feel that the taxation measures for promoting affordable housing and increasing activities in the housing sector were the need of the hour that has been addressed. The development of the new credit rating system for infrastructure will also be of great benefit for the developers.

Moreover, the budget has proposed outlay of Rs. 2.21 lakh crore on infrastructure development which will further boost the real estate sector as the development of roads and highways automatically increases the demands for the commercial, retail and residential real estate. Also, with new jobs being created we expect the demand for housing to increase substantially. It was very aptly quoted by Mr. Jaitely that the domestic demand has to be increased and the government has to prioritise its sectors to bring in the macro-economic stability. Announcements like exemption from service tax on construction of affordable houses up to 60 sq metres under any scheme including the PPP scheme, 100% tax deduction for companies building houses up to 30sq. metres in four metro cities approved during June 2016 to March 2019 which are completed within 3 years of the approval etc will boost and help in the development of real estate market.  The policy formation phase of Real Estate has moved towards the execution level.  In the past, the market was a little slow due to which the home buyers as well as realtors have been paying a heavy price. To bring back this lost confidence, the current announcements for first home buyers and tax exemptions are expected to do wonders.  All in all, Budget has been up to the expectations for real estate market and will give light to the dark areas of unorganized sector.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Training in Real Estate

RE/MAX Academy of Real Estate (RARE) run by RE/MAX India, the Indian Master Franchise of RE/MAX, which is recognized as one of the world’s leading franchisors of Real Estate brokerage services, started in 2009. With an aim of professionalizing the Real Estate industry by providing world class training to Real Estate Agents, RARE provides all kinds of training which gives Agents an opportunity to earn National as well as International designations. Believing strongly in the fact that a Doctor with a MBBS degree has more credibility in comparison to a self proclaimed Doctor without an MBBS degree, RARE conducts various designation courses which can be used by an Agent in all their self promotion activities. Designations in Real Estate that can help an Agent give better service to the end customer and can also help in building a credible image of the Agent in the customers mind.
Some examples of the courses that are run by RARE are the “The Agent Training program”, ABR (Accredited Buyers Representative – A course that teaches the art of how to become a Real Estate Consultant to a Buyer), CRS (Certified Residential Specialist – A course that teaches the A to Z of residential sales) etc.

The flagship course of RARE, “The Agent Training Program” gives a Real Estate Agent an opportunity to undergo various certification levels over a continued period of time. It aims to inspire a new enthusiasm in its participants; a desire to explore new avenues and concepts that can improve a Real Estate Agents’ understanding of the opportunities in the Real Estate sector. The Agent Training program has various certification levels like the Agent Management Training, Follow up Agent Training, Continuing Agent Training program etc. From training on topics like basics & documentation in Real Estate, lead generation & marketing, taxation in Real Estate, land laws, market mapping, exclusive mandates to gaining International designations; the Agent training program is the ideal concoction of what an Agent requires to become successful in this lucrative industry.

 The need for skill development in the real estate sector

With Real Estate being the 2nd largest contributor to the country’s’ GDP and also the second largest employment generator in the country, there is an acute need to organize this unorganized industry which has and always will have enormous potential and the only way to do that will be to introduce training and make certification and gaining a license to practice Real Estate mandatory.

Take a look at other industries, even when an employee joins a new organization, he needs to undergo training in his new role before he actually starts his job, a doctor needs to undergo an extensive training for a period of 5 years, even a lawyer needs to undergo extensive training and then pass a BAR exam in order to start practicing, the same applies to even the Insurance Agents wherein they have to comply with the IRDA rules. Then why is it so different for people in Real Estate? Why don’t customers in Real Estate get an opportunity to get service from professionally trained Real Estate Agents?

With a change in the age group of customers investing in Real Estate from what it was earlier wherein the 40+ age group was investing to what it is today where the 25+ are making investments in this sector, the sector is now witnessing an acute requirement for well trained professional Real Estate Consultants who we like to refer to as the “New Age Broker”. Also, with the advent of technology use in Real Estate, customers are now looking at an easy and convenient real estate experience for which training in Real Estate has become a need.

It is this very need coupled with the fact that we now see a lot of individuals from other sectors wanting to join the Real Estate industry which is the second largest employment generator in the country that has given way to real estate education and skill development gaining prominence.

The day that Training & Skill development in Real Estate is done at a larger scale and becomes a mandatory part of our industry, that day the Real Estate Brokerage profession will gain the status of a sought after professional career which will be seen in the same light as other careers like Medicine, Law, Engineering etc.
In the absence of regulation and training in this industry which offers huge potential to everybody, a comprehensive training program with a blend of theoretical and practical knowledge is the need of the hour and the training programs of RE/MAX Academy of Real Estate will address this very need.

 The employment options and other benefits for people who undergo training.

Training sessions like the ones that RE/MAX Academy of Real Estate runs are open to everybody and are aimed at up skilling the status of the Real Estate industry at large. The beauty of the Real Estate industry is this that there are a variety of profiles to choose from in a Brokerage house as well as at Developers. From sales to marketing to becoming an entrepreneur in Real Estate, the options are unlimited and the best part is this there is no cap on your earning potential. Education in the Real Estate industry is in the interest of every stakeholder whether it is the Developer, Broker or the Customer. From ensuring better service to the customer, helping an Agent reduce his/her learning period and helping them give better service leading to repeat and referral business for them to helping Developers deal with the educated and professional Brokers, the overall impact of education in Real Estate will lead to a better image of the industry as a whole.

