The real estate sector today is booming with opportunities and the new generation today has a vast scope. With the changing policies in the real estate sector, business in the real estate is getting revamped and refurbished. The younger generation can take this opportunity to learn from this and inculcate their experience and expertise to making the real estate sector an organised one. Real estate consultants, who help in guiding customers to buy their dream homes according to their budget and expectations, carry out as much as 75 per cent of the transaction in the real estate sector.

Below mentioned are some of the tips and points to remember for being successful:

    • Consultancy is not necessarily a sales job but more of a servicing job where the consultant needs to understand in detail what the customer wants and sees to it that it is provided promptly. If one knows their subject well, speaks with clarity, knows the nomenclature, communicates clearly and knows the facts, they will be able to be a success in the real estate sector.
    • Nowadays, almost every individual has a smartphone with access to a good internet connection due to which consumers have become more informed; they know exactly what to ask for and expect. Hence, it is important to maintain transparency in terms of every parameter like taxation details, product details, commitments; all this should be documented before allowing your client to enter into an agreement with the developer.
    • Being a thorough professional, welcoming the client and even managing post sales is sought out by consumers while choosing their consultants. A broker is typically known to multitask and hence post sales and customer importance is one area which would be of significant importance.
    • With RERA coming in, playing the role of the consultants does not end with the customer giving you a cheque, it is just the start of the deal and hereafter, you have to handhold the customer through the entire construction process and ensure that they have a seamless experience because most of the buyers today are well informed and they do not like getting into the legal struggle late.
    • Understanding the psychology of the consumers along with understanding the post sales is very important.  According to the Indian culture, the consumers buy houses during important occasions in their lives like birthdays, anniversaries and on auspicious days like Guddi Padwa and Akshaya Tritiya as they want to make it a happy memory, this is something that the brokers today should facilitate.
    • Accessibility is an important trait for a consultant. Real estate consultancy or broking as a profession will never be taken over by a robot as it is something that requires an emotional human touch. People have to be accessible. A challenge to any consultancy is that when an exponential growth takes place, it is very important that we have to be accessible to all our new clients within a stipulated span of time.

 

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Getting hands on a good property is easier these days due to the excellent communication system via the internet portals. The knowledge of the latest real estate properties can be conveniently gathered just by surfing through the real estate portals. The contacts of the builders or owners of the lands, apartments or house are provided which can be used by the buyer to contact and communicate. But still, somehow the necessity of real estate agents lurk somewhere. The benefits of the service from a professional real estate agent are not hidden.

Compromising for the commission might prove to be a costlier effect in the long run as covering all the grounds is near to impossible for a person who does not have any experience in the realty sector. If you are looking for a good property in your preferred location then hire a real estate consultant to enjoy more benefits in comparison to the cost you are paying.

 

 

  1. Experience and knowledge: Proficiency comes with apt knowledge and years of experience working in a particular field. The same is true for the real estate agents also. Professionalism is the best feature. They take their work very seriously and consider the best interest of the client’s need. A licensed broker is what you need to work with. Every single aspect related to the real estate dealings will be legit and neatly done. No fishy business will be involved. Safety of investment is of utmost importance. It cannot be done more often. Clients save throughout their entire life to buy a property and dream to convert it into a lovely home. Whether it is a buying or selling agendum, you should hire a real estate consultant to make the best of the investment and protect your interest by earning good returns.

 

  1. Inside knowledge of the real estate sector: One thing is for sure that a professional real estate broker knows the inside information regarding the properties in his or her working locations. Real estate properties are always in high demand which means the supply is limited. Learning about a great property with amenities and perks is like a cutthroat competition. A normal person like might be unable to learn or gain knowledge about the properties beforehand. The price might increase in the mean time. Hiring a professional agent will ensure the inflow of knowledge regarding the best properties in town. Moreover, the current structure of pricing and degree of comparison will be dealt aptly by the proficient broker. There will be no fooling business by the builder when you are under the supervision of the real estate agent.

 

  1. Vast contact network: The agents belong to a so called brotherhood as information is of utmost importance. The information regarding a property is shared in the entire network of the real estate agents which can be exploited by you if you hire a real estate consultant. Imagine how many properties you can opt from when a single agent is connecting you with the entire network of brokers in the market. Not only brokers but also the loan department, real estate law enforcers, and other necessary contacts will come under the radar of the service. The agent will handle everything for you just against the nominal broker charge. If any anomaly occurs during the deal, you always have the saving hands of the broker to fix it. The agent will use his contacts to solve the problem and ensure that the deal goes smoothly.

 

  1. Handling paperwork: The worst part of the realty sector is arranging and coming up with the right papers on time. The legal issues cannot be overlooked as it might delay the process of buying or selling. Take a deep breath and hire a real estate consultant to take care of all the heavy paperwork related to this affair. There are many legal documents necessary to make the process and property legit. Transfer of ownership is a tough and time-consuming process. Not a single document can be missed or the process might be delayed due to the heavy workload in the administration department. In order to confirm the accomplishment of the process in a single shot, it is smarter to seek professional service from the real estate brokers and pass the hurdles without any hassle. You do not have to break a sweat by queuing in the administrative offices or run hither and thither for a particular signature. The real estate agent has been doing this since his or her dawn in this sector. They know the bypasses like the back of their hands. The arrangement of the legit documents and getting the process are done what they are charging for. So sit back and relax and watch the job get done in no time.

