Homeshikari, a TTK Services company trying to crack the real estate problem by shunning the brokerage model
TTK Group is an old family business which was formed in 1928. Its services wing acts as a modern-day incubator. Starting out with YourManInIndia, a concierge service back in the early 2000's, YMII has grown multifold and is still responsible for a lot of outsourced work getting done. YMII had branched out into GetFriday which gives a personal virtual assistant and is targeted towards the NRIs. TTK services has a 300-member strong team and a huge chunk of it comprises foot-soldiers.
It was in 2011 that TTK Services Pvt Ltd thought of executing their plan about solving the real estate problem in Bangalore, with HomeShikari. Based out of the city, the company already had many employees whose job entailed them to visit houses, and the problem of real estate was pretty much obvious in Bangalore. Sunder P., a veteran who has been with TTK Services for more than a decade is at the helm for HomeShikari and has guided operations over the last two years.
Internet startups in the real estate space have seen a recent burst with the likes of MagicBricks, 99Acres, etc. who have been present for a while, and the newer venture funded startus like Proptiger and Housing. “We saw that brokers are a huge part of the whole real estate domain and also a reason why there is a lack of transparency,” says Sunder. HomeShikari claims to have pioneered the concept of verified listing where they check each property being listed and provide the photos, videos and a detailed review of each property.
HomeShikari has a paid listing wherein they charge a homeowner, and plans start at Rs 1,000 for 2 months. Homeshikari neither has ads on the site nor does it take brokerage. Sunder gives me a very apt definition of a broker - 'Anyone with connections, some money, and a lot of time at hand, can become a broker in India. Your local kiranawala also doubles up as a broker many a times. The aim is to move away from this and have houses on the portal which are completely trustworthy.'
HomeShikari gets upwards of 75,000 unique visitors a month and a check on the site for each of the individual, rent and builders tabs shows more than 40,000 properties listed. HomeShikari also has more than 200 builders listed on the site. Another useful feature that HomeShikari has is the ability a user has to search via a map:
HomeShikari has been able to build a good base in Bangalore. And it is now looking to expand into other cities for which it’ll be raising a round of funding. “We believe that India hasn’t reached the inflection point in real estate yet, and there’s a lot that remains to be done to organise this humongous sector,” concludes Sunder.