For more information, please visit  

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Women Entrepreneurs in Real Estate

In India, with the changing trends in Real Estate and the market becoming more organized and professionally driven, it is surely one of the few sectors that has recently seen an increase in the involvement of women in the trade. To what earlier looked like a man’s world now has women tapping and excelling in the varied business opportunities that this lucrative sector offers. 

Back in 2009, when we got RE/MAX to India, it was the Vice Chairman of the company, Ms. Saloni Chopra who was instrumental in making the Chairman, Mr. Sam Chopra take the leap of faith and today after 6 successful years of RE/MAX in India, Saloni has surely set a benchmark for other women entrepreneurs in the business who independently own and operate their Real Estate business with RE/MAX. It is with great pleasure that we would like to share that RE/MAX has always encouraged to break the glass ceiling that prevents women entrepreneurs from entering into Real Estate. We have been successful in building an army of women Real Estate professionals who represent our brand at different levels like Regional Owners, Broker Owners and Broker Associates. Starting from Manpreet Grewal, who used to head the India operations of RE/MAX to Monika Patni who has been an award winning Broker Owner and now heading Regional operations of one of our regions, RE/MAX has been a breeding ground for female professionals who have gained recognition and respect in the field of Real Estate and are emerging as future leaders by guiding and mentoring their fellow associates as well.

RE/MAX opens a variety of platforms that helps women entrepreneurs to successfully run their Real Estate business more professionally, independently and more over with flexible working hours. With RE/MAX Affiliates like Shreya Mody, Ila Pachuri, Manisha Mehta, Bhoomika Kiri, Nethra Quadros to name some, RE/MAX women entrepreneurs have been the change agents helping our clients by being Real Estate Consultants to all their requirements. We have always felt that in addition to all the knowledge and skill-set required to excel in the field work of Real Estate, women entrepreneurs define their own success with their characteristic traits like empathy, quick decision making, time-management, multi-tasking and dedication.

Real Estate is a business of trust and relationship building and with regards to the same; we think it’s easy for anyone to believe in females more than their male counterparts. Moreover, the decision of buying a home is majorly dominated by the women in the house and the men come into picture when it comes to the financial part of the transaction. So when a women only decides on “what to buy”; “where to buy”; “how should it look like”, women realtors definitely have an edge over men realtors in presenting the better services. In RE/MAX, women entrepreneurs have not only been successful at the front-end positions but have also been instrumental in the success stories of their better halves. The husband-wife duo has always been a success at RE/MAX and we have numerous examples within our own network that can justify the same.

Real Estate as a profession has a myriad of opportunities that opens doors to incredible earning opportunities and with structure and professionalism making wave in the Indian Real Estate market, we are very much sure that these new winds of change will not only boost the confidence of our existing women entrepreneurs but will also encourage other budding women entrepreneurs to pave their way into the business. RE/MAX always welcomes women entrepreneurs who look forward to break these barriers and be the change makers in this male dominated profession. 

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Would 21st century be end of Real Estate Brokerage

Real Estate Brokerage has always been a high growth potential industry and with the changing trends in this sector, it has seen a flow of trends that have restructured the sector. Since the structure of the industry is changing, the time has come when the Real Estate professionals should not even ignore these changing trends. The sector is professionalizing and we need to aim at not only providing better services to the customer but also ensure that we work towards upgrading the status that a “Real Estate Broker” has in the society.

Now one big question that most of us face is “Has Internet replaced the role of the Real Estate brokers and agents? With so much of information about properties already available on the property portals and mobile friendly applications claiming to enable a direct interaction between the seller and the buyer; we may get an impression that there is no need of a Broker/ Agent during the home buying or selling process. What we need to understand is that Real Estate is a field business. Getting of all the information online about the property does not end the process; rather it is just an initiator. Site visits, documentation, negotiations, right pricing etc are the offline side of the business which cannot be completed without the guidance of a Real Estate expert. Technology is just a tool that ultimately helps both the brokers and the end users but it is a fact that it cannot replace the Real Estate Brokers/Consultants. Successfully completing a transaction involves much more than just uploading a listing on a property portal.

If you look 10 years back at the way Real Estate was conducted, a Broker was the keeper of all the information about a particular property. There was no source other than a Broker/Agent to get information about a property and they were minting a lot of money just because of this information dissemination. But now the game has changed. Information starting from the dimensions of the house to nearest utilities to the contact number of the owner is just a click away. There is so much more available on various social media platforms like Facebook groups, communities, What’s app groups etc. To survive in 21st century, a Real Estate Consultant has to learn about the skills that a machine cannot do for a customer. There is a paradigm shift because of the technology and the way business is done and it has impacted the brokerage industry to a very large extent. All the smart Real Estate professionals have already taken the leap by updating themselves with the tools and techniques that will help them offer something more than what is already available online. With Real Estate moving to a more organized and regulated stage, I feel that this is the time that players like us will be the change leaders in the brokerage industry.

To survive in today’s Real Estate market, a Real Estate professional needs to evolve constantly in terms of market knowledge, network, professionalism, marketing, etc to attract new customers. We strongly feel that we need to adopt some practices that will be a value addition to the end user.

