Real estate flash sales: What’s in it for home buyers?

Flash sales on clothing, mobiles, electronics and now, real estate! We look at what this emerging trend in the Indian realty market means, for home buyers

‘Flash sales’, which have become commonplace in Indian ecommerce platforms, now seem to be gaining traction in the real estate industry as well. An event last year, titled India Realty Flash Sales, saw participation from numerous reputed developers in the industry. Nevertheless, some builders also opted to stay out of this online property sale, as they felt that it could be viewed as an extreme step to market their properties.

Sajid Ali, director of Sumansa Exhibitions, which organises the Indian Property Show, points out that “Real estate is not a commodity; it is an asset-based investment. People who sell properties on heavy discount, are desperate to offload their unsold stock, to raise liquidity. In most cases, these properties are not Vastu-compliant. Moreover, there is no buying that happens completely online, unlike the case with mobile phones, cameras or garments. It is merely a creative way to generate leads.”

For potential customers, flash sales can offer a wide range of properties – from homes that are being auctioned, to new projects that are launched exclusively on the online platform. Moreover, the discounts offered on properties, in such sales, can be quite substantial. For example, when the concept was initially launched, the hosting website had a special offer for 24 to 36 hours, where its visitors could get a discount of Rs 50 lakhs on a property worth Rs 4.75 crores. Flash sales may also incorporate the concept of e-vouchers, offering discounts in the range of 10-20%. Under such schemes, the buyer has to book the property online and in return, s/he will receive a voucher that can be redeemed later. The buyer can take the final decision, on whether to buy the property or not, later.

See also: Are Online Property Sales Really Beneficial to Home Buyers?

Real estate experts have mixed opinions on the merits of creating a platform that may or may not generate actual sales. “Online flash sales of real estate, are primarily another form of customer outreach program,” maintains Anil Saraf, CMD of the ASF Group. From a conventional perspective, one could well question the sustainability of such methodologies, he says.

“However, the behaviour and profile of customers, has gradually changed over the recent past, wherein, virtual transactions appear to be fostering higher confidence. It is still early days to comment on the impact that flash sales will have, in the long run. With changing demographics and user preferences, we can expect more such innovative methods for customer outreach and some of them may eventually prevail,” he elaborates.

Another benefit of flash sales, for buyers as well as developers, is transparency. With no real estate broker involved between the seller and buyer of online property, the trust deficit of offering best prices can be bridged.

Selling properties through the online medium, also increases the engagement between the sellers and the buyers. The medium also serves to boost the awareness about real estate developers in the market.

Buying real estate, involves a high level of involvement and includes a prolonged decision-making process, based on multiple evaluation parameters, explains Anil Kumar, CMO of “Unlike other mass-produced goods, the property offerings – in terms of their location, expected time of delivery, builder’s reputation and price, are non-standardised. Flash sales, by their very nature, focus on price. Hence, in real estate, only a very small section of buyers – those who have already made up their mind about the particular project on offer, may end up using the opportunity provided by special deals. After all, you are not going to invest your life savings in the cheapest deal going around” Kumar sums up.


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