With World Broker’s Day commemorated earlier this week, two association heads share views with Vijay Pandya on how their significance and role have evolved over the years
President, Association of Real Estate Agents
Traditionally the role of a broker or as the modern day avatar known as realtor, was more of an exercise of showing properties and making buyer and sellers meet. But the modern day broker is evolving and keeping in tune with the times. The role is evolving from that of just finger pointing to being a true consultant in every sense.They need to have all round knowledge of not just real estate but all peripheral areas like housing finance, property laws, insurances related to real estate, property management, etc.
Brokers represent the buyer and seller and ensure that both their interests are protected at all times and the entire process of the deal is not only transparent but also hassle-free. Today, brokers also have to effectively network with brokers in other locations so as to represent their clients in areas outside their jurisdiction.
Even in this era of direct marketing by builders, realtors hold a very important role in ensuring that your ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ dream home acquisition doesn’t run into rough weather. Again here, how smooth is the process, depends on what your realtor does for you. Is he ready to walk that extra mile to make your transition smooth, hassle free and memorable in more ways than one? That depends on choosing your realtor wisely.
Buyer/ seller checklist
1 Is the realtor full time in the business? Part timers in brokerage are not serious about their work and can’t represent the clients faithfully and do justice to their deals.
2 What are his or her qualifications? A well-educated and qualified realtor will certainly be more professional than his or her counterparts.
3 Do they operate from an office? That way, he or she will be accessible when you need them. Also look for people who have assistants and fully equipped offices so you can be attended to when they are not around. Usually avoid brokers who are one-man shows and don’t have time for all the clients.
4 Do they have adequate knowledge? All around knowledge of current market scenes, rates, developments, latest in legalities, etc.
5 Is the reputation established? Get references from past clients, ask about the broker’s service levels, scope of services, etc.
6 What about networking capabilities? He or she needs to be in touch with a variety of lawyers, builders, architects and other real estate stakeholders.
7 Is he or she the member of an association? This shows him or her as a part of the organised fraternity.
Typically, home buying or selling is the single most important and expensive decision in the Indian middle class life, so it makes sense to get an expert to guide you through the process. The realtor’s experience will guide you through the complex maze of buying or selling a property and also advise you on the reputation of various builders and projects, current market scenario of realty, and the various pitfalls, so the client can stay away from problems. The realtor can be a one-point contact for all the components that go in a deal, like a single-stop boutique in realty shopping.
Real estate transactions have become more complex in recent times due to constant amendments in property laws, taxation and introduction of newer levies like service tax and VAT, etc. Add to this is the digital chaos with numerous portals offering endless property listings coupled with direct marketing blitz by developers. The home buyer is a busy professional who doesn’t have time to cut this clutter and there is a need of a professional realtor who can be his friend, philosopher and guide who will help him navigate the complex maze of the transaction. So now the role of a broker is more than a mere sales person. he is a transaction enabler.
Brokers have evolved and are now all rounders with working knowledge of law, taxation and are in a position to advise clients. They also help in understanding the ground reality for customers’ requirements and advise them on the best options with respect to not only properties but also select the best financing options.
Since brokers work closely with clients, they understand the changing preferences of the client and help developers create the right product mix coupled with customer-friendly finance schemes so as to make it a win-win for all concerned.
Broking is a very unorganised business with no entry barriers. There is no standardisation of the services being offered. The trade gets a bad name due to the fly by night operators and this invariably hurts the image of the professional brokers as well. With RERA in place, this business will be regulated and lead to elimination of so called part timers from the business and also gain credibility. Training can help brokers be better sales people and work effeciently
Most brokers have a flat hierarchy. Businesses are run the family way with a monopolistic style as there is a lot of attrition and employees turn entrepreneur with only 6-12 months on the job. But many professional broking companies have reinvented this business and have SOP’s in place with proper hierarchies defined and business is run in a corporate manner.
CRM and inventory management systems have now been integrated by professional brokers and websites are their showcase to the world with client getting to see pictures, walk-throughs and videos even before they come to the site. The professional realtor is able to manage his prospect pipeline better now and ensures a seamless experience for his customer by using the tech on his phone and stays connected to his back end office as well. Technology is a big tool for them.
In India, home buying will always be an emotional decision and the broker can never be replaced by the Internet. Online portals offer plethora of choices, but only a expert broker can help the client close the right deal with no hassles.