 

  1. Negotiations: Nobody tends to pay the full price but bargaining is a pain. People face hard a time while bargaining with the builders or buyers for the right price of the property. There is no shame in bargaining as someone might think it looks cheap. No worries. The real estate agent will do the trick. He or she knows how to bend the prices for the benefits of the client. Considering the market conditions and options available, the agent will use his or her bargaining skills as per the knowledge earned while working in this field. Hire a real estate consultant to save your best interest by adding the bargaining skills of the professional.

 

  1. One stop solution: A real estate is all you can ask for a bunch of services in a single deal. The service charge quoted is mostly 2-3% but the benefits are huge when considered. The agents work like a ready-to-use system. Once the requirement is made clear, he or she will start scouting and find the best properties that suit your needs. Searching for a property in a big city is nothing but getting lost in a big maze of concrete walls. If you are new then probably it is best to hire a professional handler of real estate issues. From scouting for a property or buyer to completing the paperwork, everything is included in the deal.

 

  1. Managing resources: Time is of the essence. You cannot afford to spend the time to scout the town for a good property or visit the names on the list. In order to get a good market view via the bird’s eye of the agents, it is better to hire one and get full access to the properties. Do not burn hard earned money or petrol to make a list of apartments of buyers for your property. It is better to hire a real estate consultant who has all the necessary information you need. No misguidance from your side will occur due to confusion. He or she will be there to take through the entire process safely by ensuring apt use of resources.

Save yourself from the stress from the confusing real estate business by hiring a proficient agent. It is best to go through the credentials before working with one. Try to get suggestions from the well-wishers and get a name. Learn and earn benefits with the best in business and complete your real estate buying or selling business fruitfully.

Real estate is an extremely competitive field. It’s saturated and ruthless—but professionals who put in that extra effort are going to be rewarded. Real estate marketing has always been something that only a few people figure out. It’s either spammy or just plain disconnected.

Here’s a list of ideas you can pull from. Start implementing some of these today and you’re already improving your marketing efforts for sure.

Ready? Let’s go.

Email Real Estate Marketing Tips

Personalize Emails for 10 Contacts Each Day

Go through your lead list and identify your 10 best leads. The choosing process doesn’t have to be entirely data-backed. We’re going for the quick win here so doing a scan plus gut check is the best method. For the rest of the list, send out your usual automated email.

For these 10 people, take a couple of minutes to do that extra personalization. Mention a previous meeting? Something new in their area? A mutual friend? No need to fuss over this small addition to your process. When it pulls in results, you might want to consider doing a Top 20.

Setup an autoresponder or a drip campaign for your email subscribers.

What’s an auto-responder? It’s a sequence of emails that’s sent to new subscribers to take them through a certain campaign or just welcome them to your list. The objective when putting together an autoresponder is to eliminate the feeling that they’re receiving a canned response. Drip campaigns allow you to share branded content with your new leads and pull them into your sales funnel.

Spruce up your email newsletter by using graphics.

People are visual, and with the rest of the real estate world dishing out the same plain newsletter, those who put an effort to differentiate themselves get the best results. If you don’t have your branding pinned down yet, now’s the best time to do it. Having the same color, look and feel for all your content—from newsletters and even your website—helps customers remember your brand and your services.

Polish your existing email scripts.

Sure, personalization is key, but in sales, numbers are also very important. A marketer or real estate agent who says they never use templates when emailing is flat-out lying. Even a simple bone structure for emails is still a template. Now, set aside some time to review your existing email templates, applying best cold email practices wherever possible.

Flex your subject line muscles.

What’s an email good for if no one opens them. Subject lines impact your cold email open rates more than anything else so make sure you test different subject lines. Of course, don’t forget that it’s ok to get creative with these things. Some marketers even swear by using (no subject) as a subject line for certain situations!

Listing Real Estate Marketing Tips

Sharpen your MLS listing descriptions.

Most clients and prospects discover your listings through MLS, so it’s unwise to just put something together and forget about it. You need to use punchy and compelling descriptions for your listings. Brush up on your copywriting skills by checking out blogs like KopywritingKourse or books by Bob Bly.

Put together a checklist for listing descriptions.

Sure, winging it feels natural and relies on your go-getter energy whenever you work. However, having a checklist that spells out the necessary information for each listing saves you a possible huge headache and lost business. The checklist should include all pertinent info like features, area, school districts, reasons for selling and basic listing information.

Update photos on your listings.

Photos taken by phone are perfectly fine so long as they weren’t taken in 2006. Today, phones can produce photos that are very high-quality. Now that that’s out of the way, you just make sure that you have what the prospects want to see in photos. When you look at a listing, what do you zoom into immediately? Photos. There is no use hiding portions of your listing. There’s always a way to present properties in a better way with just some photography skills.

Put your listings on SlideShare.

Upload new ones as you update. Say, put together a slideshow on SlideShare for all your available listings for the month of March. You can even put them together in categories. Put up a slideshow for all listings for a month, for a quarter, listings that are above a certain price point, listings that are in a certain zip code, and so on.