Some of them can be:
VALUE THE TIME OF YOUR CUSTOMER: Every end user already comes with a good amount of research done about his buying decision. A Real Estate Consultant should be well equipped with the knowledge about the latest inventory in that locality along with extra relevant information that can act as a catalyst in making the final decision. This value for their time will also build up the trust factor and make customers for life. Moreover, the present day customer looks for an access to maximum number of properties under the same roof as it makes the process more efficient, manageable and more over saves a lot of time that gets wasted in going from broker to broker to find the right property. A Real Estate professional should be able to provide the customer with this value addition to service all kinds of Real Estate needs.
MAKE MAXIMUM OUT OF TECHNOLOGY: Technology has tools that not only help in increasing your productivity but also help in doing much more than that. With set systems and procedures you can not only maintain but also market your inventory with just a few clicks. Though technology cannot replace the human touch that is required in the business, but it can surely help you in building the much required equilibrium between the online and the offline state of the business.     
LET YOUR PROFESSIONALISM SPEAK FOR YOU: With the changing demographics of the home buyers; it’s time for Real Estate Consultants to be more professional in their approach. Your own personality, your office’s look, your way of dealing with them can do wonders. These are some very basic things which are acting as game changers in this industry. Every customer wants to deal with a professional and not an unprofessional part-timer opportunist.  
UP SKILL YOURSELF: To be able to position yourself in today’s market, you need to constantly up skill yourself to provide a better service to the end user. In addition to knowing your local market in and out; one should also know about the documentation and legalities involved to actually act as a Consultant to the buyer. Instead to being a mediator, the need of the hour is to be able to walk through the entire process and present a blend of the market expertise and cutting edge technology.

We would like to conclude by saying that the way we do this business has changed, but at the end of the day, Real Estate is still a people’s business. Portals can provide unlimited information, technology can provide a national and a global connect but all this cannot match to the human skills of negotiating and understanding what a customer actually wants. So though our industry is experiencing a phenomenal change since the start of the 21st century which has led to some major transformations, it will only be of value addition to the brokers and not their replacement.  

Tips for real estate investors

Investing in Real Estate is one of the first options that comes to everyone’s mind when we thing of a long –term and a safe investment especially in a country like India. But since the sector is so diversified, investing in it without a long – term vision can be a little tricky. That is why my first suggestion to everyone looking to invest in Real Estate is that it should never be an instant decision that you make. It is something that will directly impact your financial future, so set a right way to being this journey. The good part of this business is that depending on your financial capabilities and your experience, it has a variety of opportunities you can invest in. So first set your budget, explore the available options, evaluate their pros and cons, compare the possibilities and then make a smart cum safe investment that will make you grow financially
For the first time investors, it is very critical that one understands the fundamentals of Real Estate. It is one of the biggest business opportunities for an individual as it can open up multiple avenues for making more money. With it having a capacity to multiply your wealth, a veteran realtor who carries good experience and understanding of all the things that you need to succeed can be very helpful in making the right decision. He can give you an expert advice and get the right things done for you. In addition to it, you as an investor should also invest in increasing your own Real Estate knowledge so that you can proceed smoothly. As new investors, with the first investment that we make, we start thinking that it is going to make us rich there and then; but we need to understand that Real Estate demands a lot of patience. The market scenario keeps on changing, so you need to proceed very carefully.

Real Estate already is very unorganized and has multiple angles. There is always a right and the wrong way of doing this business. As beginners we tend to makes a lot’s of mistakes as first of all we are sometimes not clear of what we are getting into and secondly we sometimes avoid following the systems. It is very appealing but it demands a lot investment in terms of time to plan and strategize your investment decision.
In Real Estate, one simple fundamental that will always reap benefits is “Take Risk, Take Action”. After analyzing and understanding all the possibilities and risks involved in this business, the important part is that ‘Are you has to be prepared to take that kind of risk’. We always want to add Read Estate to our investments portfolio but it requires a lot of initial funding and a regular cash inflow to protect you from getting stuck at a later stage. It is just about that risk taking appetite and a strategic planning that will help you in accomplishing success.

In a nutshell, we feel that first of all an investor should identify his investment horizon, whether he wants to invest for a short- term or long- term and the kind of Real Estate they would like to invest in. A comparative analysis of the market trend/rates versus the opportunities available can help them figure out what will bring the best ROI. Last but not the least, before anything one should understand the plans of the government for that particular market as that is one of the most crucial factors to decide the success of the investment.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The future of affordable housing in India

The concept of Affordable housing is very generic and has several implied meanings in different contexts. Affordable Housing is interlinked to a number of factors like the income level, the kind of comfort, facilities, standard of living and amenities be offered in that price range. In addition to all these factors, another parameter that plays a vital role while the sale of affordable housing is the target customer for the same. For a low level income category, affordable housing will be a dwelling that ranges between 7 – 12 lakhs whereas the middle income category can look up to affording a flat within a bracket of 25 – 30 lakhs. Thus first the demand and the sale of such houses has to be determined by keeping all the above factors in mind and then only we will be able to take some positive actions to make it a future in India. 

The fact is that affordable housing is the much needed concept that needs to be in full swing to bring back the realty sector on track. The market is flooded with the high – end luxury housing but the segment of affordable housing has a gigantic shortage in some states, particularly in big cities. With the very high land and the construction cost followed by the approvals from around 35-40 departments required to pass a project, the developers who focus on affordable housing are facing hurdles in achieving the long – standing dream of affordable housing.  

