Marketing Gurus will tell you that one of the most important attributes that drives a customer’s buying decisions is Trust. Think about this for a second and it seems a self-evident truth. It doesn’t matter what you are buying – a smartphone, a car or a home appliance – trust in the brand and its promises is the key. This is particularly true if you are a non-resident Indian investing in property from a distance.
And how exactly do brands build this trust? There are several elements, but the central one is transparency. The technology industry even has an acronym for it (trust them to jargonise everything)! They call it WYSWHG – What You See is What You Get.
For a variety of reasons the real estate industry in India has long suffered from a trust deficit. At the root of this is the lack of transparency.
I was therefore heartened to see that in the 11th edition of JLL and La Salle’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI), which was released last month, India has registered one of the largest improvements in transparency globally in real estate, moving to the 34th position as compared to 39th (from among 99 countries) in the 2014 survey. “India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are among the Index’s top improvers due to regulatory reforms, enhanced market data and sustainability initiatives,” the report says.
There have been several forces driving this move towards enhanced transparency in the sector. Measures like the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA), Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act and Goods and Services Tax (GST) have done a great deal to make the sector less opaque.
Transparency is a key attribute in building trust. According to a Financial Express news story, NRI investments in Indian real estate are expected to hit an all-time high of $13.1 billion in FY 21. This is because, in these uncertain times, buyers are looking to invest in their home cities, to feel a sense of security in a known territory, where they trust the regulations the report said.
If you are an NRI buyer or a real estate consultant advising your NRI client, what attributes would you be looking for? Transparency is, of course, a given. What else? From what we hear all our NRI buyers say they are only interested in buying into projects where the Developer:
- Has a strong track record of timely delivery,
- Is not over-leveraged, and
- Has proven engineering and execution skills to deliver quality projects.