This may sound a bit cynical, but is fast turning to be fact that real estate or property websites in India are fast losing their charm. Unfortunately this is happening at a time when internet users in India are going to increase exponentially and more are and more people are switching over to wireless devices for their regular daily needs. It is a time when real estate websites in India should be consolidating; however they are losing their focus.
The moot reason for this is the initial thought process or purpose of these websites which has been to generate leads, more leads and only leads. The entire thought process behind the property websites in India has been from the builders or brokers perspective; as to how to attract prospective buyers and then pass on or share this information with builders/brokers at a cost.
It needs to be understood that property is not like purchasing apples and oranges which one is going to consume and then again fall back to the market for purchase. Buying property is a one, two or max three time activity for any middle class family in its entire life cycle. This implies that same marketing techniques cannot be used which are applicable for other sectors.
For example, what is the point of bombarding a user with property e-mailers every day, just because he has happened to registered on one of the property websites? Once he has already bought the desired property that’s the end of it. Are we expecting a user to keep buying property every month? At the end of the day the real estate market only end up alienating users with such activities and it leads to what is called as ‘withdrawal symptoms’ in medical terminology.
The user is smart these days, he understands that he is getting these property e-mailers because he registered on one of the property websites; feels cheated that his email address has been made public, an intrusion of his privacy; in the bargain property websites in general lose their credibility. Further, a smart user masquerades an e-mail address and uses it to shortlist his desired property; his fictitious e-mail address is treated as a potential lead by all and sundry in the real estate domain, shared and sold a number of times.
Who is the winner in this game – no one; infact all are losers; the user has lost faith on the real estate websites; the property trends in India are unable to generate genuine leads – the very purpose for which they were established.It is high time that real estate websites in India do some introspection. If real estate websites are looking at cashing on the digital growth in India they need to reorganise and feed the user with information which he desires rather than what the real estate market wants to throw at him. The real estate websites need to act as a bridge and enabler for investor or end users and not as agents for the real estate market.