18 Nov 2016, 10:16 — 8 min read
The business of real estate is not one that is traditionally associated with change and innovation. But trends point towards a better way of conducting business. Companies are employing different models to cater more effectively to their clients thus leading to better practices.
A promising entrepreneur in this field is , founder of , a real estate firm active in and around Pune. He set up his company after losing his job as a banker in a major downsizing. He reinvented himself after being faced with adversity. Today, his company is known for the presence of a large, well organised data-bank of realty-related information which helps organise searches better and enables hassle-free deals. Pawar himself is a much sought-after realty consultant.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Umesh Pawar (UP) shares his journey from being a banker to a realtor and sheds light on the practices that differentiate his business from the rest. Watch this video to know more about this entrepreneur.
GL: Tell us about your business.
UP: We are in the business of selling new residential and commercial property in Pune and collaborate with some of the best builders in Pune & Mumbai for their ongoing and upcoming projects. Working as an extended sales team for the builder, we help our clients i.e., buyers in all aspects of realty purchase – right from the stage of looking for a good property and supporting them till the entire process is completed. We do not charge any kind of fee or brokerage from the client.
Prior to real estate I was employed in the banking sector for almost a decade. Having left my job, I was searching for options when one day I attended ‘Franchise Expo’, where two real estate companies interested me -- Remax International and Expert International. Having attended seminars of both the companies, I felt inspired to explore the world of real estate business.
I started my venture with my colleague Srikant Vagoo when affordable housing had just set foot in Pune. The average value per plots then was between INR 10- 25 lakhs. My friend’s company completed almost 250 transactions in 3 months. The value of the deals being low by today’s standards not withstanding I still contributed 16 transactions in the same period.
It was in September 2012 that I started my own venture and began working independently. I approached Lodha Builders who had a residential group called Lodha Belmonte to which I contributed 4 transactions.
I have had in the past been featured on TV shows with the last one being in 2014 on Doordarshan where the discussion centered around precautions that are to be taken while buying immovable property. That was a proud moment for me given that there are any number of consultants in the market despite which they specifically approached me as an advisor in real estate and property-related matters. I was also part of 6-episode TV programme called ‘Swapn Per Square Foot’.
We have even today, fairly few institutes that educate people on matters related to Realty. When I entered the field, I did attend a course in Pune from a local institute. Today, I am one of the visiting-faculty there and I am very proud of it.
GL: What challenges have you faced in establishing your business?
UP: When I started out, my challenges were typically those of any startup. Besides, the field of real-estate in India despite its size and complexity is bereft of any regulator like those applicable to sectors such as Insurance and Banking.
Its unorganised ways means that a broker hardly gets any recognition. We introduce ourselves as advisors and not brokers. There is a stigma associated with the word broker and since we don’t charge any fee or brokerage from the client, we feel it is appropriate to call ourselves ‘advisors’.
One other peculiarity of this sector is that despite good performance, we would never be recognised or get our dues. This happened quite regularly in the early days. To take care of the same, I put in place certain steps at the very beginning like documenting every transaction, every conversation and every activity for posterity. For instance, if through an acquaintance I was put in touch with someone who wanted to visit a site, I would intimate the builder a day in advance over mail to have that on record.
As I also mentioned earlier, the sector being largely unregulated, it is always a challenge to navigate especially when you have just begun. Today as an established entity, things are much better.
GL: What is your business USP?
UP: We go the extra mile to understand our clients’ requirements and educate them so that they take the right decisions. We connect with potential clients through an established referral network. Once we have a client, we provide them with multiple solutions as per their requirements.
Initially we were associated with 1-2 builders. Today, we represent close to 80 builders and their ongoing projects in Pune! And this is besides those in Mumbai. Most of the realtors I represent have a reputation for quality and timely deliveries.
To assist my clients in every aspect of realty, I am also associated with certain banks and their programmes such as HDFC Home Loans and ICICI Home Search. We give home loan assistance free of cost. This is in addition to our not charging clients anything by way of brokerage!
I am associated in various capacities with bodies such as EAAP (Estate Agent Association of Pune), ICRE of the US, IGBC, BNI and GlobalLinker. Credibility gets enhanced by being a part of these institutions.
As a responsible citizen, I realise the importance of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and have initiated a project called ‘Shelter for Sparrows’ wherein I provide free kits of bird feed to my clients. This is my commitment towards nature and my community.
Businesses have their own lead-generation mechanisms. In my line of work, every consultant has his/ her own idea of sourcing business. Mine includes using the mediator model otherwise used by banks. Given my experience as a banker for almost a decade, I felt this model could be adapted to the realty sector and has provided me good results. I source business primarily through chartered accountants who are most likely to be consulted in the purchase of property/ realty. Similarly bankers and insurance agents are also approached.
GL: What role do you feel does GlobalLinker play in connecting and assisting SMEs?
UP: We obviously will benefit from linking our venture on GlobalLinker and learning about other similar ventures. Networking apart, there’s a section in GlobalLinker called ‘Biz Forum’ where I can access the latest news and updates. By being a part of GlobalLinker, I can increase my clientele besides consolidating my business locally and promoting the same globally.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
UP: Work hard with your eyes and ears wide open! Keep away from underhanded dealings; they do not take you far.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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