This practice makes it easier for prospects to go straight to listings that they’re already interested in based on preference. You’ll be surprised with the traffic SlideShare gets.

Mine other people’s listings for potential partnerships.

Go over other people’s listings especially ones that were posted by direct owners or small brokers in an area. Take note of low-priced or reasonably-priced listings. List up to 50 properties, take note of their contact numbers and other pertinent info. Set aside half a day to call up these listings and propose a partnership plan. If it makes sense business-wise, there’s no reason not to partner up with other real estate players.

Social Media Real Estate Marketing Tips

Create profiles for the essential social media stack for real estate professionals:

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn.

Instagram

Stunning photos that show off your properties and the areas. Instagram uses hashtags similar to twitter and if you’re smart about the hashtags you use, you’ll get prospects making a beeline to your instagram account in no time.

Facebook

Just who’s not on Facebook these days? For real estate agents, though, the number one reason to get on Facebook is local Facebook groups. Real estate groups are great but it’s mostly filled with other real estate agents as well. Local facebook groups are smaller online communities where people engaged and discuss what’s happening in their particular area. It won’t sound spammy if you update everyone with a new listing in the area, as long as you have the tone of someone wanting to let the community know as opposed to someone wanting to sell to everyone in the community.

Twitter

Twitter is great for generating traffic to your website, listings and other online assets you have. It’s also one of the first things that prospects will see if they look you up on search engines. An active Twitter feed is one of the marks of a successful professional, so you definitely want to give off that impression by keeping on top of your Twitter game.

Pinterest

Pinterest is so overlooked. However, many marketers report that prospects who search on Pinterest are those who are closer to making a buying decisions more than those who browse on other social media channels. See, Pinterest is like a catalog where you can include a direct link to your listing. This is essential.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn groups are great as a venue to talk to other real estate professionals. However, if you’re marketing listings, it can come off as spammy if you post very often on your LinkedIn account. The main selling point of LinkedIn is that it’s the biggest social media platform for professionals. Read: People who have the power to purchase and make decisions. Heads of families, real estate purchasers, entrepreneurs and other successful people are all around LinkedIn, and if you master the art of social selling, there’s no limit to what you can achieve on LinkedIn.

 

Use social media scheduling tools to automate some of your social media tasks.

There’s Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and other web apps you can use. Most of them have mobile app counterparts so you can check posts, look at data and check what others are posting in real-time. The scheduling functionality allows you to do what you have to do without having to go back again and again to the social media platforms just to make sure your presence is consistent across social media channels.

Phone Real Estate Marketing Tips

Call your competitors.

Researching the competition? Why not call them directly and get a feel of their style. There’s nothing wrong with callingthem and posing as an interested prospect. Call the most successful firms and agents in your area and get them to sell to you. Take note of their style, how they open conversations, what’s the first bits of information they reveal, how the handle pricing questions, how they handle inquiries outside listings, and so on.

Call existing customers and ask for referrals subtly.

Referrals are one of the most powerful lead generation techniques. However, it can be a bit risky to ask outright. Make sure you develop a good relationship with all your existing prospects and customers. When you’re comfortable enough to ask for a referral do so.

To make sure you are continuously getting on the good side of your customers, have a solid customer service plan in place. Call your existing customers just to check in. Make it a regular thing. Once a month is a good number, on top of any calls they request regarding particular concerns. Remember, people don’t always deal with people who have what they need, but they always deal with people they like.

Video Real Estate Marketing Tips

Create virtual tours for your listings.

Depending on the size of your operation, there is always a video marketing strategy that is doable and effective for you. If you’re able to allocate a marketing budget for video, go ahead and get a professional videographer to help you capture the beauty of your listings in video form. If that’s not possible, there’s no issue using what you have. If you can borrow a digital SLR or even a GoPro to take a video of your properties, go ahead and do so. Easy to use video editing software which are user-friendly and intuitive. If you’re using a Mac computer, use iMovie. For Windows users, Movie Maker is simple and easy to use as well.

Can’t take videos? Then make videos!

These days, having no video for real estate listings isn’t a choice at all. If you have no phone capable of taking good videos and no cameras to use, take your best photos and create a video slideshow. You can just put background music and slowly shuffle through photos of your listings. Remember, prospects come to the internet to look for properties and each opportunity to put your listings in front of your target audience is an opportunity worth putting effort into.

Content Marketing for Real Estate

All the content you create on social media, the videos you shoot and the articles you share on your newsletter could be considered a part of a huge movement in online marketing today: content marketing. Notice how prospects flock to you when you release content that’s not promotional? Probably something useful you typed up on a lazy afternoon, pouring your insight and thoughts about real estate buying you wish prospects knew?

Yes. It works and it’s a win-win for you and the prospects. Do you have thoughts you’ve always wanted to share regarding the industry? Want to help educate buyers about the right things to look for when shopping for a property?

These ideas can be transformed into revenue generating pieces by creating content that other people can easily access and consume. You can put your words into a blog on your site, into a video blog, into small snippets on your social media accounts, a webinar (online seminar) maybe?

Creating content that resonates with your target audience and existing clients is a great way to nurture your audience continuously and keep them abreast with what’s up in the industry and what’s up with your business.

