In search of roots
NRIs need to understand how property exhibitions work before settling on a property
BY ASHWINDER RAJ SINGH
Exhibitions are a time-tested medium for bringing target audiences together with products. To draw attention to such events and to differentiate them from the regular market-place, schemes are often employed. Real estate sees a massive number of exhibitions each year, and the reason is not hard to arrive at. This is an extremely competitive sector, and developers are constantly challenged to find ways to talk to their intended clientele.
At a local level, exhibitions allow developers to pull away from the online real estate marketing clutter and strike up direct sales conversations with people looking for immediate solutions to their housing needs. With the growing popularity of Indian property exhibitions abroad, this platform has now extended its reach to include the NRI community, as well.
NRIs face peculiar challenges. Apart from getting caught up in the intricacies of work that often has no Indian elements at all, they must also assimilate into new social networks. Even when they put in concerted efforts to maintain them, their connection to India tends to erode for the duration of their stints abroad.
For those who are working on establishing new lives on foreign soil, this may not be a very serious issue. Thanks to the technology available today, they manage to stay in touch with their families and friends in India, thereby maintaining the connections and support they need. Nevertheless, many of these individuals are interesting in investing in property in India.
For the NRIs who have every intention of returning to India at some point, buying a property in India has personal connotations. The growing housing needs of their families need to be addressed, and they themselves need to lay a foundation for their eventual return to India.
Not to put too fine a point to it, many developers have joined hands with real estate aggregator sites and specialist marketing agencies to gain focused access to the NRI community. The properties being marketed to this audience are often over-priced, and the impressions being created of the project itself may have very in common with its on-ground reality.
The end result is that NRIs invariably have a much distorted picture of the Indian real estate market-place. NRIs often attend such exhibitions in groups, and this allows them to apply a more consultative approach to their decision-making. By connecting with friends and colleagues back home, they are able to obtain information that may not be available at the exhibition.
It is a mistake to assume that all NRIs tend to make snap decisions at exhibitions. That does not happen – though there are exceptions.
Advice to NRIs at property exhibitions:
- Being a capital intensive product, investment decisions need to be backed by sound advice from professionals.
- Investors must opt only for reputed developers, unless they can actually come down to India and look at projects.
- Have a check-list to verify the track record of a developer, as well as the soundness of the identified location in terms of infrastructure.
- Investors looking for discounts could book in the pre-launch stage of a project to get competitive prices.
- Due diligence is important for end-users, and more so in the case of investors looking at upcoming or peripheral locations around the big cities.