Buyers confined indoors, realtors switch online to conduct businesses

There would be gradual movement in digital queries from discerning home buers in both India and from abroad.
As people forced to stay at home, major property developers are using online channels to conduct their business and answer customer enquiries.

Vikas Oberoi, chairman at Mumbai-based Oberoi Realty, says they've concluded two deals online and fielded 15-odd enquiries, too. “Online channels can be a good instrument to push sales in these times,” he said.

Doing so is crucial, as absorption and launches of housing units are down 42 per cent each in the first quarter of the current calendar year, property consultant Anarock said on Friday. This was despite festivals such as Gudi Padva and Navratri, an important period in Maharashtra for property sale.

The Hiranandani group of developers also had some deals seeing online closure.

“In such a challenging and uncertain scenario, we are trying innovative systems to keep the business afloat. Technology-embedded task is the new fuel for us. In a lockdown and social distancing scenario, online business communication is the best available option,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, co-founder and managing director.

In this uncertain scenario, he said, there would be gradual movement in digital queries from discerning home buers in both India and from abroad. “As we already have online response teams in place, we are always available to attend to a client query.”

He felt a fifth of annual business would be affected with the COVID-19 scare. "There is an (already) existing problem with the liquidity crisis. Given the economic meltdown, companies might have to strengthen their product line to remain in the game," he said.

Bengaluru-based Puravankara is seeing a surge in online queries from existing customers, apart from new enquiries, said Ashish Puravankara, managing director. “With regard to the new enquiries, our team is ensuring all the details and specifications are provided over call/email/WhatsApp or video calls. We have scaled up chat services and are hoping that once the situation gets better, online queries from new customers will start increasing," he said.

He added: “It might take a while for queries to see an upward tick. Again, customer sentiment is what will play a major role.”

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