BANGALORE: When Sameer Rana was looking for a dream property last month, he was spoilt for options in the real estate market. Yet, the 44-year-old investment banker was not sure whether he had all the information to spend Rs 2 crore on an apartment.
"Is the area safe? Are the nearby schools good? Will the builder give possession of the house on time? All such questions plundered my mind and I did not have the time to go through every property myself to decide," Rana said, adding, "Brokers could not be trusted."
But now online start-ups, including Housing-.com, PropTiger, and CommonFloor, are setting up their own teams, data science labs and open forums to provide such information. "Technology and analytics will be the biggest differentiator and game-changer in the online real estate industry in the future," said Rahul Chowdhri, partner at Helion Venture Partners and an investor in real estate portal Housing.com.
Softbank and Accel-backed PropTiger have collaborated with social enterprise SafetyPin to provide information regarding safety quotient of new projects in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). "The parameters used to come up with this score include presence of street lights, visibility of vehicles, crowd at important times and access to modes of public transport, among others," said Prashan Agarwal, co-founder of PropTiger, which is set to expand to other cities soon.
Its larger rival Housing.com was the first online real estate company in the country to launch its in-house data science lab in 2012. The portal focuses on lifestyle rating, locality scores, connectivity scores, child friendliness index and price heat maps across categories, including rentals, resale, paying guest accommodation and new projects across 40 cities.
"Our algorithm takes into account the most basic needs and sought-after luxuries, and weighs them according to their importance. We use around 50 parameters to get this data," said Advitya Sharma, co-founder of Housing.com.