Journey of a broker : A genuine broker; Article II

vinayakHanchateBy Vinayak Hanchate, A Real Estate Broker

Accommodation Times Bureau

Vishal, a real estate agent had realized early that this field does not have respect like any other field.

This was one of the least interested and ‘liked’ field by educated people. When ‘dalal’ or broker is

uttered an image is created in any average person’s mind of an obese individual chewing ‘paan’ with

lot of gold ornaments all over his body or if any concession given then, a lean hyperactive and

talkative person with no commitment or loyalty. Everybody thought anyone can be a broker as no

license or degree was needed. Hence the market was full of unethical, unprofessional and any

‘Nathu Khaira’ (Tom, Dick or Harry of western world) broker. Vishal knew this was true but not the

complete picture. Real estate has changed a lot but the public psyche of a broker has not evaded

completely. The broker is the first liability for any seller or buyer. He also knew if tapped properly

this is the most enriching field and most unexplored field professionally. He had a vague idea of

professionalism of brokers in western world. He had this strong inclination of getting professionalism

in this field. He knew majority or at least fifty percent brokers came for easy money in this field and

after realizing the grind and sector change their field or continue it as a ‘side’ business. Many

brokers did not understand about the field itself and its nuances as no professional guidance was

present predominantly in market. The sector was going through a slow process of professionalism

as people were asking or rather demanding from the field. With invent of digital technology it was at

its exponential growth trajectory. The market was struggling to incorporate the technology in the

field with lots of failures and few successes. It would achieve its full growth in the coming years.

Vishal attended many related seminars or workshops to understand the field. He was reading lot of

information about the field whenever or wherever possible. He had the urge to get some

professionalism and regulation into the field. He had discussed these things with some seasoned

brokers but with absolutely no or any encouraging responses. Sometimes he thought the players of

this field were their own enemies. They did not realize that by leaving their comfort zone they would

have tremendous successful potential. But they were happy with what they had and did not intend to

disturb their peaceful ‘applecart’.

brokersVishal was once witness to one discussion…. no it was an argument between two senior brokers

over the valuation of the property. Vishal had visited the brokers with some other colleague for some

deal. The discussion had come to where the accompanied colleague, Chetanbhai asked one of the

senior brokers about the price of the property. He wanted to know the price so that he could convey

the approximate budget to the customer so that they in turn would arrange for corresponding loan

amount. One of the senior brokers, Ojasbhai, was saying, ask the customers their budget and then

quote the price, ofcourse within the price range. But other senior broker, Jigneshbhai, was saying to

quote the lowest to median price of that locality, basically favouring the buyer.

Then Vishal had asked a very important question unknowingly, ‘who and how do you decide the

price? What is the correct valuation method?

Ojasbhai said, ‘Seller decides the value of the property.’

Jigneshbhai retorted by saying ‘no… buyer should decide the price.’ ‘In

that case let the markets decide the price’ said Ojasbhai.

‘Market is made up of brokers like us and we do not follow the dictum of the buyer’ said Jineshbhai.

“Buyer has come to the market to buy and he will take or leave the product if affordable to him and

not decide the price of the product.’

‘In this way no market will ever remain stable and you would have lot of punters and opportunistic

people.’

‘That is the reason, let market decide the price’ said Ojasbhai.

‘Market is always dynamic, more so in earlier stages but as it becomes matured the market

stablizes. But at this stage too some of them try to dictate the market and try getting more and more

profit out of the buyers. For some more commission they lured the sellers for more price. That is the

reason the seller turns greedy and wants the maximum selling price. For that he goes to so many

brokers and almost everyone raises the price of the property inflating the market. That is not the

right price.’

Ojasbhai was getting little excited. He said, ‘Jigneshbhai, let us assume one family needs a property

in western suburbs and the head or the main earning person of the family had to go townside for

work. He will like to stay in a place nearer to work place but because of his budget he decides on

the nearest suburb. Now he enquires about the price of the locality and after looking out for his need

he decides on the property. He has to offer the price to the seller but the seller says ‘no’ as he would

get more price in the market. So now why should the seller agree to buyer’s price and take the loss

Jigneshbhai?’

