Realtors Need to Embrace Technology To Stay Relevant: Dhruv Agarwala

The Group CEO of Elara Technologies-which owns Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com-believes new digital trends will emerge in the proptech segment due to COVID

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Real estate is a resilient industry and has bounced back after recessions. Besides, real estate generates the highest number of employment. In 2020, overall new dynamics are being witnessed due to COVID-19 outbreak, and the proptech sector is on the verge of change.

Be it in terms of trends, mechanism of buying and selling activities in the commercial real estate sector or from the retail point of view, many aspects are likely to undergo change, according to Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO of Elara Technologies which owns Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com.

Speaking at a webinar organized by Entrepreneur India, he said buying of bigger homes over investing on rented homes will be the paradigm shift in the real estate sector due to more people now opting for remote working.

Talking about opportunities which have emerged in the real estate sector due to COVID-19 from the perspective of technology and the adoption of digitization, Agarwala said a recent consumer survey conducted by Housing.com showed that the real estate has emerged as the preferred asset class for investors. Terming the stock market as highly volatile post COVID, Agarwala asserted that it is one of the positive changes noticed due to this pandemic.

He also highlighted the impact of digitization by stating that just like other professionals trying to embrace work-from-home culture, realtors have also undergone the change. During the lockdown period, technology has been an integral element to offer opportunities to market real estate projects online. Agarwala also acknowledged that end-to-end processes are being instituted to encourage people to buy online. From online research, webinars, drone shoots of the site, answering queries of consumers and 3D walk-throughs to initiation of online payment are some of the real-time changes which are taking place.

According to him, most of the business processes are happening in bits and pieces online. He believes that most of the people might want to visit the site personally before investing on a property as it is a very crucial decision. On the basis of daily activities in the real estate sector, Agarwala thinks online transactions and quick decision making are the major transformations to look forward to in the current COVID scenario.

Addressing the issue of improving the experience of customers who might have several queries related to the property, Agarwala said that digital medium to conduct a search about various factors such as basic amenities around the site and other detailed information is unmatched. He added that even though visiting the place and checking its worthiness are a part of emotional decision making, but, most of the information pertaining to price trends, infrastructure in the neighbourhood are easily accessible online. Agarwala added that over 70 per cent of transactions are initiated online even though confirmations are done offline.

In terms of ascertaining the quality of construction for customers who are buying property online, Agarwala quipped that a strong career record of a builder and achievements are beneficial in imparting facts about the construction quality.

He believes digitization has brought new changes which are indeed empowering the real estate sector by and large.

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