For most people buying a flat is one of their biggest investments. So, one needs to be careful and sure on the flat they are looking for. In this age where everything is online to put users at ease, finding a flat is not that difficult, although, finding a property which fits according to the budget of the user might be a problem. Paying the broker’s fee feels an extra burden on the buyer, though they are the one who discover the possibilities of finding the next best thing. To empower brokers and bring customers at ease, ‘Flatle’ came into being.
Where online portals try to eliminate the role of brokers, as it’s too difficult to acquire customers when you ask them to pay a hefty sum to these brokers. The model has been too difficult to favour customers and brokers both. Flatle came up with a model that monetises, attracts not only consumers but brokers too.
Founded by brothers Apoorv Jain and Udit Jain in January 2016, Flatle is an online real estate portal that offers flats, plots, commercial properties, luxury apartments and independent floors. Apoorv graduated from Delhi College of Engineering in 2015. While in college he found a discount card which grew to over 15,000 subscribers in the first year. After a brief stint at Roposo, he has started Flatle along with his brother, Udit Jain. Udit is an alumnus of SPJain and CBS, DU, and has been in the real estate industry for the last six years and has successfully delivered malls and township projects under his wing.
The company controls listing of the flat, so how does it empower a broker? As seen till now, the brokers get in touch with the builders and then start selling their properties through which they earn a commission negotiated between them. Also, in many cases the broker charges quite a handsome amount from the buyer. Where websites like Housing, 99acres were trying to cut off their role, Flatle has joined hands with them. The builders directly negotiate with the company and the brokers are allocated these properties to sell. Now, people don’t have to pay anything to these brokers, they are paid by the company itself.
When asked about the same, Apoorv said, “We want to complete the entire cycle, wherein we’re not listing but ensuring that the user finds the place they want. Also, they don’t have to worry about the finding the right kind of broker or the price negotiation details. As we negotiate with the builders directly, our portal has exclusive deals with most of the top builders like Raheja, Supertech, TATA Housing, Brigade, Casa Grand, L&T, etc. They give us a fairly better rate than that available in the market. The brokers are area specific, so the users will be able to consult them about the property in comparatively less time.”
The company claims to have 1000 brokers as of now, but are looking towards a number of 20,000 when they launch their services. Apoorv quoted that “The website will start providing services in a month.” The user/buyer will have to pay a token amount on the platform to make a confirmation and for rest of the amount and services- they can directly contact the builder.
So how does the company Monetise?
Let’s just say X broker gets in touch with the builder, negotiates the price and earns a B% commission. When Flatle gets in touch with the builder, the builder knows the company is a combination X brokers which gives Flatle a negotiating advantage over individual brokers. Which in turn produces two things: 1) Higher commission for the brokers 2) Better rates for the consumers. The company in-turn charges the builders for selling properties on their platform.
The real estate market in India will touch the figure of $180 billion by 2020 with a CAGR (Common Annual Growth Rate) of 11.2%, according to IBEF. There are big players like MagicBricks, 99acres, Housing etc who are boosting the market but they don’t have a sustainable model in the buying space. If a new model like Flatle comes to being it might disrupt the complete real estate market.