Jigneshbhai said coolly, ‘because the buyer may also get a seller with lesser price as the seller may

get higher from someone else. Depending on the urgency the seller decides to give away the

property and depending upon the necessity the buyer would take the property. The buyer could wait

for some more time but the seller may not wait. So the buyer decides the price.’ ‘The situation could

also be reversed’ said Ojasbhai.

‘In that case the number of deals would decide the market and not individual deal. Because one of

the parameters of travelling for buyer as you mentioned forms the important one. But you also have

a situation where the buyer need not have to travel so much and for him the traveling may not form

the criteria for his purchase.’

‘You could then safely assume that the number of people buying with this criteria is less than the

family where traveling is important; that is businessman or self-employed having a shop or office

nearby as against employee. For every one businessman or self-employed there are at least 5-6

employees’, said Ojasbhai.

‘But the businessman would get a better property than existing one and may buy it at same rate

somewhere else so why should he buy it here. Also the employee would like to lower the price as

much as possible.’

The discussion was going on and on but Vishal had a question to both of them.

He asked, ‘the buyer is a seller in future and the seller has been a buyer in the past, so how does

one decides whom the market is favouring?’

The discussion had continued and continued and both the brokers were still arguing when Vishal

had left them.

Once when he was about to leave his office for lunch, he received one couple struggling from the

afternoon heat to his place. He made them comfortable with cold water and sugarcane juice from

nearby shop. They were very happy with this small gesture and started pouring out all their

problems in getting the right property. Their main complaint was, not a single broker had a property

matching their need and requirement. The brokers were trying to sell what they had with them

without considering or overlooking the couples’ need. This was a common phenomenon with the

brokers; some did it rudely by saying this kind of property is not available anywhere in the market or

by sweet talking the customers. Very few wanted to take effort for the customers or did not have the

property needed.

Vishal was well aware of this but because brokers had to survive they use different methods to

make a deal. He asked them their need and filled in the form which he had made with great effort

and inputs over a period of time. The couple was impressed by this kind of approach. As they were

educated they liked this approach. Vishal asked them their need and trying to get their goal on

paper. This took about half an hour with most talking done by the wife, Vidya and revealing their

innermost desire for house. At the end of the discussion Vishal had asked them some questions

leading to specifics and some refinement in their goals. They themselves were very clear of the

requirement to large extent now. Vishal knew the property is not available or rather not easily

available in the market and he would need time and commitment from the customers. But there was

a problem with the deal as with all the deals, about the customer’s loyalty to brokers. So he was

careful in asking them about it.

He said ‘I need to search the market for the availability but it would need time and little patience

from you.’

The man; Sushant understood and said ‘ Vishalbhai if you give us assurance of the right property

then we will not be going to any other broker. And with you, we both are comfortable hence we like

to stick with you for some time.’

Vishal said ‘thank you, but you have to wait for at least two months duration to get the property.’ ‘Of

course, we understand that and with you we would hold on for two months (after getting a nod from

his wife).’

After their departure and more information about whom they went to he was in deep thought. He

was thinking about this opportunity of giving professional services to the couple. He was slowly

forming a plan for it when the shrill of telephone ring brought him to the present reality. It was his

wife Diksha waiting at home for lunch. His helper an elderly person, whom everybody called ‘Kaka’,

was relieved because he would now get to eat his lunch. After usual instructions to Kaka,

Vishal left his place to go to his house nearby but without much eagerness as every day. He was in

his thought till the food was served to him. The aroma brought him to his normal senses and the

food had replaced the customer in few seconds. He was all praise for his wife’s culinary skill and

blamed her for his paunch.

