Is proptech the future of real estate?
India has over 20 lakh licensed real estate consultants, but most are sought by word-of-mouth. MapMyHouse, a consult-tech platform, helps fill this gap.
The India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) estimates that Indian real estate will exceed $1 trillion in value by 2030 and contribute approximately 13 percent to its GDP by 2025. Property technology, or proptech has leapfrogged into a norm today. Technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning allows people to research, consult, and hire services more efficiently and intelligently.
All industries can benefit from technology, from developers to investors to freelancers to service providers to property managers. Taking advantage of the rapidly changing digital landscape while also meeting evolving consumption trends and patterns has opened up a whole new world of opportunity.
Harkaran Singh Boparai, Founder and CEO of MapMyHouse, discusses how proptech and his consult-tech platform is revolutionising the real estate industry at TechSparks 2022 - YourStory's flagship conference for startups and technologies.
Addressing the demand-supply mismatch
Setting the tone for the session, Harkaran questioned the audience about how many of them had to consult an architect, an interior designer, a Vastu consultant, or a landscape designer when designing a house. We do this often, but do we know how many consultants are there in the market today?
According to him, only licensed consultants account for more than 20 lakh real estate consultants in our country, but most people seek consultations by word of mouth. Currently, most proptech firms are focussed on end product delivery, but none on monetising on the existing talent. Hence, it is a valid question to ask how consumers can make an intelligent and practical decision about who the right architect or designer is for their next house. This is now a large grey area, which he termed as “radioactive mud”.
MMH enables real estate innovation
MapMyHouse is a real estate consultation platform that offers customers an easy, fast and affordable way to hire professionals such as architects, designers and other specialists.
MapMyHouse, claimed Harkaran, is the only company in the country that deals with consultancy because it has identified that the root to the right consultant is missing in the country. As a result, they have played an important role in connecting and monetising Indian talent, which is where proptech has radically changed the entire game.
According to his vision, a person from Bengaluru searching on MapMyHouse, should be able to connect with an architect residing in Moga in Punjab, and deliver the project. They aim to achieve that kind of synergy and democracy by taking advantage of proptech in the real estate sector and this will be key to changing the game.
Harkaran also highlighted that while many believe that proptech is a loss making endeavour, customised solutions are the key to unlocking the space and a profitable endeavour to take forward.
Furthermore, he also explained that proptech cannot operate solely online, whether it is through subscription models or through a very focused marketplace to provide consulting services, also known as fiverr for consultants in B2B systems. However, in the B2C space, the goal will be to serve the users in our country so that they can find the right consultants for their needs.
The power of AI and big data
Artificial intelligence (AI) will be the key to decoding the future of proptech and disrupting the real estate sector. With their focus on data, MapMyHouse partners with consultants in the sector across the country and puts them on their platform, creating a search engine based on AI and MI that extracts data points and suggests the right consultant according to the user's location and needs.
Harkaran referred to this space as consult-tech and explained that investing in proptech will be successful only if you act as a means to achieve results rather than as the results themselves. In this case, MapMyHouse will still be able to make money and continue to offer freelancing and consultancy services, since they will continue to evolve and act as a means rather than an end result.
IoT to save you time and money
Harkaran wraps up the discussion stating, "In proptech, you have to offer solutions that are homogeneous, and your platform should be able to operate on its own with less involvement from humans, and that is exactly what MapMyHouse hopes to achieve in the coming year. The focus remains on growing the community and developing a healthy database of consultants and partners."