There have been a lot of deal sites cropping up of late but one which dabbles into real estate hasn't been seen much. Dealmela.in, started by Shivarama, a Chartered accountant and an ex-banker along with Subbu who handles sales and Uma who oversees IT/Admin is one such site which offers real estate deals. Yourstory.in caught up with Shivarama to know more about it.Tell us about DealMela.in in brief.
DealMela was launched in the last week of Nov 2011 with the objective of doing a Groupon in the Real Estate space viz. providing builders with a platform to dispose off their surplus inventory in a limited time bound sale while providing individual buyers a forum to aggregate and leverage collective buying power in real estate negotiations.
How does it work
Step 1: Browse through properties available
Step 2: Show interest and complete registration
Step 3: Offer goes live when a certain number people express interest
Step 4: The interested person will be contacted
Step 5: Pay token to book the place
For buyers – DealMela seeks to empower buyers to benefit from buying in bulk. Discounts to a group of enlisted buyers is a common occurrence.
For sellers - DealMela allows sellers i.e. builders with a potent tool to make a quick sale to a group of buyers who have aggregated with an intent to buy albeit at a discount. DealMela also provides sellers the platform to reach out to a large section of buyers at zero upfront cost.
The DealMela value proposition
DealMela deals in four segments on a pan - India basis viz. residential apartments, luxury villas, plots/land, holiday/ second homes. Limited properties are listed for sale allowing buyers to express their interest and evince an intention to purchase. A significant discount is guaranteed only if a minimum number eventually sign up.
[ A look and feel of the DealMela portal]
How did you land upon this idea?
The initial idea was to do a groupon in Real Estate. Our own frustrations in negotiating with builders while purchasing homes was the driving factor. The escalation in property prices, especially that of residential apartments in metros, has played havoc with the finances of middle class families in all metros.
Incidentally, group booking is prevalent among communities (such as Jains, Marwaris, etc) and associates (Employees of nationalised banks, members of housing societies,etc). However, these are highly localised and relationship driven. With technology breaking these boundaries, we knew that group buying, rather group booking, can shift the balance of power from the sellers (moneyed builders) to buyers (hapless buyers in this case) and hence DealMela happened.
Did you bootstrap? How do you plan to go ahead on this front?
We pooled in our limited resources to have our site up and running. We intend to remain independent currently and do not intend to seek any funding at this stage. However, we are keen to join hands with individuals/ businesses who can work as affiliates/ agents/ franchisees on a commission sharing basis.
How do you source deals?
We called call builders with our proposition which has met with a fair degree of success. Within a span of 15 days, we have sourced and listed 8 attractive deals on our site in Mumbai alone. We intend to enlist affiliates/ agents across India who could use our platform at a nominal cost and get free buyer leads.
What is your revenue model?
We have a flat / fee based revenue model i.e. we charge a token amount for listing besides commission on every sale.
How do you market DM?
We had a soft launch in the last week of November through an online press release. We intend to use google ads, online banners and mailers to advertise our offering.
What are the obstacles in this field?
Given the obvious disincentive in passing a discount to a select group, builders are reluctant to hop on to a group booking platform. Convincing builders on the merits of our offering is a challenge. Nevertheless, we do hope to enlighten the real estate builder community on the key economic rationale behind bulk sales which can help them tide over the current liquidity crises owing to slowdown in sales. In any case, group booking is a convenient and transparent way of giving discounts which has become a norm rather than the exception in these tough times!
We wish DealMela all the very best and do drop in any questions you have in the comments section.