If you have moved to a new city, finding a suitable accommodation that suits your taste and your budget is a big challenge. And the house broker is not the most popular person despite the services they offer. This is the most pertinent problem that Housing.co.in is trying to solve. Housing.co.in is a location based listing of property available for rent that has a mobile website, an Android app, an
iPhone app and a desktop website.Currently restricted to Mumbai, it gives the user a list of properties available for rent in a particular location. Housing.co.in brings a technology interface between the broker and the house hunter and is easy to use. Consumers get to see listings which they can select on their own merit, without having to rely on brokers' recommendations that may have inherent biases. While users do not pay anything to use the services, Housing.co.in sustains itself through subscriptions from brokers for listing property.
Advitiya Sharma, one of 12 co-founders at Housing.co.in spoke to YourStory about this venture. Advitiya and the co-founders all belong to IIT B. And besides being the founding members, they also double up as developers, designers, analysts, economists and takeout critics. Based in Mumbai, the team is toiling hard to make Housing.co.in the best real estate deals portal in the world. “We realised property searching would benefit from a portal that works on the move. So our strategy has been to have a strong mobile presence, along with a web presence,” explains Advitiya.
Is it effective?
There is no dearth of real estate portals in India. A simple top of mind recall, gives us fives names that do exactly what Housing.co.in does. Here’s what we think works against Housing.co.in –
1) Too many competitors – A Google search about property on rent in a certain location will give you a fair idea about this. From dedicated real estate portals to larger players like OLX and Quikr, there are too many people in the business of listing property.
2) Small list of property to choose from – As an early stage startup, the options available on Housing.co.in is hardly comparable with the likes of 99acres.com or Magicbricks.com.
But that is not deterring the founders from their task. Here are some differentiators which we feel gives Housing.co.in an advantage.
1) Great user experience – It is unlike any other real estate portal that we’ve seen. Tastefully designed and well integrated with a maps utility, the Housing.co.in website is much easier to use and find property than other portals.
2) Mobile presence - Between its mobile site and its apps, it caters to most mobile based use cases that property searching will have. There are more mobile internet users in India than desktop, so having a mobile presence is a good idea. The attention to design and usability is evident through the app as well. (From a geek’s perspective, the experience on the mobile site is almost like a native app. Well done!)
3) A simple business model – The broker subscription model is very simple to execute when compared to other online business models. Through some good selling, Housing.co.in can effectively tap the opportunities in real estate by bringing what has largely been
an offline, into the online space.It holds promise
Building a great product seems to be the highest priority for the team. Even the information about properties listed on the site is collected and curated by a data collection team. As idealistic as this approach sounds, its actually very pragmatic. The internet, desktop and mobile, has come of age and users can differentiate between a good website or an app apart from another. There is increased user affinity to well designed products and that might just work in favour of Housing.co.in.
With the right kind of funds and good management practices while scaling up, Housing.co.in can disrupt this emerging space. Will it? Let’s wait and watch.
Check out Housing.co.in
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