We at RE/MAX India believe that due to the sudden fall in the demand in 20013-14, where the market had become very competitive and the private developers were just concentrating on the mid-income and high-end housing, shifting to affordable housing segment has provided an appropriate option to diversify risks to the developers. Also, due to lack of land parcel within the city limits has pushed the developers to aggregate land at suburban location where a high-end project might not be successful, since these land parcels have lower cost of acquisition. 

We also believe that a strong mission is required between central, state government and big cities. Work needs to begin on this said mission which has four distinct components/wings - slum redevelopment; affordable housing through interest subvention; rental housing for migrants; housing for urban destitute and homeless. In addition to this, slum redevelopment will require experts on PPP and finance which needs to be integrated in the finance division that needs to be part of mission.

Further, all the states need to sign MOU agreeing for mandatory conditions like development of slums through PPP mode , granting additional FSI/TDR for slums and affordable housing projects ,single window clearance for building and lay out ,permission on pre-approved lay out and building design for EWS/LIG housing  et al. These steps are likely to give the much required additional push towards this area. A lot of studies have shown that there is momentous demand for affordable homes but supply is limited, even as developers begin to implement business models around this.

Affordable housing is expected not only to improve the basic quality of life but also make a good economic sense. Affordable housing is attracting a lot of buyers and investors and the realty majors who previously focused only on mid-income and high-end housing projects are seriously looking at building up their presence in affordable housing as well.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

The customer service philosophy

Real Estate is a people’s business and a Real Estate purchase is one of the costliest purchase a person makes in his/her lifetime. In real estate, a good customer service can really help to set you apart as a realtor. Even if we think generally, we all love to receive good service wherever we go and in fact we appreciate good service so much that we all like to show it, talk about it and promote it when we receive it. Buying, selling, leasing of Real Estate are amongst the most hectic events in life and no matter how many times have you done that, it comes out as a different situation every time. Every buyer and seller comes with a unique set of challenges and it is very important for a realtor to understand them and deal with them. The philosophy to deal with it is very simple. It is always about the clients and what your client needs from you. A realtor needs to figure out the best ways to service those needs and provide the best services that will help to develop a long term relationship with your clients. Any approach that you follow should be customer centric and should follow the need based approach. To do that your knowledge not only about Real Estate but about anything starting from an update on the market to advice on the impact documentation on your client’s home value will be helpful.  Identify the best practices, create systems and processes for everything, train and up-skill yourself and make use of the latest tools and technology to give the best in what you are doing. We need to understand that in Real Estate your starting point is your client and his/her need.  

In our Real Estate career we have seen a lot of successful agents and it is surprising that they don’t do the business in the same manner. But at the same time, they have one thing in common and it’s that their clients love them. They know their business very well and they are skilled in doing what they do and thus they give their customers a great experience. In RE/MAX, we feel so proud when we read some lovely client testimonials that our associates receive because of the great service that they provide them. This is when we realized that the only way to set you apart from the competition is CUSTOMER SERVICE. Not only you build a strong bond with them but also you make them your customers for lifetime. As a matter of fact, researches show that while there are only 15-20% of chances to sell to a new prospect, there is 60-70% probability to sell to your existing customers. A good transactional service brings you more clients, through repeat business, referrals, testimonials, reputation both online and through word-of-mouth.  Real Estate has a great potential and customer service goes far beyond simply understanding what the client needs. Starting from a simple thing like a response time to something as important as documentation, customer service includes everything that a Real Estate consultant needs to take care in a home buying/selling process.   

We are in an age where the customer gives more focus on to value and also rewards the great service that you provide them. As veterans in Real Estate we need educate our associates on how to give great service. As a Real Estate consultant you have many roles to play. Whenever you meet a potential seller or a buyer it is your knowledge and skills that help you win your clients to work with you exclusively. A good customer service is when your client feels the trust and confidence in you. Real Estate industry runs on a long term relationship and the customer service skills is one of the key differentiating factor that helps to build your brands image and make sales more effective

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Smart cities: An Opportunity for real estate sector

In line with several other initiatives in making India take a major leap in the race of development at a global level, the building of Smart Cities is definitely a rational decision taken by the Indian government towards its execution.  As a matter of fact, India is the seventh largest country by area and as per the current statistics, we have also become one of the fastest growing economies & are looked up as the newly Industrialised country in the world. There is surely a huge potential for the development of Smart Cities but the question is on how will this be strategized and executed.  

There are a number of questions that arise with reference to the execution of this plan as the residents of the cities in India have already been facing a number of problems due to low maintenance and poor planning. The smart cities will not only make life simpler and much more comfortable to its residents but also will help us in efficiently utilizing our resources and give a next-level infrastructure to our future generations. With the usage of information and communication technologies to develop more organized public services, it is also a big opportunity for the Real Estate sector as it is a very good investment for the investors with a long-term vision.

One factor behind the need for smart cities is the international call for action in response to changes in the global and urban environments. There are problems like resource depletion, urban issues, and other difficulties brought about by climate change and increases in the size and concentration of population. Smart cities intended to boost long-term economic growth and global competitiveness over the next 10 years and with a significant share of investments coming from foreign governments and private sector inflows, the dream will definitely become a reality.