What are your go-to tactics for real estate marketing?

About the Author: My Friend Aki Merced writes about B2B sales and marketing as a content marketer for Tenfold. Follow her on Twitter @akimerced!

 

 

I am proud to be a part of an era where the Transformation of Real Estate Sector is being witnessed by Country at large. Real Estate has always been struggling to attract young dynamic talent though being the highest paying sector, the reasons for same could be lack of Professionalism, Centralized Power, Lack of Customer Centricity etc. It wasn’t given Industry status by Govt. of India in spite of creating the maximum employability in india. Now we are also going to witness amalgamation of many developers into few in Numbers and why? Lets understand this.

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) has finally given India’s real estate sector its first regulator from Monday, May 1, 2017.  RERA has brought to bring clarity and fair practices that would protect the interests of buyers and also impose penalties on errant builders or Channel Partners(Brokers).

So what is RERA? Here is a look at the real estate regulator and how it will impact the real estate market.

Real Estate Regulatory Authority

  1. Under the Bill, instead of a regular forum of consumers, the purchasers of real estate units from a developer would have a specialised forum called the “Real Estate Regulatory Authority” which will be set up within one year from the date of coming into force of the Act. In the interim, the appropriate Government (i.e., the Central or State Government) shall designate any other regulatory authority or any officer preferably the Secretary of the department dealing with Housing, as the Regulatory Authority. (Currently its being headed by Mr. Gautam Chatterji (http://www.tkbsen.in/2016/12/maha-govt-appoints-gautam-chaterjee-as-housing-regulator/)

Registration with the Regulatory Authority

  1. The promoter has to register their project (residential as well as commercial) with the Regulatory Authority before booking, selling or offering apartments for sale in such projects. In case a project is to be promoted in phases, then each phase shall be considered as a standalone project, and the promoter shall obtain registration for each phase.
  2. Further, in case of ongoing projects on the date of commencement of the Act which have not received a completion certificate, the promoter of such project shall make an application to the Regulatory Authority for registration of their project within a period of three months of the commencement of the Act.
  3. The following types of projects shall not be required to be registered before the Regulatory Authority:
    1. Where the area of land proposed to be promoter does not exceed 500 square meters or the number of apartments to be constructed in the project does not exceed eight apartments. However, the appropriate Government (Central and State Government) may, if it considers appropriate, reduce the threshold limit below 500 square meters or eight apartments;
    2. Projects where the completion certificate has been received prior to the commencement of the Act;
    3. Projects for the purpose of renovation or repair or re-development which does not involve marketing, advertising, selling and new allotment of any apartment plot or building.
  4. The application for registration must disclose the following information:
    1. Details of the promoter (such as its registered address, type of enterprise such proprietorship, societies, partnership, companies, competent authority);
    2. A brief detail of the projects launched by the promoter, in the past five years, whether already completed or being developed, as the case may be, including the current status of the projects, any delay in its completion, details of cases pending, details of type of land and payments pending;
    3. An authenticated copy of the approval and commencement certificate received from the competent authority and where the project is proposed to be developed in phases, an authenticated copy of the approval and commencement certificate of each of such phases;
    4. The sanctioned plan, layout plan and specifications of the project, plan of development works to be executed in the proposed project and the proposed facilities to be provided thereof and the locational details of the project;
    5. Agreement for sale and conveyance deed proposed to be signed with the buyer.
    6. Number, type and carpet area of the apartments and the number and areas of garages for sale in the project;
    7. The names and addresses of the promoter’s real estate agents, if any, and contractors, architects, structural engineers affiliated with the project; and
    8. A declaration by the promoter supported by an affidavit stating that:
      1. he has a legal title to the land, free from all encumbrances, and in case there is an encumbrance, then details of such encumbrances on the land including any right, title, interest or name of any party in or over such land along with the details;
      2. the time period within which he undertakes to complete the project or the phase; and
      3. 70% of the amounts realised for the real estate project from the buyer, from time to time, shall be deposited in a separate account to be maintained in a scheduled bank to cover the cost of construction and the land cost and shall be used only for that purpose.

Definition of Carpet Area

Under the Bill, developers can sell units only on carpet area, which means the net usable floor area of an apartment. This excludes the area covered by the external walls, areas under services shafts, exclusive balcony or verandah area and exclusive open terrace area, but includes the area covered by the internal partition walls of the apartment.

70% of realisation(Agreement Value) from buyers in a separate bank escrow bank account.

  1. The Act mandates that a promoter shall deposit 70% of the amount collected from the buyer, in a separate rera account. This is intended to cover the cost of construction and the land cost and the amount deposited shall be used only for the concerned project i.e., project construction related payments.
  2. The promoter shall be entitled to withdraw the amounts from the separate account, to cover the cost of the project, in proportion to the percentage of completion of the project. However, such withdrawal can only be made after it is certified by an engineer, an architect and chartered accountant in practice that the withdrawal is in proportion to the percentage of completion of the project.
  3. The promoter is also required to get his accounts audited within six months after the end of every financial year by a practicing chartered accountant. , Further, he is required to produce a statement of accounts duly certified and signed by such chartered accountant, and it shall be verified during the audit that (i) the amounts collected for a particular project have been utilised for the project; and (ii) the withdrawal has been in compliance with the proportion to the percentage of completion of the project.

