Gone are the days when you had to trek between several apartments and sites to shortlist your desired property. A yesteryear real estate broker would typically provide a laundry list of property options to the client. Then came the tedious and often time-consuming process of descriptions, clarifications, negotiations and real-life visits to the shortlisted property. This entire cycle was taxing to both the buyer and seller. Today’s uber chic and net savvy homebuyers want to sit in the air-conditioned comfort of their homes and engage in online property hunting. A 2016 report from National Association of Realtors (NAR) states that searches for real estate properties had grown 253% in the previous 4 years. With just a few clicks, one can now view and filter preferred properties as per – budget preference, location setting, listed pros and cons, reviews and ratings, 3D virtual experiences, and value-added services. The online real estate property portals have revolutionized the realty sector by evolving into –
- E-Commerce for home buying and selling – Changing consumer behaviour has resulted in a marked shift in the realty sector making it increasingly digital in nature. Property portals no longer just provide a virtual platform for property listings; they allow consumers to complete a sale or rental. This model has led to faster conversions and increased sales.
- Demand – Supply Aggregators – There are Multiple Listing Services (MLS) portals which also serve as aggregators of the demand and supply channels that exist in the Indian real estate market by displaying listings of all popular property websites, prices, and available deals. A quick view and comparative analysis of the realty provision by different service providers is what all buyers and sellers demand as a first step.
- Digitally savvy service providers – Property portals are now capable of collecting, mining, and providing quality and smart property information. This data helps analyse buyer and seller market trends and behaviour. Proactively anticipating and addressing customer demands through digitized solutions has helped create an intelligent and constantly evolving realty ecosystem.
Here are 5 differentiators that have helped real estate property portals blow the traditional real estate approach and competition out of the water:
Enhanced Market Reach
With the growing Internet penetration in the country, the online property segment is growing by leaps and bounds. The depth and breadth of the online content and the plethora of services available on property portals empowers them to reach, resonate with, and sell properties to a much wider audience – both national and international. Statistics estimate that a staggering 70% of the houses under property aggregators belong to NRIs.
No Brokerage Charges
During the early real estate boom – property brokers were at the helm of things and flourished with the upsurge in consumer demand. Brokers normally tend to charge sales and rental commission of 1-2 per cent, from both buyers and sellers. The gradual shift in consumer preference for real estate portals has eliminated broking fees to a large extent. Consumers prefer paying a one-time nominal fee for property portal access than paying rental charges up to a month or hefty sales commissions to brokers.
Nifty realty value adds
Portals are no longer merely interested in pushing property sales. They are focusing on the consumer experience and competing to ensure that they are spoilt for choice. Several realty start-ups have strategic tie ups that provide value added services like insurances, home loans, group buying discounts, e-auctions on foreclosed properties, legal advice, property valuations, home décor tips, and movers and packers assistance – to name a few. Property portals are clearly stepping up their game, and evolving to meet the newer and ever-changing consumer needs.
Enhanced user experience
Real estate portals are now investing in digital tools and products that enhance the user experience. Virtual reality (VR) is now a game changer and rapidly transforming the way that the real estate industry functions. VR allows buyers to visit a property they are interested in virtually, without leaving the comforts of their home. Consumers no longer want to settle for static property images – 3D walkthroughs are all the rage.
More and more property buyers are using their smartphones to access the Internet. Property portals are catering to this consumer trend by creating mobile friendly property portals and apps. The more convenient you make it for the end user, the more the chances are of ensuring a sale.
The enhanced features of online real estate portals and the value-added services augment the user experience. We are perfectly poised to embrace and benefit from a new digital era of Indian realty.