The property market may be going through a slowdown but the enthusiasm among real-estate start-ups refuses to die down as they try to solve the pain points of buying a home in India. Founded by Subhash Bedi, chairman and MD, Rising Straits Capital, and Arjun Basu, co-founder of Mydala, Doorkeys.com went live in September to bring buyer-seller negotiation online.
“The property market is in distress with massive inventory overhang, liquidation of which is set to accelerate. Doorkeys enables this by giving buyer the ability to negotiate and close the purchase at their own price,” says Arjun Basu, founder and CEO, Doorkeys.
Doorkeys claims that it is different from other platforms such as MagicBricks, 99acres, and Housing.com as it does not charge a listing fee from the agent or the property developer them but earns a commission of about 1.5% of the transaction value, once the sale is completed. The start-up wants to operate beyond the search aspect of property and migrate the other aspects of property buying to the platform. It believes that for negotiation to take place, online confidence among the parties is important.
“One of the reasons why people are scared to initiate a dialogue with the seller is because they are not comfortable sharing their phone number. We provide a spam-free environment to our consumers to choose, negotiate and transact with the seller,” said Biju Menon, head of sales and alliance at Doorkeys.
Property buying is a complicated project and involvement of an agent or broker is necessary to draft the agreement, check the process with the registrar, and facilitate the sale. “Through technology we can improve the services of the broker to a point where the consumer starts appreciating the former’s role in the transaction,” said Menon.
Doorkeys allows the consumer to select an agent based on the reviews posted by other customers. The company has tied with up analytic firm Experian to organise the credit rating of brokers. “I will not keep an agent on my platform who is not rated well. The only way I can do that is by not charging them money so I am under no obligation to rate them higher,” said Menon.
Pricing of the property or the gap between the market price and the demand price is a major concern for buyers. Doorkeys enables the buyer to check the price that is being quoted for the property sellers and the price that the customers are willing to pay for that. This gives a buyer an idea about the market price of the property.
Just a month into operations, Doorkeys has an employee strength of 50 at its corporate office in Delhi. “We have a very compact team but by March we are planning to have 80-90 people in our team,” Menon added.
Doorkeys will be present in Bengaluru by March and explore Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad by April-June quarter in 2017. Menon added that Delhi-NCR will continue to be the largest market. The company has 4,100 agents across Delhi-NCR who handle direct communication with the clients. Currently it is focusing only on the primary market, i.e., properties put on sale for the first time. Transactions in secondary or pre-owned properties is expected to take off in February next year. By January, Doorkeys plans to develop an application for training the agents. By April, it also plan to incorporate virtual reality technology to enable buyers to have a virtual look at the property.
The start-up claims to witness around 30,000 visits every month. According to it, 1,037 people have made an offer to buy a house listed on Doorkeys in September. So far, 14 deals have been finalised and about 270 are pending. Menon pegs the average market value of a property listed on its site at R80 lakh. Doorkeys is targeting 800 transactions for the current fiscal and aims to grow to 10,000 transactions by the end of FY18.