The real estate has been our part of life since time immortal as it forms one of the basic needs of humans. The need has remained the same but the attributes of necessity have changed drastically. It is the fact that you deal in real estate at least 2 to 3 times in your lifetime; for some more than that. You may change your place of work, residence and other but you need to deal with a real estate service provider every time; be it broker, liaison agent, lawyer, architect and others.
In this article I am dealing only with residential realtors but may apply to all types of real estate.
The first step of any real estate residential deal is finding the right place of your choice and the person responsible or assisting you would be a residential broker. The role of this person has been indisputable, though the services were a question mark many times. It has been changing slowly and steadily for good.
In India, more than 60% of property deals happen through realtors. So he /she is major contributor to this sector and hence to the country’s economy.
Realtors do not get their dues and respect which they deserve vis-à-vis their western world counterparts; but it is also true that realtors themselves are responsible for this state of affairs to a large extent. It is the lack of understanding of professionalism & customer focused approach which has led to this stage. But now it is changing exponentially.
Real estate is not a defined field like finance, law or others but vast subject integrated with other fields. It has got its share of ambiguity but because of this nature it also has got lot of potential to grow which brings the real estate broker’s entrepreneurial aspect to the front.
Broker Image then
The real estate broker then was a person who had no concrete job and earned some side income through real estate deal. Anybody in the society who referred or just guided you to a property claimed to be a property broker though his understanding in real estate was equal to nil.
If you see the chronology of the broker (any type), it started with being a trader in East India Company times during and after the demise of kings & rulers in India. The traders became strong and economy gained importance in ruling of the country with the help of politicians. You still find politician – corporate nexus influencing the economy of the country to some extent. Real estate was also a vehicle to hide black money and hence antisocial elements grew to uncontrolled levels. So many brokers who dealt were considered ‘bad-hand’ of these criminals and crony capitalists.
So overall the broker’s image was that of ‘easy to earn money wala and jugadu’ person. But this has been a past story.
Changing real estate sector
But real estate has been changing since the last 20 – 25 years steadily. It has seen rapid growth in quality and services since the last 10 years though not percolated enough to the remote location of our country.
You find deals happening with transparency due to customers’ (read individuals and corporate) demand. The government has reduced ambiguity by making all the registration process transparent in public domain. You may find data easily available on internet. Lots of real estate analytical firms like CRE Matrix, Propstack, Liasesforas, PropEquity and others are making real estate deals and data available in real time. So the customers, developers, realtors and other concerned associates are well informed with no ambiguity left. With introduction of RERA (Real Estate Regulation and Development Act), the real estate sector has become a solid business game with minimum elements of surprise as seen earlier and reduced the turmoil and pain of any home buyer. The entry of REITs (small ticket size investing in commercial real estate) is the step to make it an investor friendly sector.
Property service providers
Personally I see these property service providers in three categories viz; property agents, property brokers and property consultants. All of these are present in the sector in varying numbers.
Property Agents are those who refer known or unknown prospects to known or unknown seller / realtors. His only job is referral and he need not be aware of real estate deal details as such. These usually are small time earners or seeking side income because of their contacts or positions. They may vary from lowly paid watchmen to professional chartered accountants.
Property Brokers are those who actually get both parties (buyer & seller) eventually to a deal closure. They may be professional or non-professional and have acquired expertise through experience or ancestral legacy in the field. They comprise the largest part of real estate dealers in India. They do see potential in real estate and like to send their descendants for formal professional training.
Property Consultants are either in individual or company structure with all professional attributes in place. You may find these professional undergoing training or are from professional backgrounds and they understand real estate in true spirit. Their aim is to provide professional services to property buyers and investors. They do have required expertise and panel of real estate relevant professionals like lawyers, valuers, liaison agent, architects and others in their panel. They have end to end solutions to residential requirements of prospects / investors be it in resale or new projects.
You would see consumers looking for the services of consultants today. If the realtor is professional he may score highly on their radar.
Changing role of residential broker
Any change in the field occurs because of its demand in services / products. So real estate has seen this demand of higher quality homes with latest amenities and professional but trustful services.
You may find lot of professional management, financial and other students seeking to join property consultancy firms. Though real estate has not acquired the status of infrastructure (except affordable) the entrants are getting professionals and taking it to even higher level. With prop-tech being a major influencer the image and role of a realtor has changed in leaps and bounds in terms of digital penetration. You get to see the homes virtually before even visiting the site / property. Your work is managed with CRM / ERP software so the possibility of ‘on-time’ services is high with very low goof-ups. So today digitally well-equipped broker is a soothing sight for digital clients.
Understanding demographic profile with their behaviour and lifestyle pattern respective to its location specifications, plays an important role in attracting and serving them.
Realtors are being real estate companion; team member for the buyer / seller and not just dealers looking for their own profits.
The entire dynamics of services especially to residential requirements is changing.
The role of a realtor has changed drastically from an age old ‘dalal’ to ‘property consultant’.
I won’t be surprised that the property consultant would be the ‘face of real estate sector’ in coming years.
Blog Credits –
- Past experience as Property consultant for corporates, NRIs, HNIs, professionals and others since 2007
- Author of a e-book “Journey of a Broker – Indian real estate stories” on Amazon.in
- Founder of LeJagah.com (Property information & guidance portal)
- As Freelancer Market Intelligence and Analyst with property consultants and Accommodation Times
- Speaker, trainer and consultant for ‘Marketing & Sales’ of new projects & various real estate topics / services.
- Visiting faculty to REMI (Real Estate Management Institute)
- Real Estate Coach to new entrants and experienced realtors