Video walkthroughs, digital inspection and e-launches are increasingly becoming popular with real estate firms and startups looking to push residential sales amid the covid-19 crisis.
Considering that physical site visits for buying homes is impossible in the current situation, real estate startups are trying to leverage tech-led solutions to woo prospective tenants and buyers.
“Video walkthroughs have been gaining steam in India for the past 2-3 months. One could shortlist on call, but finalizing on call is a big leap here. While the concept is being practised in most developed countries, in India it was still at a nascent stage,” said Akhil Gupta, co-founder and chief technology officer, NoBroker.com, a tech-enabled real estate platform.
NoBroker, which raised a $30-million Series D round led by American private equity firm General Atlantic in April, launched the video walk-throughs in March-end, and soon noticed a spike in interest from both owners and tenants.
According to Ashish Puravankara, managing director of Bengaluru-based real estate developer Puravankara Ltd, prospective buyers can engage in a live webinar on their website to discover the price and book projects online. The company recently launched two projects on its portal.
Likewise, Mumbai-based Xanadu Realty has built a technology interface to enable sales and aims to provide buyers a virtual tour of the property and the neighbourhood.
It is using a mix of virtual reality, automation and analytics to provide customers with a seamless experience.
“This is done through an integrated virtual sales experience platform, which Xanadu has adopted across all ongoing projects,” said Samujjwal Ghosh, director, brand and marketing, Xanadu Realty.
“Over the last 30 days, we have conducted more than 6,300 interactions with potential customers across Mumbai, both residential, as well as commercial real estate, in the affordable, aspirational and luxury categories across seven developer brands,” said Ghosh.
The 6,300 video calls have translated into selling more than 100 units in a month.
“What has changed is the simple reason to buy now, the perception of a real estate asset, ticket size evaluation by customers, short-term cash-flow implications and the process of buying, which has now exclusively gone digital,” he added.
Similarly, Mumbai-based MultiLiving, a real estate platform backed by Lodha Ventures, is creating a rental business using technology.
“Leveraging machine learning, we have been able to suggest the best location for a customer rather than seeking information on location, societies and other traditional parameters done previously. This has been possible due to an AI-powered chatbot on our platform that gives an insight into what may best suit a customer,” said Pankaj Singh, chief executive and founder, MultiLiving Technologies.
Virtual reality is used for video walk-ins, while ML-based data analytics of over 250,000 residential rental agreements in Mumbai drives MultiLiving’s price discovery model. “We have been able to get more than 130 deals since we launched our tech-enabled digital platform in mid May,” Singh added.