The potential economic impact from the development of India's smart cities will act as a significant catalyst for economic growth through a number of drivers, including increased foreign direct investment (FDI), accelerated development of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), increased competitiveness and job creation. Not only will investment into sectors like roads, airports and smart cities create a better and a next level infrastructure, but it will also generate private equity investment opportunities into the core sectors. Though it a very challenging concept especially in India because of the existing socio-economic conditions but an effective leadership and an optimum utilization of the resources by the players in each sector involved in this concept can deliver the smart infrastructure. All individuals at every level starting from the investors to the executors have to be actively involved in the multiple operational and the infrastructural developments.

Urbanization in India has significant implications for the future development of the country and the coming generations will exert tremendous pressure on urban infrastructure and services. It is, therefore, imperative that we find innovative solutions for the urban challenges of growth and sustainability. Additionally, green growth strategies can build environmentally sustainable cities.
Though the concept of smart cities is relatively new in India and it is an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India but together we are well on the path to creating them.The government has planned to set up the concept of smart cities in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Terengganu, UP, Uttrakhand and West Bengal. We at RE/MAX India are positive about the whole concept and are sure that with such concepts, the projected development of India by 2020 will be achieved.

Skills for a Realtor in avoiding common home buying mistakes

Buying a home is one of the major financial transactions that an individual makes in his/her lifetime and it should be a very pleasant experience for them. At one time when the buyer is very excited about the new home he is buying; at the same time it can become a very complicated process. A buyer encounters a lot of questions and it is very important that all these questions are addressed to help him in making a more confident decision. This is where the skills and the experience of a realtor come to play. Right from assistance in helping them defining their objective of the purchase to deciding the amount that should be spent in the whole process, a good realtor should dedicate his time and energy in streamlining all these process for the buyer.

What looks simple actually involves a lot of research, preparation and a lot of pre – planning. With the Internet acting as a one-stop shop for all the queries and information that the buyer wants, it is a fact that it cannot replace the experience and the trustworthiness that a Realtor carries with himself. In India, Real Estate is more of a local game and in such markets relying on a realtor who is an expert of that local market will not only protect you from falling into various pitfalls but will also save a lot of money, time and various other resources that get involved in the process. As RE/MAX, to ensure that our Associates have all this knowledge, we train them on various aspects and developments happening in their local markets so that they are able to best serve their clients.
As new home buyers, we get easily influenced and even mislead sometimes and thus end up making mistakes that are not reversible. On the other hand, a realtor will ensure that he does every possible negotiation that will be of best financial interests to you and help you to buy the right property at the right price. The home buying process simply doesn’t end when you find your dream home. In fact the process just starts after that. The legal aspects and the documentation involved have to be dealt very carefully and by an expert as they can have major long term implications. A realtor with a knowledge and update on the latest and ever-changing rules and regulations in Real Estate can simplify the entire process for you.

The kind of research and analysis that is done by a realtor serves as a guiding factor to the buyers during this important journey.  Right from understanding the requirements of the buyers to doing all the comparative analysis to final down your dream home, a realtor’s skills prevent you from making mistakes that will end up wasting your hard earned money. We am very much supportive of this beautiful quote by Warren Buffett, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”. As a Realtor, it is our duty to make the Real Estate transactions successful and of value to your investment. 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Is Real Estate your Smartest Investment?

“Land is a scarce commodity; available in a finite amount and they ain’t making any more of it”. Thinking of this fact, we are sure that all of us realize that land is one resource that has no substitute and is one of the basic human needs along with roti and kapda. Real estate is one of the sure investments whose value always appreciates in long term. It is a general and very true saying that “You don’t wait to buy Real Estate; buy Real Estate and wait”.
If you are looking at stable gains for your money, it is time that you start looking at Real Estate as an investment. As per a lot of researches, real estate has given at least returns between 15- 20% per annum in the last decade. In good developing locations, after a period of 5 years, your real estate investment starts giving you return in terms of appreciation anywhere between 10-20 % per annum depending on the kind of investment you have done. While areas like Navi Mumbai and Gurgaon have seen an appreciation in prices; cities like Bangalore, Chennai have seen a good return on property. Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities are growing at a faster pace and will be coming up with good real estate prices and returns. The developing areas always give a good return on investment and thus the investors can also explore these options to make a smart investment. Even when prices fall and cash is scarce, a lot of schemes are available in real estate for investors which reap them a handsome profit when economy recovers. A lot of Real Estate investments just don’t fetch you appreciation but also give you monthly returns like rentals and lease income. There are a lot of other factors as well that make Real Estate as a king of investments and let explore why:

1.        Basic law of demand and supply: As and when the population will grow, the demand for Real Estate consequently increases. With the increase in the demand of real estate, the rents increase and thus result in higher prices of the land. In fact, whenever the economies grow and expand; it has a positive impact on the Real Estate growth. There is a reason why Real Estate is considered as a part of the bigger investment portfolio. It is a resource that has several qualities that enhance the returns.   

2.       A stable, non-volatile and a reliable income stream: If you think long –term, most of the real estate returns come from rental income which are surely less volatile than capital returns. Owning a home is actually a keystone for wealth as a result of its financial affluence and emotional security. Not only is it a reliable income source while you are yourself earning but also offers the comfort of steady income post employment. It is saying that “Landlords get rich in their sleep” and the statement stands true looking at the kind of financial security one gets from Real Estate investments.

