Biju Ashokan, Metroplots.com - an online Advisory firm for Property investors
Metroplots.com is an online Advisory firm for Property investors who want to invest in New Residential Projects. Services offered by Metroplots include Property Analysis, Site visits, Home Loans, Property Booking. YourStory spoke to the founder Biju Ashokan to learn more about Metroplots and the real estate marketing space in India.Tell us more about Metroplots.
We have an end-to-end service model where we partner with some of the leading Developers and Banks in the country to provide options for our investors, give our unbiased recommendations, co-ordinate site visits, arrange home loans from the preferred banking company & provide after-sales support. We also support independent home loan applications who have found their property through other means.
When was this started? Why was this started? Team size? Are you looking at hiring?
Our operations started in August, 2009. We saw a need for transparent recommendations for property investors as their options have grown from few to plenty. We also saw a need for a one-stop shop solution provider who can help with the entire process of Real Estate buying. Our team size is 12 and we are looking at increasing our team size to 15 in Chennai and set up shop in Bangalore as well.
How big is the market that you are tapping into?
A minimum of 500 sales happen every month in each city. We wish to capture market share with our novel and transparent approach to Real Estate advisory.
Who are your competitors?
Real Estate division of Banks, Realtors and some online players.
What are your market differentiators?
FREE OF CHARGE TRANSPARENT ADVISORY - We are amongst the very few online end-to-end services in the Real Estate advisory industry. We believe in providing as much information about every Residential Project as possible to our customers which includes advantages and mainly disadvantages of each project. Our target audience mainly comprises of IT Professionals, Business owners & NRIs who are otherwise busy to spend time on collecting information and making a decision. Hence, our advisory approach is different when compared to the more traditional ways of Real Estate Sales in its sophistication and process. And all these services are free of cost for the property investor.
BULK BOOKING DISCOUNTS – We even provide a discount to investors by grouping interested buyers for the same project who otherwise would not know each other. So, apart from being free of cost, we also go an extra mile by saving money for our investors.
REFERRAL PROGRAM – We have an active referral payout for people who refer their friends, relatives or colleagues to us for investments. All they have to do is refer and we will take care of the rest.
CONSTRUCTION UPDATES – We are the first online player to create groups for each project for communicating project updates like latest photographs and price updates to all investors of that project. This feature is most useful for NRIs and professionals who don’t have the time to go to the site every time they want to know the status of the project.
What are the challenges that a new entrant faces in this market?
The initial challenge was gaining credibility amongst property investors as these are expensive investments unlike other e-commerce retail products. This comes over time and word of mouth. Since sales numbers are almost zero in the beginning, it’s almost impossible to work with the leading Developers and Banks from the start.
What are the services that you offer? Explain in detail.
Property Analysis: Instead of you personally going to different builders and developers enquiring about the projects (or) browsing through the newspapers for latest advertisements of new projects, just come to us. Give us a call or an email or just drop in to our office. We will provide you with all your options, advantages and disadvantages of each project and our recommendation based on the demand that we have witnessed.
Site visits: Our Relationship Manager will personally accompany you to all the shortlisted sites and explain the architecture and construction of each project. We will also provide you with details of the location such as schools and colleges nearby, hospitals nearby, etc.
Home Loans: We can fix you up with home loans, if you are seeking one. We will collect the necessary documents, process it and let you know how much loan you can avail and get it disbursed as soon as possible for your property purchase to move smoothly.
Property Booking: We will take you to the Sales head of the respective Developer and hand over your advance payment to book your dream property.
Construction updates: We provide an online platform for our customers to check the latest progress, photographs and other updates about the project they have invested in.
What are the challenges that you are facing now?
Recruitment new personnel for a start-up has always been a problem. But, we survive that with a really good current team of professionals who share the vision of the company.
Have you been funded? Are you looking at funding?
We have raised our first round of funding from angel investors. Please check the following link for their profiles. http://metroplots.com/investors/ . We will be looking at a second round of funding soon to expand to multiple cities.
What is your revenue model?
We get paid a service charge for each sale from the builder and each home loan disbursal from the banking company. We don’t rely on advertising fees.
Let us know your expansion plans.
Once we capture market share in Chennai, we intend to move to all metros in India and keep improving our website in order to provide more information online.
Anything else you want to tell us.
Our team is young, vibrant and mostly freshers. Everyone in our company is less than 25 except for our CEO. Real Estate and Banking are two industries dominated by experienced and senior folks. We intend to change that by making it more interesting with a good combination of technology and offline services.
Check out Metroplots here : http://metroplots.com/
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