For the tech-savvy, home buying now begins online

Jun 21 2014, 12:18 IST
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Real estate queries on Google search have been growing consistently registering over 3x growth in the last three years. Real estate queries on Google search have been growing consistently registering over 3x growth in the last three years.
SummaryProperty portals have taken the lead as the first port of call for property purchase decisions.

57 per cent in tier-I cities. In addition to Pune, the other tier-II cities where buyers are actively searching for property on the internet are Lucknow, Jaipur, Indore, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Kanpur, Surat and Ahmedabad.

“The buyers’ profile has changed drastically over the years. Now, the age group of 28-38 are the major buyers and prefer to make preliminary choices online and follow it up with the physical visits to the sites of projects. All the leading developers are in tune with this trend,” says Manish Agarwal, managing director, Satya Group and secretary, Credai-NCR.

The Google study says that over 40 per cent of property-related searches are done through smartphones and mobile queries are doubling every year. Of this, 73 per cent have used a mobile app to aid their search.

“Mobile and tablet-friendly websites have already become the norms in the sector. Plus, there is a need to keep them in tune with latest website or portal technology. Without strong content, any website having latest technology can prove to be all glamour, no substance,” adds Agarwal.

“With increasing internet usage, making a website that is friendly to smartphone or tablets users has now become a critical part of our website management. We have included property details like pricing, location, recent launches, construction updates, 3D project walkthroughs in details which are very user friendly,” says David Walker, executive director, Sare Homes.

Some developers too are gearing up and defining the USP of their project in order to leverage keywords, the ultimate factor that determines the ranking of a search result.

“Real estate developers with a clear USP — such as projects in exciting new locations or within the affordable housing price bracket — have clear advantage if they leverage the power of keyword searches properly,” says Sachin Agarwal, chairman and managing director, Maple Shelters, a Pune-based developer.

While internet-ready technology is at various stages of adoption among developers, buyers are flocking to the websites of real estate portals for their information needs, with some 62 per cent of traffic directed to what Google calls “aggregators” in its report.

Property portals are gearing up to meet the challenge by collecting more data and placing it in the public domain, says Advitiya Sharma, co-founder and marketing head, Housing.com, a two-year old start-up for whom it has been a steep learning curve.

“It is great to see how buyers’ house selection process has been refined. More than 75 per cent

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