Advertisement or prospectus issued by the promoter

  1. The advertisement or prospectus issued or published by the promoter should prominently mention the website address of the Regulatory Authority, where all details of the registered project have been entered and include the registration number obtained from the Regulatory Authority and other similar details.
  2. Where any person makes an advance or a deposit on the basis of the information contained in the notice, advertisement or prospectus and sustains any loss or damage because of any incorrect, false statement included in these, he shall be compensated by the promoter in the manner as provided under the Act. Also, if the person affected by such incorrect, false statement contained in the notice, advertisement or prospectus, intends to withdraw from the proposed project, his entire investment (along with interest at such rate as may be prescribed and compensation in the manner provided under the Act), will be returned to him.

RERA controls the Payment Plan in Under-construction Property

A promoter shall not accept a sum more than 10% percent of the cost of the apartment, plot, or building, as the case may be, as an advance payment or an application fee, from a person without first entering into a written agreement of sale(RERA Model Agreement) with such person and register the said agreement of sale, under any law for the time being in force.

Restriction on plans Change

In past the issue of efficiency planning (reduction of wastage of common areas, i.e., other than non FSI) caused many iterations in the planning. Hence in RERA, The promoter cannot make any addition or alteration in the approved and sanctioned plans, structural designs, specifications, amenities of the apartment or the common areas of the building or plot without the previous consent of the 2/3rd buyer.

Construction Quality & Structural defect

In case any structural defect or any other defect in the workmanship, quality or provision of services or any other obligations of the promoters is brought to the notice of the promoter within a period of five years by the buyer from the date of handing over possession, the promoter shall rectify such defect without any further charge, within thirty days. If the promoter fails to rectify such defect within such time, the aggrieved allottee shall be entitled to receive appropriate compensation in the manner as provided in the Act.

Fund Restriction towards Mortgaged of Property

The promoter shall not transfer or assign his majority rights and liabilities in respect of a project to NBFC or any third-party without obtaining prior written consent from two-thirds of the buyer, except the promoter, and without the prior written approval of the Regulatory Authority.

Refund of amount in case of delay in handing over possession

In case the promoter is unable to hand over possession of the apartment, plot or building to the allottee in given time as per Agreement and details on RERA website, then the promoter shall be liable, on demand being made by the allottee, to return the amount received by him from the allottee with interest and compensation at the MCLR rate plus 2% under the Act. This relief will be available without prejudice to any other remedy available to the allottee.

However, where an allottee does not intend to withdraw from the project, he shall be paid interest by the promoter for every month of delay, till the handing over of the possession, at a prescribed rate.

Submission in essence, the Bill intends to bring paradigm shift in real estate sector by increasing transparency and accountability. IT will also boost up the sentiments of buyer and provide safer net in their sale purchase mechanism. More of FDI in real estate. Overall an upward Trajectory can be seen showing long-term capital growth in the market and reduce overhang Inventory.

 

Disclaimer : This is sole view of the author and based on his interpretation and understanding. Support of Many refrence material has been taken to define the same. This is not the guiding information for any practice.

 

Real estate and technology firms are actively engaged in exploring ways to improve people’s lives while reducing energy use and operating costs, says Manoj Asrani

The concept of the Internet of things (IoT), where ordinary objects are connected to the Internet presents unprecedented possibilities, for the management and operation of real estate. With IoT, any part of a building can become a point to capture and send data. The emergence of IoT comes at a time when we are seeing major advances in the speed of data transmission and computer processing, and the ability to store massive amounts of information in the cloud. When these developments are combined with advanced analysis – to make the data actionable – we have the opportunity to explore, relate to, and interact with buildings in amazing new ways, to move from building management to full building automation.

Whether it’s a scanner that lets you gain entry or a thermostat to provide basic temperature monitoring, many buildings today have some form of electronic controlsystem. But those systems are largely built on proprietary technologies with data silos that don’t interact, and any reports they generate are most likely static, representing what has happened, instead of what could happen. With a building automation system that uses IoT, you could have an integrated solution that senses and adjusts heat and humidity based on the number of people that have entered the building.

Building owners and managers across the globe are excited at the prospect of adding more intelligence to their building management systems for existing and future structures. But many are hampered by a lack of information about where to start and how to bring it all together. Some are put off by the high costs proposed to ramp up intelligent solutions or by the perception that costs will be high. And with the technology still in its infancy, the difficulty of accessing data from building management systems is still a challenge. But as with other technologies, as IoT applications mature, the costs and challenges are likely to lessen.

For those that do step up to the plate, the benefits are bound to be substantial. Corporations that own and occupy their own real estate could reduce their costs significantly with a building automation system using IoT. Let’s say a financial services company has a building portfolio with annual energy costs of a billion dollars. If a system could reduce those costs by 1 percent while still maintaining a comfortable work environment, which would generate big savings.

