Technology Defining the Real estate Business & Consumers

By Alok Mishra, CTO, RealtyCompass.com

Finding an ideal home is one of the most expensive and time-consuming decision for any customer. The overwhelming number of options available, not just limited to the choice of location, builder, configuration and budget further complicates it. The real estate industry today confronts the lack of transparency in every stage of purchasing a home. The biggest challenge for the first time home buyers are finalizing the requirement, going through exhaustive choices, short listing homes based on reviews and other data points and numerous site visits. Most often, the home buyers get muddled when it comes to deciding the builder who can provide them all the promised amenities and specifications without leaving them disappointed. In addition, lack of government regulations and delays in possession often prolong the procedure of finalizing the correct home deal. With little or no sources of knowledge and data available in offline media, IT now plays a crucial role in buying a home and gathering data from myriad of sources while investing on a property. 

Information and Informed Choices
With exhaustive choices, verified data and tools available to shortlist them, customers use real estate portals more often to research about the new projects that they might have come across from offline medium. Owing to the cost benefits and ease of access, the secondary market also thrives on online listings rather than newspapers. 

There can be more than 30 unique data points used to list a property, which in turn can be used to build tools. For an instance, the geo code for the project aids by adding a map based search layer to find homes based on exact coordinates, landmarks and geo fences. With TomTom or Google Maps integration, the customer can also see the various POIs (Points of Interest) nearby like restaurants, Banks and Hospitals. The next natural step is to personalize all of the information for the consumer gathered based on the geo codes. 

For instance, using our cloud-based analytics engine, we at RealtyCompass provide various tools which not only help consumers with real-time home recommendations, but also help them compare various similar real estate projects based on their specific needs. With exhaustive choices based on verified listings directly from the builder, the consumer can also look at reviews and automated ratings for each project in the city. Based on those ratings, we also show them the good projects which available cheaper in the market and thus a bargain based on regression analysis.

The Mobile Advantage
As smartphones have gone mainstream, more and more information have been consumed on the move. Applications that suggesting a property nearby based on GPS, voice based searches, map navigation to a project site are some of the advantages being offered through mobile to the consumer. On the builder side, it is usually a combination of accessing leads anywhere and regular updates from them that helps track a lead more efficiently. More and more builders are accessing their CRM on mobile devices.

The Road ahead
As the information density is shooting up, there needs to be better ways to consume it elegantly. Even though the supply side is not yet attractive for full time use of big data analytics, both builders and consumers can use this business intelligence to identify trends and spot opportunities. 

For the consumer, the conventional methods of filtering and sorting through listings can give an overwhelming number of options. I strongly believe that a consumer should have access to transparent information online. Today, sentiment analysis to understand the user generated reviews for a project from across the internet. It adds transparency about builders which is hidden in comments on various blogs and other websites. With many new and old players raising new rounds of investments in the real estate portal business, it has already become one of the hottest online opportunities today. The real estate market is yet to be penetrated fully and it will only become bigger in the future. 

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