Hire a foreign broker to buy a home

Written by Mona Mehta | Mumbai, Jan 27 | Updated: Jan 28 2008, 06:49am hrs
Home buyers in India can soon hire the services of branded property consultants from abroad. Indias $12-billion real estate market is expected to witness the entry of top foreign consultants who would act as brokers on a franchisee basis for those wanting to buy homes.

According to sources, US-based Century 21, ColdWell Banker and Canada-based Remax are planning to arrive big time in India in 2008. This follows the recent entry of Australias $30-billion LJ Hooker.

Says Ramneek Bakhshi, principal, LJ Hooker, We are planning to set up 15 franchisee-operated branded home-broker offices in India in 2008 for buyers in cities such as Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Delhi and Mumbai, and recruit fresh young talent (from the national and international markets apart from the gen-next within the traditional brokers community) for buying and selling flats.

Explains Bakhshi, In India, there are 5 lakh brokers and sub-brokers who charge about 2% brokerage both from buyers and sellers in a residential property deal. But LJ Hooker will spare buyers brokerage and charge sellers 95% of the usual fees. This will encourage the young to buy 3 to 4 properties that can get them good returns on investments in the long-term. In Australia, LJ Hooker has around 500 offices. Close to 1.5 million home buyers visit the companys site every month, Bakhshi adds.

Once these international home brokers enter India, the traditional brokers will either have to become branded brokers, or enter some other business, he said.

LJ Hooker also plans to provide rental services to its clients staying abroad clients who just dont know how to maintain their existing properties in India. Plans are also on the anvil to provide services such as selling home loans, property management and project management.