Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Booming Online Real Estate Sector

It is very interesting to see these new trends taking up the traditional methods of doing Real Estate. It is a fact that 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 has been successful in shifting their role from the keeper of the listing to a guide and a negotiator for their client.

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.

Moreover the age bracket of people buying or investing in property has drastically gone down and a lot of young people who are technically 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. We feel that as a Real Estate Consultants, we should be able to provide a perfect blend of FIT (Fulfillment, Inventory and Technology) to the consumers in their hunt to buy their dream homes with least hassles. There is a need of providing a platform that provides the inventory along with the technological expertise. A perfect scenario would be if the property portals tie-up with Real Estate Consultants to offer last mile services and a one-stop shop to all the customers for their Real Estate needs. With the digital world connecting the property owners, property buyers and Consultants, online Real Estate is an ideal platform for information dissemination. Internet has added more options for the end user to do the preliminary research for the home buying process, but ultimately majority of home buyers still prefer consulting a Real Estate professional to finalize and purchase their dream home. 

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