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Rewriting Rules Of Real Estate With digitization Meaningful digitization in real estate will help drive convenience, relevance and credibility of the offering to the customers

By Sudhir Pai

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Digitization was introduced in the Indian real estate industry back in the 90s/ early 2000s with online classifieds for buy, sell, rent (BSR) needs. The scope expanded as online marketplaces boomed and trust in virtual transactions increased, slowly but steadily. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic induced changes, the real-estate industry also started reinventing itself with relevant and more sophisticated digital tools. Estimates suggest that by 2030, the Indian real estate sector will reach a $1 trillion market size... and this would be impossible without a complete digital transformation of the industry.

Today's reality is that digitization is changing the world and the way we operate, interact, work and consume. Meaningful digitization in real estate will help drive convenience, relevance and credibility of the offering to the customers.

Driving convenience for customers

Studies suggest that full-scale digitization can help the construction sector generate cost savings of 12-20 per cent annually but it also has the potential to save time and resources across the customer journey from search and discovery of relevant properties, to shortlisting, transacting and finally moving in.

Today, over 90 per cent homebuyers are already using the Internet to search for property, aided by AI and machine learning to personalize the search and show more accurate results based on their preference. Virtual walkthroughs, remote viewing and 3D modeling are also helping customers navigate through the challenges of social distancing and restricted movement.

Further, technology is easing the processes of shortlisting through conversational AI and AR/VR, virtual tours and experience zones. When a customer finalizes the property, digitization can automate the complex paperwork and legal processes making the experience more convenient.

Technology making relevant services accessible

Moving into a dream home is beyond just finalizing the property. Through the journey, there are many opportunities to assist customers: from providing access to best home loan rates to finding the right mover and packer service. Here, technology is a business-critical enabler for real estate portals to aggregate all related services into their platform. For example, Magicbricks expanded into a full-stack service provider for real-estate needs such as valuation services, pay rent, expert advice, price trends, among others, by advancing our BI models and data science capabilities.

Today, there are numerous online tools to compare and calculate mortgage rates which have changed the way customers discover and sign up for a home loan. Decor and furnishing services are becoming immersive with 3D walk-throughs that are maturing into 3D staging. Digitization is also making the processes more intuitive. For example, parties can leverage smart contract services which is an electronic procedure that executes transactions only when preset conditions embedded in a code are met.

Encouraging credible transactions

Since real estate decisions are high involvement and high intensity decisions, they demand all the more credibility and authenticity which only digitization can assure.

From land record digitization to using data to create AI models and predict fair market prices, the possibilities of integrating technology with real estate are evolving every day. Blockchain technology, for example, can equip government and industry bodies with decentralized records ensuring transparency and efficiency. Technology is also bridging the access and information gap between customers and services such as movers and packers, sanitization, pest control etc. Using big data analytics, real estate portals can convert customer behavior into market insights which aid in more informed decision making for both service providers and the customers as well. We have seen success with our regular PropIndex and Rental Index reports which have evolved into one stop destination for real estate insights.

To conclude, digitization has already made significant strides in opening new vistas across industries and real estate should be no outlier. As one of the most important industries in the world, real estate needs to rewrite its rules with digitization to elevate customer experiences and aid business innovation!

Sudhir Pai

CEO, Magicbricks

Sudhir Pai is the CEO of Magicbircks. He is an alumni of Symbiosis Center For Management and Human Resource Development.



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