Getting real about selling property online
Indians who invest their life savings in property are likely to think twice before making purchases over the Net
The Internet has indeed become a part of human l i f e for good, and the process is far from over. At this point in time, is impossible to anticipate the ways in which it will make our lives even more interesting, fruitful and productive.
One of the most important domains that the Internet has impacted is the business world. Internet marketing has become by far the most effective channel to drive consumption, challenging every other known route of grabbing the attention of buyers. Obviously, the real estate sector could not lag far behind in the race to harness the power of the Internet.
However, despite its ipowers, t he I nter net has not become the magic pill for real estate developers and marketers.
How the Internet works in real estate marketing
There is no doubt that the Internet is immensely helpful in generating business, and real estate is no exception. Some of the most important advantages it offers are: It provides access to a massive potential clientele
It is by far the most costeffective real estate marketing tool
It allows developers and brokers to communicate faster and more efficiently with prospective buyers. A lot of the information pertinent to a project can be posted online, and inquiries originating from the builder’s website or via online listings can be immediately attended to via email and online chats,
More recently, developers have actually begun to sell homes online. With the help of threedimensional imagery and virtual tours, they are attempting to interest buyers and persuade them to purchase homes online. By doing so, they are labouring under the assumption that real estate buyers will respond to the same impulse triggers that persuade them to buy consumer durables online.
Wh e r e the virtual approach falls short
On the surface, this approach to selling and buying real estate seems novel and even logical. What works against it is the manner in which the real estate market actually functions in India.
A house is a brick- andmortar structure that sells at a very high cost. In fact, a home is by far the most costintensive investment that most Indians will ever make in their lifetimes. As such, a property purchase commitment is not one they will make with the same confidence and detachment with which they would buy a smaller commodity online. Secondly, buying a home is all about forming a personal bond with the chosen property. The home- buying process invariably involves personal i nspection of a number of options at close
quarters. Each option is examined from various perspectives, including: Affordability Viability of the location Construction quality Legal sanctity of the project Appropriateness of the facilities and amenities available in the project Reputation and reliability of the developer Appreciation potential In making the final choice at the end of a prolonged selection process, the buyer effectively accords it the highest distinction among all other personally inspected options. A home buyer making such a decision based solely on virtual information is on par with that of an art connoisseur buying a Rembrandt in an online auction.
Thus, a virtual representation of a property as a means to sell it online fails on several counts:
It is impossible to understand the real value proposition
It is impossible to create an emotional bond between the buyer and the property It is impossible to bargain with the developer - and this is a privilege which every proper t y buyer, regardless of f inancial strength, expects