From driving autos to make ends meet, this man became a real estate developer and delivered over 4,500 housing units
Before becoming a real estate developer and starting Gulshan Homz, Founder Gulshan Nagpal used to do a series of odd jobs to make ends meet. He would drive an auto-rickshaw, conduct tuition classes, and sell medicines.
One day, the young man decided he wanted to build a house for his family in Delhi. After the death of his father, he convinced his mother to sell their paternal home to meet their living expenses and fund the new house.
The sale of this property gave Gulshan the first investment in his real estate journey. But, at that time, he didn’t know he would go on to become a good builder, or even start a real estate business. He simply wanted a bigger home for his family.
Gulshan began building the home, and as the project was near completion, he received multiple offers for its sale, at prices significantly higher than what he expected.
But he wasn’t about to become a full-fledged real estate developer yet. Besides constructing buildings, real estate developers in Delhi had also built a bad reputation for themselves in the 1980s.
“Anyone who wanted to construct a single building would call themselves a developer. There was a lack of quality and technique in construction. Developers cut corners to deliver the project, and disappeared before people could object to the poor quality of the construction. Further, they operated without transparency, leaving buyers tensed and betrayed,” says Yukti Nagpal, Director, Gulshan Homz, and Gulshan’s daughter, in an interview with SMBStory.
Gulshan Nagpal, Founder and MD, Gulshan Homz
This did not deter Gulshan. Rather, it inspired him to start a reliable and transparent real estate business and create genuine value for people who were unable to find honest and reputed builders.
Following up on this vision, he started Gulshan Homz in Delhi in 1989, and began constructing independent homes in East Delhi. The focus later shifted to building premium multiple housing projects in the Delhi-NCR region.
Today, 31 years since inception, the business has carved out a niche for itself in high-end luxury residential projects, it claims, adding that in FY20, it sold 522 units across its three projects – Gulshan Ikebana, Gulshan Botnia, and Gulshan Bellina in Noida
“We use quality products in construction and ensure customers receive their projects on time. They are now more aware of the market and have subjective choices, and so we focus on quality and timely delivery. We feel this separates us from others in the real estate market,” Yukti says.
Adding that Gulshan Homz has delivered 4,581 units in total, she says the business is now developing Gulshan Dynasty, an ultra-luxury project in Sector 144, Noida Expressway.
“It is a project with purposeful novelties in every corner, such as air purifying systems, on-campus farming, over 50 varieties of trees, etc,” she says, adding, “It takes care of the health and hygiene aspects. It was launched before COVID-19 and yet it seems to fit the situation. Our projects were always based on in-depth research of the target audience, and hence, we’ve been getting a good response.”
In 2019, the company said it raised Rs 150 crore in equity funding from ASK Group for an upcoming housing project. The same year, it also decided to enter the commercial and hospitality real estate segments. Since then, it has built malls, shopping centres and hotels in the capital region.
“We now aim to deliver five million square feet of space by 2023, which includes 9.5 lakh square feet of luxury housing and 4.75 lakh square feet of commercial space,” Yukti says.
Yukti Nagpal, Director, Gulshan Homz
COVID-19 impact and future plans
Yukti remains positive even though India’s real estate sector has been suffering for some time. Before COVID-19, the sector was going through a rough patch due to rising NPAs in construction finance, high leverage, tight liquidity, etc.
When the pandemic hit, the sector experienced a major dip in property visits and reduced buyer interest. Sales figures have now dropped sharply. The decline is expected to continue for the next few months.
To sell its spaces during these times, Gulshan Homz is reaching customers digitally and giving them virtual tours of the sites. Yukti believes it is the only way of staying connected with existing and target customers amid the current COVID-19 crisis.
“Digitisation and virtual tours have been started by realtors, and this has helped them reach their target audience and close substantial sales even during the lockdown,” she says, adding:
“Leadership plays a really crucial role in these difficult times, and we have ensured the team at Gulshan is at the beck and call of our workers and customers. The only way to overcome the impact of lockdown is to focus on leading by example. I believe that open communication at all levels is a must.”
The company admits COVID-19 has made it go back to the drawing board and devise effective strategies to handle the situation. But the pandemic doesn’t seem to have dented its plans to continue its expansion.
Going forward, it aims to further venture into real estate for the commercial and hospitality segments. It aims to build more malls, hotels and offices, and also enter several other real estate segments.