 

Manoj Asrani, VP (sales & marketing), JP Infra
Manoj Asrani, VP(Sales & Marketing), JP Infra
 Real estate companies that are less driven by operating costs,  which they recover from tenants, could use the technology to offer occupants a better-functioning environment. Tenants are attracted to buildings with comfortable temperature and humidity, and timely elevators that rarely malfunction. With a building automation system, a real estate company could adjust equipment remotely to ensure that it works properly and efficiently. And with global warming an important issue, real estate companies could score some points by providing energy-efficient properties. An intelligent building might have elevators that recognise your speech when you tell them what floor to go to. All of these features can contribute to occupant satisfaction, and ultimately, occupant retention.
IoT enables enhancements that go beyond building operations to provide owners, operators, or tenants with information about the flow and movement of people in a structure. This capability could offer a major advantage to retail tenants. With data gleaned from sensors, a store could track the behavior of customers to understand, for example, how long they look at a particular display or where they go after that. Tracking movements of many customers could enable a store to generate metrics that reveal what percentage of people viewing the display converts into sales or to provide information that helps stores better serve their customers.
The use of IoT holds limitless possibilities for building management. Real estate and technology firms of all sizes are actively engaged in exploring how it can improve people’s lives while reducing energy use and operating costs. With IoT, the future of building management will undoubtedly be interesting.
This article first appeared in Business Standard on July 1st 2016

RURAL MARKETS ARE SHINING AGAIN

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No one needs to keep emphasising that in India rural markets costitute a huge untapped opportunity, but unfortunatley it seldom gets the attention it deserves, or for that matter the consistent attention…marketers either make half-hearted attempts or the intiatives are more part of thier CSR work.

But one time when the markets gets serious attention is when the urban markets slow down and companies are hard pressed for growth, it is then that they start brushing the dust over thier rural marketing files, as seems to be happening now.

Coca Cola India has drawn up a fresh startegy to tap rural market. In the past too the company has tried to tap the rural opportunity by introducing coke at Rs 5 price point. This time around the strategy revolves around a retailer training programme for smaller grocery stores in tier II & III towns, and stepping up distribution of specific products in smaller towns, and increasing focus on marketing and operations focus for these markets.

Another company which is planning make good the shaort fall of growth targets through the rural areas is Maruti Suzuki. The company is focusing on these markets with it’s entry-level cars. It is using a combination of large sales team and special discounts to attarct rural consumers. The two specific intiatives from Maruti for rural markets are the Resident Dealer Sales Execuitves which they are planning to appoint and ‘ghar ghar mein Maruti’ campaign. The focus of the Resident Dealer Sales Execuitves scheme is to use a local resident to push the sales of cars, and ‘ghar ghar mein Maruti’ focuses on targetting opinion leaders who would influnece the sales in the village.
It is very easy to criticise the short-term approach followed by companies when it comes to rural markets, but the when one sees the difficulties which exist in making the rural markets a sustianble source of growth one is willing to empathise with them. But then there is also a need to keep the focus on these intitiaves even when the urabn growth bounces back……

Process of buying a house

Buying a house is a big deal, not to mention a big expense. If you’re thinking about buying your first property, it pays to know your rights as a buyer and how the buying process works. If it’s been a while since you’ve been in the market this might be just the refresher you need. The process of buying a house will differ depending on whether the house is sold by private treaty or at auction. Rules may also vary in each state or territory.

Once you’ve found the “right” property you might make an offer, generally one lower than the asking price. You might be asked to pay a deposit. “This won’t mean that the property is yours or that it gets taken off the market,” explains the NSW Office of Fair Trading (NSW OFT). “It only proves to the seller that your offer is serious. The agent must also let you know if someone else makes a later offer on the same property.” It’s important to understand that the seller is not obligated to sell you the property, you have no obligation to buy the property even if your offer is accepted, and the deposit will be refunded if you don’t end up buying.

You may be “gazumped” — this means that even though you have a verbal agreement the property is sold to someone else for a higher price. “If you are gazumped neither the agent nor the vendor is obliged to compensate you for any money you may have spent on legal advice, inspection reports, financial applications or inquiries,” says the NSW OFT.

If your offer is accepted and you are not gazumped, the next step is to exchange contracts. This is the legal part of buying a home. You and the seller will sign the contract and this is when you will need to pay a bigger deposit — usually 10 percent. Sign the contract only when your solicitor or licensed conveyancer is happy. “Following exchange, you have a financial interest in the property so it’s wise to get it insured,” says the NSW OFT.

In most states, except WA, there is a “cooling-off period” of up to five days where you can change your mind. You’ll need to write a letter and deliver it before the period ends to cancel the contract. You will be refunded most of your deposit but a fee may be charged. In NSW it’s 0.25 percent of the purchase price. Let’s say you agree to buy a house for $400,000 and you pay a $40,000 deposit but change your mind. You will be refunded $40,000 less $1000 (0.25 percent x 400,000).

Settlement, when you become the legal owner of the property, occurs 30-90 days from when you sign the contract. This can be negotiated to a period that suits both you and the seller.

Things are a little different if you end up buying the property at auction. If you are the successful bidder you hand over your 10 percent deposit and exchange the contract then and there.

If the property is “passed in”, meaning the reserve was not met and bidding has stopped, the highest bidder can negotiate with the seller and a sale is possible. If you buy a property at auction or exchange contracts on the same day after it is passed in, it’s important to know that a cooling-off period does not apply.

