From investment banking to realty, Nibhrant Shah places his bet on luxury

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Nibhrant Shah’s Isprava makes owning a luxury villa in Goa and the Nilgiris a hassle-free experience.

When Nibhrant Shah moved to India, a quick getaway to Goa was just the ticket.

“The land of contrasts that Goa is… I wanted a home there. I wasn’t impressed with the cookie cutter homes that lacked a feeling of exclusivity and authenticity, hence I decided what cannot be found, must be created,” says the former investment banker and Kellog School of Business alumnus.

With a clear idea of what he wanted as his holiday home, Nibhrant, who has worked in the New York and the London, searched architects and interior designers from around the world. He cold-called over 200 of them before finalising on Berlin-based firm Patzschke and Partner.

“Because of his love for Goa, I was fortunate to have Robert Patzchke design my home, Villa Branco in Goa. I ended up selling the house to a founder of an airline company and realised the potential of a business. This began the Isprava story, to build a business I needed people who could understand my vision and hence I started looking out for young, dynamic and inquisitive people,” explains Nibhrant.

Started in 2013, Isprava specialises in design and construction of luxury holiday homes in Goa and Nilgiris. A typical Isprava home is designed by international designers, comes fully furnished with antique furniture from durbars and palaces, and is maintained by a property management team on the owner’s behalf.

Incidentally, Nibhrant’s first venture in India was accounting and finance firm Themis, which helps startups and SMEs with funding, and their accounting, finance and taxation requirements.

Team @ Isprava

Working on luxury

Being a niche luxury player in the real estate space, Isprava faces many challenges, with the first being templating luxury.

Luxury means different things to different people, and this makes it imperative for the team to understand a luxury buyer’s mindset to be able deliver on point.

At the same time, making the purchase experience seamless entails a transparent process, up to date paper work and documentation, on time completion of projects, fully approved land clearances and adherence to every guideline.

The team claims to have two lawyers to oversee the paperwork for each plot, and only when both individually clear the plot does the team move ahead with purchasing it.

“We then select the plot(s) we want to purchase based on the location (we build in North Goa in areas including Assagaon, Siolim, Morjim, Anjuna, and some parts of Nerul), and topography/view of the plot (we buy a mix of flat plots/plots with a mild gradient and plots with views of a field, or forest, or a river in some cases),” explains Nibhrant.

Building with history

It takes 15-18 months to construct and deliver a fully-furnished home that is ready to move in. The company builds homes inspired by the history of Goa, with Portuguese/European inspired architecture and aesthetics. The construction typically has load-bearing walls with laterite stone, which keeps the homes cool, as also custom designed handcrafted flooring.

An Isprava Villa

Market dynamics

Recent macroeconomic factors have spelled bad news for the luxury housing market. A report by Liases Foras Real Estate Rating and Research Pvt Ltd, published in the Mint newspaper, stated the government’s demonetisation move in November 2016 hit luxury projects more than the affordable and mid-segment homes.

However, that has not deterred players like DLF and Prestige Group, among others, who are foraying into the luxury housing segment. A report by Sotheby Realty said over 6 percent of the world’s ultra high net worth individuals have relocated their primary residences to the country different from their birth. And India is one of the top destinations.

The future

“From selling just a couple of homes in our first two years, we sold four large homes in our third year and have already sold over 15 homes in the current year to date, with a lot more in the pipeline. More importantly, people now trust that Isprava will deliver a fantastic home in the agreed upon time frame and most of our homes now get sold pre-construction or at the early stages of construction,” says Nibhrant.

Villas in Goa are priced in the range of Rs 3 crore to Rs 25 crore, while homes in Nilgiri cost between Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 10 crore.

Isprava also helps investors rent or lease out homes.

The company has received funding from Anand Piramal, the Executive Director of the Piramal Group and Godrej Industries Managing Director Nadir Godrej along with senior global investment bankers, hedge fund managers, global family offices and private equity fund managers.

While Isprava hasn’t divulged the funding amount, a report by Business World suggests the amount to be approximately $2 million.

“In just a few years, we have been fortunate enough to celebrate tremendous success. Without losing focus on Goa and the Nilgiris, we intend to expand further across India, and aspire to go to international destinations as well. The Isprava story has only just begun,” says Nibhrant.

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