What really comes to your mind when you think of the term real estate broker? Chances are that while you may envision him as someone offering assistance in house hunting, his role as a broker or an agent may still not be taken as seriously.

Such a mindset, of course, stands in sharp contrast to the perception held internationally where real estate agents and brokers are more involved in the entire process of buying or selling a house. In India, even though the concept is in its initial stages, the role of experienced real estate brokers in influencing key buying decisions cannot be ruled out.

In fact, what acts as a major deterrent is the fact that there are no licensing norms yet in place for agents and brokers in India. At present, a real estate agent in India does not require any kind of certification to operate in the market.

Which is why a number of misfired transactions occur at every level. Says Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj (JLLM): “In more evolved markets abroad, an agent’s reliability can be established by checking the agent’s references through the relevant city’s Real Estate Agents Association. Though India does have such associations, they do not operate from an overall governance platform. When such governing bodies finally become mandatory in India, the market will become far more transparent.”

Real estate agents, in India and abroad, are key influences in the decision to buy a desired property. They advertise available properties, thus sparking a lot of buyer interest and also encourage ‘window shopping’ for property buyers to make a firm purchase decision vis-a-vis the properties they are brokering.

Atul Mehrotra, director, marketing, Uppal Housing, feels that the services of real estate agents and brokers cannot be undermined as they can ease the entire process of buying or selling real estate. “There is a vast difference in the services in India and abroad. Internationally, agents and brokers are well aware of the laws and rules that need to be followed. India is yet to adapt itself to the international levels of real estate brokerage.”

The difference in quality and customer satisfaction is visible in other countries where rules and regulations comply. While reliable real estate consultants abroad play a guiding role, in India they have to assume a greater burden of risk and responsibility attached to each transaction. Manhattan Properties, a leading UK-based property development company, for instance, is big-time into high-end property deals.

Superna Sethi, director of business development and finance, Manhattan Properties, UK, elaborates on the many roles she performs to get cracking on the right deal. “I have to wear many hats, so to speak.

Searching for properties that need complete refurbishment and have the potential for Manhattan, liaise with surveyors and lawyers to get the deal rolling, arranging the land loan and development bank finance directly with various lenders and ensuring that the property when purchased runs to budget and time frame are some of the tasks. Besides this, interior designing of each apartment, sales and marketing by either selling the property or renting them through our own contacts or via reputable estate agents is also very much a part of my key role!”

In the Indian context, the necessary and logical step that can help is licensing. Initiation of licensing norms or governing bodies is necessary to allow for greater transparency in the system. Says B P Dhaka, COO, Parsvnath Developers: “Agents are the most important interfaces, who provide ready market knowledge and disseminate the quantum information to the prudential buyer. If licensing can ensure transparency and accountability, then it is worth it.”

Adds Avneesh Sood, director, Eros: “Licensing of real estate agents and brokers is the need of the hour in India to streamline all processes involved in property dealing — right from buying, leasing, transfer and sale of properties. Their role is important as they are the vital link between builders, developers, customers and investors.”

There can be a lot of intricate angles in any transaction that may or may not be evident to a lay buyer. An agent or a broker can thus chip in to act as the necessary intermediary between the developer and the end-user. And even though the role of a broker in India may take some time to get on par with his counterpart abroad, his experience can greatly contribute in capitalising on any purchase to the optimum extent possible. Anuj Puri sums it up aptly,

“Trying to wade through the technicalities involved in a property transaction without an experienced property consultant would be like fighting a legal case in court without a lawyer. In the absence of professionals who can map the terrain and make it traverseable, it would surely be a bumpy way ahead!”

Economic times
11 nov, '07
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  • Information

    That was really an informative one. The unorganised nature of real estate is really the main problem facing theindian real estate sector, the same is true in the case of most of the developing countries.
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  • help

    what are real estate products available in the market
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