Questions to be asked Real Estate Agents

  • Why is the vendor selling?Depending on the vendor’s circumstances, such as deceased estates, liquidation and divorce, you may be able to negotiate a better price. Don’t rely on the estate agent’s word. Ask a neighbour.
  • How long has the property been on the market?If it has been on the market for a long time, it may indicate a problem with the house. If not, it may mean the vendor will be keener to negotiate on the price.
  • Is the vendor negotiable on the price?See if there is flexibility.
  • How soon does the owner need to move out?If the owner is in a hurry, he or she will probably be more open to bargaining. If you have cash, it also means you may be favoured over another buyer.
  • Who set the price on this property?The owner may have set the price themselves, which may be unrealistic and outside market value. The agent may disagree with the asking price and be prepared to help with negotiations.
  • How much do you think the property will sell for?This may give you an idea of the disparity between the asking price and the genuine market price.
  • What else do you have at this price? And what else is in the market right now?This lets the agent know you are not committed to the property.
  • What comes with the property?Try and pin down as many things as possible: carpets, curtains, light fittings, kitchen and bathroom fittings, beautiful features like stained glass windows that the vendors might want to take with them. Unusual plants, ride-on-mowers, sheds, custom-fit dishwashers, ovens, microwaves, fridges, etc.
  • If you are using a buyers’ agent, make sure that the property is not being sold by the same agent or agency. This is called dual-listing and represents a conflict of interest.
  • Ask them straight out if there are any problems with the property.By doing this, you can avoid the expense of pulling out after building inspections, etc. Make it clear that if you proceed and problems emerge, you will quit the deal and go to another agent.
  • Will the home be in the same condition when I take ownership?Be sure to schedule a walk-through inspection prior to closing.

Buying a house: what to look for outside the house

When buying a home, it is extremely important to take stock of “externals”.

The inside of a house reflects a person’s taste and can usually be easily modified, but the outside of a house is less controllable. Neighbours, the community, council restrictions and structural issues usually fall into the externals category and can be a source of great angst and expense.

Consider the following when assessing the neighbours and community:

  • Drive around the area to see if there are any surprises, like factories.
  • Determine whether it is close to public transport, hospitals, parks, childcare, recreation centres or commercial premises
  • Ask the vendor whether the neighbours from hell live next door and if so, why don’t they get along? It may be that the problem is not a problem for you. Vendors must tell you if they have had disputes with their neighbours.
  • Are there barking dogs or crowing roosters next door or over the road?
  • Do noisy hooligans live next door?
  • Is there much traffic?
  • Is there a school near to the house? This can be good, but if you are too close, you may find yourself competing for car space outside your house, not to mention the noise.
  • For people looking for five-acre blocks, look for roosters, barking dogs and trail bikes for kids. These can drive you mad if you think you are going to have peace and quiet in a semi-rural setting.
  • If you are buying near the bush, assess the fire implications.
  • Check there are no big holes, hidden mineshafts, etc, or any other undesirable features in the landscape.
  • Is the house near a giant power pole? This will usually affect the resale value and may affect your health.
  • Ditto for factories belching smoke or pollution into local water supplies or major traffic arteries that also create pollution.
  • Spend a couple of hours in the car checking out the locality. Is it your kind of neighbourhood? If you like trees, are there lots of trees? If you have children, are there other children? Do you like to eat out?

Having sussed out the neighbourhood, the next thing to assess is the grounds and gardens. A few things to keep in mind include:

  • Garden maintenance. If you want a low-maintenance yard and dislike leaf litter, choose appropriately. It is very difficult to gain council approval to chop down trees or lop branches.
  • Are their trees in your neighbour’s garden that overhangs your yard? If you do not like the trees, it could be a subject of dispute.
  • If you don’t like trees and leaves, examine the street. Big trees drop leaves that blow well beyond the boundaries of their houses and are clearly visible. They usually are protected by council.
  • Does the yard require clearing? This could cost $1000.
  • Check the fences and gates. The cost of a new fence is usually shared with the neighbour and usually costs at least $1000. If the existing fence is not compliant with council regulations and your neighbour wishes it to be fixed, you must comply.
  • If the house runs on septic, have the tank checked.
  • Are the decking and verandas stable?
  • Is the clothesline in a convenient place that catches the sun?
  • If there is a swimming pool, check the pumps and its general condition.
  • Make sure the yard is well drained, particularly if you are located at the bottom of a hill. Living in a swamp is no fun.
  • Check the condition of sheds and pergolas.