3.       Scope of appreciation: Real Estate is one commodity that always appreciates in long –term. Numerous experts in real estate would agree to the fact that over a time period of ten years, real estate is one investment that has seen highest scale of appreciation in comparison to any other investment. Real estate is like a roller coaster ride. Every market sees a slump in the economy, but land prices have always been amongst the fastest to recover and gain momentum. 

4.       Risk platter is less: Owing a physical asset always gives you much more mental satisfaction over any financial asset like mutual funds/stocks.  Moreover, with Real Estate the risk platter is less. The value of your money is preserved and increases by investing in right asset class for long periods of time. Moreover, Real estate is one of the investments that allow leverage. Even if you pay only 20-30% of the entire cost of a property; you can easily control the income coming from the property along with the tag of the ownership of that property. It is a safe bet that you can play with minimum risk involved.

Thus Real Estate not only is one of the everlasting securities that you can have but is also an asset that is ever increasing in value. In real estate, the investment has to be long term, with a timeframe between 4-7 years to expect king size returns on your investment. To make the best of it, you as an investor also need to do some hard work, a lot of research and make a smart decision to make best out of it. Do not forget that every day when you wake up, it is your property only that is producing a safe and a stable income.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

How Real Estate consultants change themselves to be Tech Savvy and how it is useful for their Business

Technology and Internet have led to a paradigm shift in all the industries including Real Estate. In our own experience as Realtors, we have seen how our sector has evolved with these changing trends and how the attitude of the customers has also changed. From a task as simple as paying a telephone bill to a task as complex like buying/selling a house; Internet empowers the customer with efficient solutions and supportive information that helps them in moving one step ahead towards making the final decision. As per the researches done, today more than 90% of the customers initiate their home buying process through their mobile devices. The good part is that though technology increases the knowledge of the customer when it comes to Real Estate, but it cannot replace the human touch and that is why every customer will need a Real Estate Consultant to help them make their final decision. Internet has brought in a shift in the role of Real Estate Consultant from being the keeper of the listing to a guide and a negotiator for their client.     

Real Estate has evolved from being a traditional local brokers business. Gone are those days when the customers used to completely rely only on Real Estate brokers and agents for all the information required for their home search. The property portals now provide sufficient and the right amount of information in just a few clicks so that customer knows what he/she want and what fits in their budget. The role of an agent has now shifted from the first point of contact to a Consultant whom the buyer finally contacts for an expert opinion, guidance on financial planning and a quicker closure. Even with so much of information and facilities available online, in the end you would still need a Property Consultant to guide you through the process as the information available online is not sufficient to crack a transaction. You would always need proper expertise from the time of the booking till the last piece of documentation is complete.

Internet is now the first point of contact when it comes to research and it has a huge influence on the final decision. With so many opportunities available sitting in your comfort zone and without doing the leg work, online Real Estate helps the buyer to search for properties in a city where he/she doesn’t reside. Online resources provide us with all the requisite information to do their preliminary home research without actually visiting the project site. With maximum amount of information provided about a particular property with reference to the property details, prices, locations, 360 degree view, nearby amenities, contact details of the Consultant, price and feature comparisons with other similar projects etc; the trend of researching online is the technique followed by most of the home buyers now days. Also, seeing the success rates and the increased number of individuals using these platforms, the online portals have started incorporating processes to verify the listings and avoid any kind incorrect listing on their portal. The Real Estate consultants are trying to hold the pulse of the industry and are launching user-friendly websites and mobile applications to ensure a strong web presence.  

Moreover the age bracket of people buying or investing in property has drastically gone down and a lot of young people who are tech savvy prefer to go online before anything that they purchase, be it a phone or the most expensive investment of their lifetime i.e. their home. They look for listings through mobile apps and websites for searching the house they want and then consult a Real Estate professional who could show them the properties they have shortlisted. With Internet having so much influence on the final buying decision of today’s consumer, most of the retailers like Snapdeal, Amazon, Flipkart etc are working heavily on their app based shopping platforms as they are getting majority of traffic from the mobiles. Moreover, a lot of “angel investors” have been investing in these start –ups to capitalize on this booming market.     

Online presence also enables the delivery of more consistent and effective customer services. Through the availability of information online, not only will the end-user have a faster access and retrieval of the information but the customers can also look up to availability of timely, accurate and transparent information; especially in the cases that involves compliance and regulatory information. Our sector demands transparency in processes and the information that is shared with the buyers and we feel that having all the information online will introduce structure and transparency to our sector. The shift from the paper records to digital records management and maintenance is capable of providing more authentic and reliable information.

Today’s consumer goes online for the maximum portion of information that they are looking for to support their buying decision. They love to watch the videos, virtual home tours and read reviews about specific brands and their offerings and then consult a Real Estate professional to bridge this gap between their Internet research and actual home visit. There was a time when there was no Internet and the Brokers and the Real Estate agents only had the control over all the information related to buying and selling of the properties. Internet has led to reinvention of the role of a Broker Owner/ Agent and they now have to add more value to what a buyer has already seen online. Every passing day will add more and more information and facilities online, but at the same time every buyer would need a professional Real Estate Consultant to guide that buyer in making the best use of one of the costliest investment that he/ she is going to make.

