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With a complete lockdown being imposed across India, amid the Coronavirus outbreak, many among you may have been left in the lurch, especially if you had been contemplating a house purchase in the near future. The risk of getting infected has made many buyers and sellers stay back at home. Industry insiders, however, say that buyers and sellers must use modern-day technology to continue with their home-buying plans.
Real estate buying in times of COVID-19
The Coronavirus fears have hit property markets worldwide. Thanks to technology, we are equipped with resources that will help home buyers and sellers through the pandemic. “Many have postponed their site visits or home-buying plans and home staging plans have gone for a toss but we know that we will adapt to this change in no time,” says Kumar Saurabh, a Ghaziabad-based real estate agent.
Mrudula Das is a 33-year-old ad agency professional and she believes that there will be a shift towards what she terms as the ‘new normal’. “We have always had real estate portals around us but I don’t think many of us used it the way that we will from now onwards,” she says. For a lot of home buyers, online information poses to be what they consider groundwork and research. Hereon, real estate portals and online services have a much greater role.
Over the last one year, digital methods of property selection and home buying, have grown like never before. “Even if everyone gets vaccinated, the digital medium is going to stay and get stronger. This is because it is a far more efficient and cost-effective way to check out your new home and invest. In the days to come, we may even reach a stage where home buyers will physically enter a new home, only after they purchase a property,” says Ravi Rakesh, a management professional in an e-commerce startup.
Take your home hunt online: Our data suggest that most prospective buyers had already switched to online portals for home searches. It is time you let such portals and their advisory sections help you make an informed decision. E.g. Housing.com is equipped with all that our users would need, to shortlist a dream home.
Choose from a range of properties: Typically, your choice of a home may be dependent upon recommendations from your friends and family or peer group. Housing.com has a robust database of listings and you can use filters to arrive at a home that matches your budget, preference and lifestyle.
Visualise better: Online portals give you sufficient time to sit back, go through listings, visualise each and every aspect of a dream home. Use this time to make decisions in the comfort of your home along with your family members.
Switch to discussion forums: Have questions? We have a dynamic discussion forum aimed to solve all your queries in no time. Simply log on to Indian Real Estate Forum and join the conversation with lakhs of other interested buyers.
Don’t forget to use the features: Did you know Housing.com can assist you with not just a choice of properties but a range of other features that will help you decide better? Take for example the following:
If you are a first-time buyer, confusions and indecisions are common. Our home-buying guide will help you cover the A-Z of the home buying journey. Simply refer to the buying guide to understand the journey better.
Buying a property in Whitefield, Bangalore? Use our price trends section to understand how prices have moved over the years and whether this may be the best time to buy in terms of price advantage. Also, use this section to see a range of properties and insights about the market. Price trends are available for both capital and rental markets.
It is important to understand how policy changes, prices and trends and infrastructure developments are affecting you and your home-buying plans. Use our news section to keep abreast with such developments.
We have simplified your home loan journey with our dedicated loan section. Through sharing information about home loan application process, documentation, processing fee, evaluation stage, bank investigation, credit score, assessment and valuation of property, registration of property and disbursement of loan, we have ensured that you are in the know of things. Use our EMI calculator to understand the financial dynamics better.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, the traditional way of home-hunting will lose its charm, especially because the business environment is already prepared to make subtle shifts to survive. In such a situation, digital launches may thrive and online real estate search and transactions will garner speed.
Keep your website updated: The internet is what will help you in times of the Coronavirus. Most of your consumers are not out on the streets but online, seeking and consuming relevant information. This is also the only way of research and update left for them. Make sure that you build a great online presence. Important information about sale, launches, amenities, payments, construction details, etc., will help your users make an informed decision.
Comply with RERA: Buyers make decisions based on the builder’s reputation and previous track history. The state Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has enabled potential buyers to do a thorough research of the real estate company, as well as the project they are interested in. Details about litigation, registration status and other information are also online. Make sure that you are transparent about it and your project is a registered one.
Team up with channel partners and brokers: A wider network will help you market better and to a wider audience. If your channel partner or broker has an online presence, this is the best time to make the most of it.
Answer public queries online: Queries may move online, too. A dedicated team that will help address customer grievances in real-time will be an important business strategy that you must not neglect.
Make the most of AR/VR: You can say that technology has always been anticipating sudden or gradual changes in people’s preferences. This is why the onrush of augmented reality and virtual reality may now seep into the smaller cities, as well. Make sure you are lending a great experience to your customers who are far away from you and the project.
Think beyond: The effects of this pandemic will surely affect your business. It is up to you how you prefer to bounce back. Think of new ways to ensure a safe and secure environment for customers who want to make house visits.
Anuj Khetan, director, Vijay Khetan Group, says: “We will be conducting a digital launch where we will accept requests and inquiries from customers online. We will then be providing time slots to the customers for site visits where there will be no crowd gathering but every customer will be attended one-on-one as per their respective allotted time.”
Dr Gaurav Singh, senior medical officer, Central Hospital, Central Coalfields Ltd and former resident, AIIMS-Bhubaneshwar, emphasises on the need to maintain the discipline that the states have enforced. “What is more crucial now is restraint and social distance. If there are buyers who have come across a good deal or a good property and intend to proceed, such buyers should take strict measures. However, do remember that at present, it is important to respect the imposed curfew.”
Home-buying in times of epidemics
- In a recent survey by London-based real estate agent company Benham and Reeves survey, 83% respondents said they would not abandon their home-buying plans due to COVID-19. The company also notes that during the flu outbreak in the United Kingdom between March 2009 and August 2010, home prices grew by 12.3%.
- During the outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong in 2003, property prices fell by 1.9% while transactions fell by 33% on average through the duration of the pandemic, Zillow Economic Research shows.
Some of the common questions that buyers and sellers usually ask are will property prices fall owing to Coronavirus, will prices see a ‘correction’, will home buying and selling stop, will the capital market lose to the rental market, etc. It is important to understand that the housing market will bounce back from the temporary phase of inaction.
Is it safe to buy a property now amidst coronavirus outbreak?
While it is not safe to go out, you can definitely go ahead and research about the property online. Some developers may also be agreeable to closing the sale online. Do make a decision given the local advisory in your state.
Is it safe to carry out transactions through real estate portals?
Absolutely! There are some reputed online real estate brands such as Housing.com that are in the business of real estate for long. These portals will help you with end-to-end service. If you are keen on a property, use their online services to make an informed choice.