[Editorial Notes : Can Housing.com disrupt brokers? Here is a broker’s take on Housing’s model. As a platform, we belive that it is important for new new startups to engage with existing food chain for a meaningful dialogue.]
I am really not sure where to begin with when it comes to Housing.com. It originally began with an innovative design (at least where the Indian Market is concerned) for a web portal based on real estate. The concept was simple – list your properties to prospective buyers and renters in a brilliantly designed website. They made the website attractive and easy to work with.
The user interface was attractive, easy to load and came with map search. The property pictures were clicked professionally by their designated staff. This ensured that what you see is what you get. Each listing was verified by their employee.
I heard about how brilliant it was from my own clients especially the young ones. The students and the bachelors who were savvy with their purchase. To attract this crowd, I spent a reasonable amount of money on Housing.com on advertisement. It was the IT thing. The results on advertising not so good. There were way too many bargain hunters looking for something that simply did not exist in the market. They allowed listing directly by owners, which is OK.
However, the owners also gave properties to real estate agents and brokers. These same brokers have paid top dollars to advertise on the same platform as the owners. The policy that Housing.com has apparently is advertise the owners property and keep the brokers in the back end. So the same property is not listed.
Collect money for advertising from the real estate consultants, agents, brokers but display the owner’s listing directly. Now that’s a shady picture.
OK so let’s leave that point aside, and move on to the other point of contention. It is a well known fact in Mumbai’s real estate industry that owners are not loyal to one real estate broker. They prefer to work with several brokers. For some apparent reason, owners believe the Myth that their property will get sold or leased quicker that way. Anyways, lovely Housing.com has a first come first serve basis.
The first person to list their property is the ONLY one who can share the benefit. So the others who have paid subscription fees get diddly squat. No rotational listings, no multiple listings, just ONE. OK acceptable to me but then am I supposed to put only 3-4 properties where the owner has some sort of exclusivity clause with me. Good luck trying to get that in this market.
OK, now let’s leave the disloyalty of owners aside. I accept that this is the world we live in! There was great hullabaloo about how the photographers of Housing.com were trading property information among other brokers for few hundred bucks, a cup of tea or maybe just for tier friends and buddies.
Real estate brokers who trusted the photographers with their information and took them to the apartments and properties. These photographers then started trading this information to other brokers for short change. Apparently this happened in Powai. Now this is just down right ugly. The story is not far fetched. It is quite possibly happened.
OK! By now I have ignored the fact that I pay subscription fees for my property listings to not be listed. I have ignored the fact that I am competing with the actual property owners to lease or sell the property. I have ignored the fact that I am competing with other brokers for getting my listing before anyone else gets it. I also ignore the fact that their photographers are cheats and steal my property data to other scrupulous brokers.
But now I am dealing with a whole new set of EVIL from Housing.com. This one is a brilliant scheme. Buy your Flat directly from Housing.com. Yes folks – You can buy your Tata Home in Pune, Bangalore and Chennai directly on Housing.com. Check it out for yourself – https://housing.com/tatavaluehomes. So now they are real estate brokers themselves. I think I should just shoot myself in the head.
Now I have a whole new level of IT professionals and IIM graduates who want to become real estate brokers.
Here you have it folks – my one year subscription is not even over yet and Housing.com has found innumerable number of ways to cheat me of my subscription. I think I have learnt my lesson. They are bagging money from one investor to another. Getting fresh financing from every venture capital possible. I wonder how this internal scam works for them. Take more money from the latest one and return to the earlier one with additional bonus. This reminds me of Charles Ponzi.
And at that note I will leave you to make your own decision if you would like to put money in their lovely website which reminds me more and more of a lovely blonde girl friend who wants to be friends with you only till you have money to spend on her! The Rest is All …
[Guest article by RK Realtors]