The real estate brokers are the cornerstone of the real estate industry in India. They are the front end of the business, the first point of contact for the customer. It is they who hold the pulse of the market. Their importance notwithstanding, the general perception of the real estate broker is one of mistrust. “He is the last guy you can trust,” used to be the common refrain. That was probably true in the 80’s. Times have changed and indeed for the better. Today, the real estate broker has undergone a transformation.
This transformation in the real estate brokerage scene in India has been driven by many factors. First, the opening up of the economy and influx of international companies into India has brought about a major demand turnaround in real estate services. That has in turn translated into demand for real estate brokerage services that have best practices benchmarked with the best in global standards.
Second, the growth of information technology has brought about a revolution in the way business is conducted. Internal business processes could be completely automated to
suit ease of working.
Third, the volumes of transactions and consumer preference and choice demanded that systems be developed so that the customer can search, view and select from the comfort of his home. Inputs for decision making had to be made more comprehensive and at the same time, simple.
Fourth, the relaxations and incentives for investments by the NRI's have to the emergence of a new demand where it was not practically possible for international clients to physically travel and see the properties before making the decision to purchase. This was where IT-enabled solutions came to their rescue. One additional factor has been that there were quite a few international property consultants who made inroads into the highly disorganized brokerage industry in the country and started providing high quality services, backed by mandates. This made the local broker look up and start to address the growing competition from corporate brokers.
All these factors have led to domestic brokers waking up to the need to get their act together, if they wanted to remain in business. They started out on a series of measures. Some were simple, such as sprucing up their offices. Websites started mushrooming. Listing properties on the internet became a common practice. They increasingly started resorting to e-marketing. Brokers started streamlining their internal processes.They have next paid attention to the softer side of the game. The attire and the technique of communication started changing. Brokers started attending classes and signed up for a range of courses from personality development to principles and practice of global real estate business. Increasingly, the brokerage industry has witnessed the entry of highly qualified professionals. From the image of the broker we encountered at the beginning of this article, the broker today may well be an engineer, MBA, advocate, retired personnel, chartered accountants among others. Well-educated women too, are choosing this as a career option. These factors are slowly, but surely transforming the real estate brokerage industry. The makeover is for real. The new-age broker has arrived. Most corporate clients can avail the services of international property consultants for whom clients are not really a problem as they came from international referrals. Individual customers, however, had no option but the local untrained broker to deal with. This demand for quality is now being filled by the new-age local brokers, who are home-grown, but equipped and skilled to provide the best in quality standards and customer satisfaction.
The new age broker is there for the discerning customer; he is there to hand-hold, guide, advise and take the customer through the entire process of making a property purchase decision in a transparent, thorough and clean manner. The customer does not really mind paying a fee for good quality service and assurance. The property transaction experience thus becomes an enjoyable one.