Today’s customer need a Real Estate Consultant, who can provide a perfect blend of FIT (Fulfillment, Inventory and Technology) in their hunt to buy their dream homes with least hassles. With customers using their mobile phones to search the properties and other Real Estate information, the concept of property portals tying up with Real Estate Consultants to offer last mile services and a one-stop shop to all the customers is the need of the hour. The digital world has connected the property owners, property buyers and investors and companies are making huge financial investments in tools and technologies to support their associates with their online marketing efforts. We would like to conclude by the saying, “To affect the real world, you have to be in the real world” and with the kind of field experience that Real Estate Consultants have, every home buyer/seller will still prefer consulting them to finalize and purchase their dream home. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Future of Real Estate Franchising in India

Investing in any business requires the right mindset, planning and a risk taking appetite and when we think about how we had decided of getting RE/MAX in India, we go back to our thoughts of taking this high growth potential industry in India and clubbing it with a global, time tested franchise opportunity. Indian Realty Brokerage is a $6 billion market and we had introduced RE/MAX into India with the aim of professionalizing this industry in order to not only provide better services to the customer but also ensure that we work towards upgrading the status that a “Real Estate Broker” has in the society.  

We all have at some point of our lives come across with a property dealer, whether to buy a property, rent it, or sell it off for ourselves. Most of us perceive the broker to be an unprofessional part-timer opportunist who would either inflate property prices / rentals or make money from the buyer by selling it at a premium or hide vital details about the property which the buyer would come to know only after moving in. But at the same time, real estate brokerage is a highly lucrative business. A good transaction gives you king size commission and that is the reason why everyone wants to add Real Estate as one of their investment portfolios. There is a tremendous business opportunity in the field of Real Estate and with India now becoming a hub of franchisees, a lot of old and established players are expanding their footprints , looking for like –minded people who want to take their business to the next league. With RE/MAX, our vision was to bring in the same level of professionalism in the Indian Real Estate Brokerage industry that exists in the developed countries.
Real Estate Brokerage is evolving as a profession and it is no doubt transforming into a more organized and structured industry, presenting huge opportunities for educated professionals with entrepreneurial aspirations. This thought brings us to the topic that “How Real Estate Franchising works towards growing your business”. Let us just take a look on some key factors relating to the current Real Estate scenario and how as RE/MAX we have tried to make a difference:

Need for a Consulting Professional: With the growing number of people involved in Real Estate and the changing profile of the Real Estate clientele in our country, there is a need for this industry to work better. The customers want to deal with a professional Real Estate Consultant who is presentable and offers quality services along with counseling to help them make the best decision on their investment. The customers want to deal with a trained resource and want to be sure about the credentials of his/her Broker/Agent. In such an environment, RE/MAX helps our Associates to add that assurance that the customer is dealing with a well reputed organization that offers great customer service and experience. The brand definitely plays a very vital role in reassuring the trust in the hearts and minds of the customers.

Revolving Door Philosophy and Unsatisfactory Commission Sharing: In most of the cases, a Real Estate agent is an employee of an organization who gets a fixed salary and a commission of around 10% – 20% on every transaction. In such cases, what happens at the end is that in search of better opportunities and attractive incentives, there is a constant job hopping especially by the educated and qualified professionals who get better pay packages in the next organization they start working for. This leads to the lack of trust in the customers mind about the reliability of the Agent. RE/MAX on the other hands promotes “Entrepreneurship”; wherein the Agent works for himself but not by himself. With RE/MAX, an agent has an opportunity to gain a maximum percentage of the commission. This not only motivates him/her to service the customer to the best of their abilities but also gives an opportunity to earn more worth for his investments in terms of time and effort made into completing the transaction.

Emergence of one-stop-shops: The present day customer looks for an access to maximum number of properties under the same roof as it makes the process more efficient, manageable and more over saves a lot of time that gets wasted in going from broker to broker to find the right property. With the varied profiles of the entrepreneurs associated with RE/MAX, a RE/MAX Broker Office acts as a one-stop-shop for all kinds of leads related to buy/sell/rent/lease along with additional services under the same roof. To offer more convenience to the customers, the Associate can always connect him/her to the fellow Associates in the network to meet the requirements thus making it a win-win proposition for both parties.

Cut throat competition: With a low entry barrier that Real Estate has, we find anyone and everyone doing Real Estate directly or indirectly. Just to gain more business, many agents end up giving discounts to their customers and these discounts impact on the post sales services offered by these Agents. On the same hand, at RE/MAX we train our Associates on getting and promoting “Exclusive Listing and Mandates”. An exclusive mandate not only safeguards the associates time and interest in the listing but also helps in getting the best possible price in least possible time through dedicated advertising and marketing of the listing. Exclusive Mandates have worked beautifully for our Associates as well as customers. The customer does not have to go to any other Broker during that time frame and the Associate dedicates all his resources towards that particular listing.    

Network as Networth: In Real Estate, a good network lets you attract more leads, generate referrals and thus generate more business. The conventional way of doing business within a confined territory has moved to doing of business not only nationally but globally. RE/MAX with a presence in 95 + countries with more than 7,000 offices globally and a network of 100 plus offices in 30+ cities in India, helps our Associates to take advantage of this extensive network. The global referral network of RE/MAX has build networking tools that connects the brokers and the agents all over the world.

