DELHI: If you want to buy property, where do you head first — a broker, a relative or the Internet? Most urban Indians research online first these days, which is why property portals are increasingly in demand. The portals have become a key tool for research on buying, selling and leasing residential or commercial properties in many parts of the country, and the amount of information on these sites is increasing.
AIM’S TO DIFFERENTIATE
Such is the uptake in the online space that real estate consultancies and portals are doing brisk business and, in turn, are trying to distinguish themselves either in terms of services or product offering.
For instance, Investors Clinic has launched a phone-based property helpline where customers can dial in from any part of India. A service provider who picks up the call takes care of all property-related queries.
At present, the size of the property portal market is around Rs 250 crore. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 50-100 per cent in the coming years, backed by increased focus on this medium of communication by buyers as well as developers and sellers.
Roofontop.com, another consumer-centric property portal, has a property estimator and auction feature. The Web site is integrated with Google Maps. The user not only gets to browse properties on the map, but can also see amenities in surrounding properties. The estimator helps buyers to evaluate the market value of a property instantly, while the auction feature can be used to sell at the best price.
Anil Kapilashrami, co- founder, Roofontop.com, calls it a marketplace connecting sellers and buyers, providing much-needed professional and transparent services in the real estate industry. Roofontop.com expects annual revenues of Rs 350 crore in five years.
Another portal, CommonFloor.com, is offering a ‘site visit’ facility — luxury cars such as Mercedes and BMWs will ferry customers to project sites.
The facility, available for select projects listed on the Web site, offers potential buyers a two-way free ride in an air-conditioned sedan or hatchback to the project site of their choice. The facility is currently available in Bangalore, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai. Sumit Jain, co-founder and CEO, CommonFloor.com, said: “Real estate is a location play and people do not buy a house until they have physically seen the project and location. Site visits are an extension to providing information online. Many customers go online and check out properties, but due to reasons, such as distance and lack of time, they end up buying/renting property through a dealer. This does not help the case of builders who pay for listings on real estate portals as the loop gets broken before they can even meet the potential buyers. The objective behind the ‘site visit’ is to close this loop.”
Another realty portal, Indiaproperty.com, run by Chennai-based India Property Online Pvt Ltd, has come up with a subscription-based service called Assisted Property Search. The search manager customises the search criteria according to the users’ requirements and enlists all matching properties.