Troubled Mumbai-based real estate platform Housing.com has revealed plans to move offline with the hire of a large team of its own brokers within the next 24 months.
Having restructured its business, and sacked part of its staff, the company recently decided to focus its business on home buying and selling only.
Under ousted co-founder Rahul Yadav and its 11 other founders, Housing did everything -- from short stays to finding houses on rent, and from selling land to renting out commercial spaces.
But last November the company resolved to monetize its products as part of the restructuring exercise. Housing’s new CEO Jason Kothari asserts the company is about revenue position in the future
“We are now focusing on just buying and selling residential property – that’s the biggest business in real estate, about 80 per cent of all deals,” he says.
Kothari also points to Housing.com's series of digital advertising products for developers and brokers to provide maximum customer exposure and return on investment for their home sales efforts.
In addition, the company is offering customized digital marketing services to large developers to drive home sales and build developer brand equity.
Launched in January, Kothari claims Housing.com is receiving an overwhelming response to these products.
He says the revised business model is growing revenue at 200 per cent every month, and the company is targeting revenue of $10 million by the end of this year.
According to the Hindustan Times, the business is cash rich with a straight 2 per cent commission on every deal, no questions asked.
Housing already has the largest selection of houses for resale, around 450,000 of them.
“We have the best quality of homes… That’s unlike any of the others,” Kothari Kothari told the newspaper.
But currently Housing is just like an advertising platform – it connects people who want to buy flats and houses with owners, or brokers, who have listed properties on the platform much like competitors Magic Bricks and 99acres .
Kothari says Housing will now challenge India's highly unorganized brokerage industry which is mostly relies on neighbourhood brokers without qualifications.
“In the next 12-24 months, we will go offline,” he says.
The new venture will make use of the 11,000 developers and 18,000 brokers already active on its platform.
"There is large monetization growth and upside that can be derived from just the existing customer base,” Kothari says.
The Hindustan Times report says Housing also plans to partner with some brokers – like a franchisee-led model with the leading brokers in each city Housing is present in.
“It’s not dissimilar from what Ola Cabs or Uber does – partnering with the best drivers. We will do that with the best brokers,” Kothari explained in the report.
Housing.com executives check each house before listing it. Now, its own brokers will help sell them, the Hindustan Times adds.
The real estate market in India is $120 billion (about Rs 8,040 crore), buying-selling makes for more than 70 of it. According to estimates, the business will be worth $850 billion by 2028.
Founded in 2012, Housing.com, whose parent company is Locon Solutions Pvt Lt, has raised over $100 million from various investors including Softbank and has 1.7 million verified homes listed to date.