Technology innovating the Real Estate Business:  Technology has completely changed the way we operate and has helped us in making our lives easier. Features like an interactive website, mobile apps, search engine optimization, google adwords, social media, tie-ups with property portals etc are some testimonies of the significance of the technology in Real Estate. RE/MAX offers a myriad of services when it comes to technology which has changed the way our Associates operate. With facilities like Contact Database Management Systems, RESAAS, online buyer referral matches, Design Center etc our Associates give their customers an added advantage of giving them options to buy and sell globally. Moreover the Broker Office set up is such that the Associates get every kind of administrative and back end support when it comes to technology so that they utilize their time and resources in doing productive work of closing transactions.  

Real Estate is shifting towards the paradigm of getting more regulated, organized and professional and so have the business practices evolved to match up to this growth. A lot of International consultancies and brokerage firms are paving their way to the Indian realty market and the investors today trust and rely on Real Estate Consultants like RE/MAX when it comes fair dealing, commitment and multiple services under one roof. The new age brokers have begun their journey from being Brokers to Real Estate Consultants and this is what we have been preaching since the time we came to India. We have always been working on building a healthier and cleaner perception of the broker community and in a short time span of 6 years, RE/MAX with its network has been able to build up an image of Honesty, Integrity and Trust as the core value of its Associates.  

To organize the Brokerage sector, we realized that one would need a team of professional Real Estate agents who would like to do business at a bigger scale not only locally and nationally, but internationally as well. With this there arose a need of having an established and organized player in the Indian market that can act as a differentiator by adding more value and services to cater to the rapidly evolving needs of the customer.  Building of such a business requires heavy investment, a team of experts and a wide spread network to reach out to maximum number of people. This was when we realized that getting a franchise like RE/MAX into the Indian market would be helpful in taking Indian Real Estate to a level in which it operates in developed countries. With our franchise opportunities, we aim at providing a local, regional, national and global network, world-class training, advanced technology platform, power of collective marketing and a host of support services that help our franchise owners and business associates in taking their Real Estate business to a next level!   

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Depreciating rupee and appreciating NRI Real Estate Market in India

As a matter of fact, when the rupee depreciates, the Indian Real Estate sector becomes more affordable as well as profitable for NRI investors. The Indian realty market has always been a lucrative option for investment.  Ideally the depreciation of rupee should have a positive impact as it gives a direct financial benefit to the NRI’s as their affordability increases because of dollar appreciation.
Indian Real Estate is one of the fastest growing sectors which give good return on your investment. For anyone who invests in dollars, the cost of buying that property comes down to nearly 20 – 25%. It has undoubtedly increased the purchasing power of the NRI’s and the kind of profits they earn and the capital appreciation that they see becomes comparatively very high. In addition to it, the developers are also taking keen interest in capturing this NRI interest. With announcing of a lot of schemes like discounts on down payment, attractive payment plans etc; a lot has already been happening to attract NRI investments to the Indian market. Conducting of property shows and events in some parts of the world where people of Indian origin are based further adds to the opportunities available for their investment. 
In our recommendation, it is always good for NRI’s to make use of such opportunities if they are looking for a long term return on their investments. If you go through the reports of some Real Estate players, the markets of both Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities are already witnessing an increased level of interest by NRI buyers. It has been seen that the luxury Real Estate has always been of major attraction to the NRI’s but the markets like Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Pune, Punjab, Calcutta, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Chennai, Coimbatore, Trivandrum, Cochin, Trichur, Calicut, Bangalore, Mysore etc are seeing rising NRI interest in both residential as well as commercial Real Estate. We should be hopeful of seeing some good transactions taking in the coming months. Keeping in mind all the factors, anyone who wants to avail this opportunity will have to make quick decisions as the property market of India and the rupee keeps fluctuating. So if the NRI’s want to invest back in their homeland, this is the time to make that lifetime investment.  Moreover the investment procedure in real estate has been greatly simplified for the NRIs making it all the more attractive to them. Adding to the list of advantages, the NRIs can also avail great tax benefits by investing in real estate in India as most of the countries have a double-taxation avoidance agreement with India.
So though this decline in the value of the rupee is being successful in fetching the NRI interest in the Indian market, but it is also time for the developers to do much more than just increasing the inventory in the market. The market is full of negative sentiments due to the delays in the delivery of the projects faced by most of the customers. The NRI’s are taking maximum advantage of the current scenario and are expecting maximum benefits from the same. To keep up to their expectations and also to boost the future investments, the realtors need to focus more on the delivery part of the project. The untimely delivery may act as a hurdle for the current as well as future investments. The attractive propositions available in the market along with the stable property prices make a perfect blend for NRI investors to invest at such times. My suggestion is to make optimum usage of such opportunities to bring back funds to the sector. It will also have a direct impact on the domestic enquiries and will give the much needed psychological relief to the market sentiments.

At this point of time, buying of the properties from an investment point of view becomes one good option for the ones who look for long term returns. To all the NRI’s, it comes as one of the most preferred investment as it also comes as an additional income to them in addition to being a safe long term investment. Indian realty market has a variety of options that suit their preferences and their budget as well. However the current market sentiments are pretty low, so they might act as a hurdle in making the final purchasing decision.  It is the time when the realty players need to take the right actions to make it a profitable proposition to both the parties.