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Buying homes using tech is picking up

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-04-2017 Ashwini Kumar Sharma

Real estate (regulation and development) Act, 2016 will come into play from 1 May 2017. This is expected to boost buyer confidence and give a fillip to property portals. Ganesh Vasudevan, chief executive officer, Indiaproperty.com, elaborates.

What is the percentage of online real estate sales versus overall volume?

Even though property search is widely done online, for transactions buyers still prefer the offline medium. In the past 2-3 years many prominent developers have successfully booked homes online but it is still at a nascent stage. The proportion of online real estate sales is negligible compared to offline sales.

Online buying is picking up but at a slow pace. Most developers and online portals are investing in virtual reality technologies and enhancing the experiences that can be built through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Will online real estate sales improve after a regulator comes into force?

Lack of transparency in the realty sector and high transaction amounts are the prime reasons why property transactions are not favoured online. Once a regulator is in place, some of these limitations would be eliminated and the realty market is expected to become more favourable for end users. One can expect a more regulated, transparent, less cash dominated and stable realty market in India favouring online property sales.

How are online portals trying to boost sales?

Technology is transforming the way people search for properties.

Buyers can now get all the possible information about the property online. There are many online tools available such as online virtual tours, augmented reality search, virtual reality experiences linked to print media, smart terminals based experience centres and others. These have minimized or eliminated the friction in the offline leg of the buyer’s purchase journey, bringing in efficiency and transparency in the system.

With the help of such advanced tools, many developers and online property portals are using unconventional approaches to give buyers an experience of a real home even before the house is built. Above all, it is possible to experience this sitting in the comfort of your homes.

What all should a home buyer keep in mind before buying a property online?

A home buyer should:

a) Check the exact location of the property using Google maps and street view;

b) Calculate the total cost of the property and not just book a property online based on the per sq. ft rate because all properties have additional charges, which can increase the property price by 20-30%;

c) Get a legal check done for the property from an authorized third party;

d) Buying a pre-launch project online has higher risk associated with it. Physical purchase is better;

e) To invest in a low-risk project, go for those that are pre-approved by banks;

f) After booking a property online, make sure the builder has contacted you and signed documents confirming the purchase.

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