Last but not least in your inventory of externals is the house itself. Problems here can prove extremely costly so make sure you tick off the following:

  • Are the roof tiles slipping or is the roof sagging? New rooves cost tens of thousands of dollars. Sagging rooves could reflect more serious problems like subsidence or structural issues. Visit the house on a rainy day to check for leaks.
  • Look for asbestos. Removing asbestos from your own property is not illegal, but the safest option is to call in the experts and this is expensive. Asbestos can appear in fences, garden sheds and houses. It can be either flat or corrugated sheeting. It was used in water or flue pipes, roof shingles, building boards, imitation brick cladding, plaster patching compounds, textured paint, vinyl floor tiles and the backing of linoleum floor coverings.
  • Check any areas where the wood touches the ground to make sure that termites haven’t accessed the structure of the house. On areas where there are bricks between the soil and wood, check for termite paths. Termites can destroy a house and this is rarely covered by insurance.
  • Look under the house. Are there are underground streams or general damp? This can be very expensive.
  • Examine the orientation of the house. Poor positioning can make it over-hot or cold, which will cost money to regulate. There might also be problems with privacy.
  • Check any external plumbing (pipes often runs under houses and along walls) for leaks.
  • Are the gutters rusted or leaking, sawed off, and attached to proper drainage?
  • Does the house need any external painting? A good paint job can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, particularly for two-storey houses. Ask the vendor when the house was last painted. A paint job usually lasts about 10 years if done properly.
  • Does the driveway comply with council regulations? Check that it is in good order.
  • Check garage doors and fuse boxes.
  • Make sure that any recent additions to the house have council approval.
  • Does the house look straight?
  • Check the positioning and condition of television antennas. Turn on a TV to check the signal.

Buying a house: what to look for inside the house

Buying a home can be a bit like buying a carton of eggs. You never know what you’re going to find when you look inside — bits might be missing, cracked, old, broken or rotten. So you have to check carefully to make sure you are getting what you pay for.

First-home buyers usually visit a few properties before making a final decision and this can be a test for the memory, so take a digital camera and a pen and paper. Take photos and notes about the features, colors and negative and positive points of each residence. Then, when reviewing the properties in the comfort of your home, tick them off against your wish-list.

There are some tried and tested things you should check for on the inside of the house. Mainly you want to identify anything that might be an extra cost, ranging from minor replacements to serious structural work.

Here are a few nasty surprises to keep an eye out for:

  • Turn the taps on in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry to check the water pressure, performance and drainage. Check for dirty water. You might like to leave the tap running for a minute and it can’t hurt to drink the water for a taste test.
  • Check the hot water system. Is it big enough for your needs? A family will need more hot water than a couple. Also check for leaks, rust and age. Replacing a busted hot water system can be expensive and is not the sort of thing you can put off. If it is gas, check for the system’s last servicing.
  • Good insulation can save hundreds on heating and cooling bills. A quick visit through the manhole should give you some idea of its condition. Also check for cavity wall insulation.
  • Are there major cracks in the walls or do the doors stick? This can be a sign of subsidence. This can be an extremely expensive problem to fix and is usually not covered by house insurance.
  • Be extra cautious if the house has been recently painted as it could be masking serious problems.
  • Take a torch to shine on the paintwork in dimly lit rooms to see if there are any obvious structural defects that are not clearly visible in the dark or have been painted over.
  • Check for damp. Feel the walls and look for signs of peeling or bubbling paint. Watermarks are a dead giveaway, as is mould. Fixing damp can sometimes run well into the tens of thousands of dollars. If freshly painted, rely on your sense of smell.
  • Bathrooms often have mould. Mould can’t just be painted over. A serious problem will usually involve installing a new ceiling/wall and better ventilation.
  • Check all the windows. Do they open and slide easily? Do they have cracking paint? This could be a sign of rot. Press your finger into the wood. If it’s soft, it is rotten.
  • Tap the walls to do a preliminary termite check. You can get instruments which measure humidity behind the walls as this is often a sign of infestation. Termites are not usually covered by house insurance so make sure you also get a professional in if you decide to buy the house.
  • Good storage, like built-ins and sheds, can save you over time whereas a lack of storage is bound to cost.
  • Are there any unusually shaped, difficult to furnish rooms?
  • Make sure there are sufficient power points and that they are at your preferred height and position in the room. New points will cost money.
  • Check for Internet access.
  • Check that the toilet is on the same level as the bedrooms for easy access. If it is a two-storey house, it is nice to have a toilet on both levels.
  • Check the location of bedrooms. Parents often want children to be on the same level as them.
  • Do you like the wall colors? Repainting can be expensive if you employ a professional. However, if you don’t mind painting yourself, try to look past the psychedelic paint job, as it can be a relatively inexpensive project that can add value to your home.
  • Old-fashioned electricity switches can point to old wiring.
  • Visit the house on a rainy day to check for leaky rooves, walls or ceilings.
  • Are there cracked tiles or loose grout in the bathroom or kitchen?
  • Check for fly and mosquito screens. In summer, these will be a must and are likely to cost up to $1000.
  • If you intend renovating, check to see if there are floorboards under old carpets, and their condition. People sometimes do insane, cheap things like staple the carpet to the floor and use industrial glue for their tiles. Both these things will add significant expense and time to floor polishing costs. Carpet should be easy to raise without many rusted nails or staples.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate so pay close attention to the age and quality of cupboards, benches, plumbing fittings and tiling.
  • In old houses in particular, check for holes in floorboards and cracks and fissures that let in vermin and cockroaches.
  • Measure spaces in kitchens and laundries to make sure your appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and microwaves fit. Failure to fit could cost a couple of thousand dollars in replacements.
  • Make sure your furniture fits in the rooms.
  • Check for the materials used in cupboards and benches. Good materials will last a lot longer.
  • Check out the floor coverings. Will they need to be replaced and if so, when?
  • Does the house have central heating or air conditioning? If so, how old are they? Check to make sure they are functioning well.