Over the past two decades, a lot of persona definitions have changed in the real estate market in India. The layman buyer has become more knowledgeable and more market aware. He has started to question the methods and opinions of his onetime friendly neighborhood broker. He’s now more curious about the developers, the neighborhood, the time to deliver and competitive options available. The buyer has started to weigh all these factors against the blind faith on the opinion of the real estate broker who has been advising his family for past couple of generations. However, even though he has these questions in his mind, he still lurks for the answers beneath. He requires the expertise from someone he can trust, someone whose advice aligns strongly to his undersupplied intellectual ability in this area. This is where the modern era broker a.k.a. a real estate consultant has found a market to breed.
Earlier the real estate broker was a mere mediator whose job was to act as the salesmen and make both the parties meet. The entire work was done by the buyer/ seller themselves. This was the time when the customer was not interested in the value additions of the services provided by the brokers. Over the last few years, the change in the customer profile has led to the change in the way business is dealt in real estate. The new world real estate consultant does not talk about properties. He instead focuses on trends and the markets as a whole. He is very well aware of where the world is moving. He is fully equipped with a lot of analytical tools and data to support his decision making. He also understands a buyer’s needs and then closely aligns them to the trends of the market and comes out with a perfect recommendation for the buyer. With such an approach, the real estate segment seems more science than just hunches which facilitate buyer trust building to a great extent.
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. Moreover, 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. All this has led to a complete makeover of the Broker’s image.
What seems to be the primary driver in shaping these drastic changes in this market are the role being played by big real estate associations, majorly the process driven approach that they devise, the expertise of the market that they share, awareness of the available tools and technology that they bring to the table. All these factors have led to blossoming of these associations in the market and have raised the bar for the primitive players and have challenged them to think beyond their A game as that is no more the best in the industry. The associations provide an incredible platform for realtors to talk, to learn and to be aware. They enrich the market with a lot of knowledge and analysis that helps the brokers to look at the big picture instead of simply thinking about getting a deal closed on a property.
With the world getting closer day by day due to the technological advancements, the impact is also visible on the real estate industry in India. Many forces have been playing their significant bit in revolutionizing this industry, be it Training, technology, real estate trends etc. Talking about Training, various real estate specialized courses are now available to Indian brokers to up skill themselves and professionally use these designations. A lot of professional colleges have started teaching real estate courses. Also associations like NAR India have collaborated with like minded people to impart education in this industry that was the need of the hour for this industry to grow and mature into a profession that stands on the firm pillars of Trust, Honesty and Integrity. This gives a Realtor a more qualified value and hence makes them different from the crowd. These are the Realtors who get noticed by a professional buyer who wants to deal with someone who works professionally with full honesty and candor. The client is automatically able to trust the Realtor and seek his advice for one of the toughest investment decision of his life. The world has become a common platform and the realtors have started working globally with the help of various business models and options available to trade internationally. In simple terms I believe that the local real estate business combined with global exposure which I call being Glocal (GLObal + loCAL) is the key to Success.
With bigger players entering the market every day, it has become extremely critical for all the players to come up with the best they can. Attractive offers, competitive pricing and innovative launch ideas have become the trend of the day. The definition of “best” for the buyer however, remains very clear – Can I trust this consultant? A miniscule percentage of buyers may get swayed by the lucrative offers, but the majority is still looking for that trusted advisor, who can help them put their money to good ends.
With all these dynamics building in the market, the Government could not have chosen a better time to pass the Real Estate bill. The bill goes completely in line with these changes i.e. pushing the real estate towards an ethical and organized marketplace. Also the role of brokers at the conceptualization stage while planning new projects along with developers and even deciding pricing and marketing strategies has evolved and played its importance in this image makeover as a consultant and not just a mediator. The developers are refraining from direct sales team as it's an added cost and are now relying on these professional brokers for their sales.
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. Earlier, the brokerage was a family run business where a son would join his father and learn the trade from him. So he learned the age old practices that were followed by earlier generations. But today, The broker has become a professional business where we see many professionals may well be an engineer, MBA, advocate, retired personnel, chartered accountants among others who are joining the pool of these organized lot of Realtors. 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.
Hence, The new age broker is there for the astute 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.