[ecis2016.org] We look at how the availability of information online, from developers, as well as through various government policies aimed at boosting transparency, has resulted in a growing marketplace for real estate on the internet and what this means for property seekers
In today’s digital world, online buying has become a norm. The online marketplace is so vast that there is hardly anything left out of its ambit. From a pack of noodles, or clothing to even jewellery, almost anything can be bought through online marketplaces.
You are reading: 5 reasons why online home booking is here to stay
With easy access to mobile data on smartphones, combined with platforms for secure online transaction, consumers have been exposed to a new channel of buying at the convenience of a click of a button. In the case of the real estate industry, consumers are predominantly more accustomed to the old practices of word-of-mouth or visiting the actual site, before making a buying decision. However, this is also slowly changing. With various benefits offered by the online medium for home booking, there is a deviation from the old pattern and a new trend can be seen, where online bookings and payments have risen in numbers.
1. Government policies like RERA give a boost to due diligence
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With the government enacting consumer-friendly policies, such as the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), it is mandatory for every developer to register their housing project with the authorities and provide certain specific details, for the benefit of home buyers. The consumer also has an option to check the credentials, reputation and the delivery track record of the builder, by researching online, before investing their hard-earned money in a project.
2. 24×7 availability of online bookings eliminate barriers of distance and time
The biggest advantage of online bookings, is the fact that it is available to the consumer 24×7. All one needs, is an internet connection, to book a dream home. The proliferation of mobile devices with strong data connectivity across the country, has become a boon for consumers to make online purchases. This eliminates the need to visit a particular premises, to make payments. One can book a home by logging in and making the payment online.
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3. Developers turn to technology to project transparency and woo customers
In a bid to project themselves as transparent to their consumers, developers are now offering the exact floor plans or specifications of homes online. Certain developers have even gone ahead and leveraged technology, to provide a 360-degree overview of residential projects and are also using virtual reality walkthroughs and interactive online chat desks, which provide consumers with ample information.
4. Online availability of sale agreements and home loan documentation, a boon for buyers
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For consumers, especially first-time home buyers, heaps of paperwork involved in buying a home, can be daunting. Confusion, over the various types of documentation required and whether one has the completed the required paperwork, can derail the overall home buying experience. However, with much of this information now available online, this whole complicated process is made simple. This means that customers can conveniently pay the booking amount online and complete the other formalities later.
5. Attractive rates on online pre-booking of properties
The developers usually look to generate maximum sales for their housing project initially and resort to special offers, such as lower interest rates, discounts, freebies, etc., on pre-booking of properties. In such a scenario, pre-booking a home can be one of the smartest and affordable ways of owning a home. To facilitate this, developers offer the option to home buyers to book their home, by paying an initial price online and paying the rest through installments.
(The writer is the chairman and managing director, Central Park)
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