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A Mantra For The Season

The advertisements of real estate companies now mention their past delivery record and future ... schedules

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As the real estate slowdown, precipitated by the recent disruptions caused by demonetisation, the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA) and GST, casts its shadow over the festive season, property developers are resorting to new and distinct marketing initiatives to beat the slump and push up sales.

The face-off between developers and home buyers over delivery delays have put real estate companies on a back foot and the entire focus of their marketing campaign is on neutralising negative public perception and bridging the trust deficit of property buyers.

Today, with the high level of digital connectedness, the consumer is much more informed and empowered and is calling the shots in a buyer-dominated market. The recent enactment of RERA has not just empowered the consumer more, but also made him more aware, so he may take informed decisions when buying property. In the light of all this, what is bothering realty owners is how to win the confidence of property consumers/investors.

In their marketing strategy post RERA, real estate companies are prominently mentioning in their advertisements that their projects are registered with RERA and are RERA-compliant. While formulating their marketing campaigns, developers have kept this thing in their mind that buyers’ reluctance to invest is because of their lack of trust in timely delivery of homes. The advertisements of real estate companies now mention their past delivery track record and the future delivery schedules of their projects. Timely delivery is their brand signature now.

Since a large number of home buyers of delayed projects now face the double whammy of paying both rent and EMI, marketing campaigns are focused on allaying this fear. As such, many developers have come up with schemes with no EMI till possession. Others are offering rent-free accommodation to buyers (in the project in which they have invested) till they get possession of their home. Also, prior to RERA, there was no clarity about pricing with so many hidden charges and home buyers found themselves shortchanged, subsequently.

Builders are now luring buyers with inclusive pricing (no hidden charges or price escalation). Many home buyers had earlier felt cheated as they had not received what they had been promised in terms of space, pricing, specifications, amenities and quality. In line with RERA, builders and brokers are now focusing on allaying these fears. Leading brokerage portal, Housing.Com has come up with a new television campaign with the catch line - ‘ par jo dikhe, wahi mile’, promising full transparency in providing right and relevant information, right location and the right price.

Prior to the RERA regime, the festive season was marked by large-scale launches of new home projects which used to be a major attraction for property buyers. Even though most of these pre-launch projects did not have the necessary approvals and entailed risks, the price advantage lured buyers.  But under RERA, these pre-launches are banned. Moreover, developers are refraining from new launches because they are focusing on unsold inventory and completing ongoing projects. This has lowered the volume of ads. Also, the majority of the ads are about ready- to- move projects as buyers are averse to development risk by investing in under- construction projects.

In such a scenario, where home buyers tend to tread cautiously and not take developers at face value, the past trend of celebrity brand ambassadors endorsing housing projects is missing, as fund- starved developers do not find  it worthwhile to spend on them.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 14 October 2017 advertisements RERA gst bill

Vinod Behl

The author is senior real estate media professional

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