After their usual afternoon break of about one hour he was back at his shop. He was still thinking

about the customers when the telephone rang. Vishal picked up the receiver to answer Maheshbhai,

a nearby broker.

Maheshbhai said, ‘Vishalbhai kaiso ho? Dhandha paani theekh thak?’

Vishalbhai knew Maheshbhai to be a shrewd person and fully aware of the reason of the phone call.

He responded by saying, ‘Hha hha Maheshbhai, mein theek hu. Aap kaise ho?

The couple had mentioned Vishal about few brokers they had visited and Maheshbhai was one of

them.

He responded after listening to Maheshbhai, ‘Maheshbhai, woh family mere paas bhi aaye thee.

Meinbhi unke liye dhund raha hui. Aap hi mujhe batana agar kuch aachi aur unke layak property

nikalti hai to.’

The line was silent for some time. Vishal was smiling to himself and knowing Maheshbhai must be

thinking where else had the customer been to? More brokers they go to, more is the competition

between the brokers. As expected, Maheshbhai put an end to the conversation earnestly with

hollow sounding good bye.

Vishal knew this to be the problem with lot of customers but the fault lied with both, the brokers and

customers but more so with brokers. They being greedy would like to go to any extent to woo the

customers. You need to stop this ‘khichdi’ in the market. He was aware that the bigger and reputed

consultant signs a contract with the customer before starting the work. But these customers usually

were high profile and corporate or qualified people. They hate dealing with unprofessional brokers.

This small time problem with middle class locality like his was solved by having a direct proposal

from the seller. This was not always the case as the sellers used to go to lot of brokers in the vicinity

as they wanted to dispose of the property faster and with competitive rates. Each broker gave the

seller higher hope for the price and thus the market got inflated. There was greediness all around.

Some of them said it is business and supply demand game. More you ask more you get.

As customers were not going to reduce in near future especially in matured market like his the price

never comes down. The price may remain stable for some time but rarely goes down in real estate,

that too in Mumbai. He was having a vague idea of a business model in his mind which would tackle

this issue to some extent. He needed lot of thinking and refining of the model with lot of inputs and

discussion with evolved personnel from the field.

As far as the present issue was concerned he knew what he had to do. He got all his data and

shortlisted all the desirable properties but knew very few or none would be matching with the

customer’s need. He now went through all the societies and buildings in the vicinity (he had kept the

data which was updated) and short-listed the matching ones. He properly put everything on paper

and called Kaka. He gave instructions to Kaka with his visiting cards. Kaka was supposed to go to

all the short-listed buildings and meet the society security or manager. He was supposed to give the

card to them and call from his mobile to Vishal. He would talk to the concerned person (or perhaps

secretary and chairman of the society) and ask for the availability of the flats. He almost knew all the

buildings and society people as he was a localite and was residing in this area since birth. So

contact with them was not an issue but knowing the availability was. He had to be in touch with

them persistently. He had instructed Kaka to have good relationship with the security guards as they

were sometimes the real informer. Security guards used to have chai with Kaka at his shop and he

used to encourage it to some extent.

After almost 3-4 weeks he had about four to five properties with him matching eighty percent of the

customer’s needs. He used to inform or remain in touch with the customer during weekends. In the

fourth week he had asked them to visit the property. They were happy with the choice but not

completely. He ask them for some more time and within next two weeks he was able to show them

almost four more desirable properties. Sushant and Vidya the couple were happy with the later

choice of flats and short-listed two of them.

The deal was done in next week and the formalities completed within one and half months. Vishal

was invited to their ‘house-warming’ ceremony. He was introduced to many of their friends and

relative and was officially announced as their property consultant.

Sushant was telling his friend, ‘Vishalbhai here really took lot of efforts to search our place. He really

guided us through the entire procedure. Without him it was difficult to find the right kind of property.

He had a very professional approach. He is a true property consultant.’

Vidya agreed and said, ‘Vishalbhai is a truly a genuine broker. For any advice on property we will

approach him first.’





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