(A two act tragedy and ethnofiction on the sets of Bengaluru Real Estate)
Last year, I was trying to sell my 5 year old house. It was a nice A Khata property, at a decent price (at least I thought so).
ACT I: The classifieds
I started by listing it on the portals — CommonFloor, 99acres, MagicBricks, Housing. I got verification calls from these portals, and also offers to get a paid listing, but as a pakka hindustani, I ignored them to save my hard earned money. Housing even sent a guy to take photos of my property. I was happy.
Too many calls, mostly brokers
Within a couple of hours of the publication, my phone rang. Ah! it should be a prospective buyer, I thought. I picked it up, and the person on the other side started asking the details about the property. I answered his queries diligently. After about 5 minutes of conversation, he said
Ok sir, your house seems a very nice one. I will be definitely able to sell it at your asking price, or even more. I will charge you a commission of 2% on the sale price.
I was vexed! Still, keeping my calm, I told him I do not want to deal with brokers. What a bloody waste of time!
In the next week, I got a many more calls, almost 5–6 every day. But, most of them were brokers. Burnt once, I had learnt now. My first question would always be,
Aap party hain ya broker?
Remember Navin Nischol in Khosla ka Ghosla? Did that make you smile? Well, sadly, that is the funniest turn that this story takes.
Window shopping is a habit, and a curse
As the weekend came, I got some interested individuals wanting to inspect my house. I welcomed them. Since I was living in Electronic City to be closer to my office, I notified my tenants and drove down in the city to show them the house. The first party came an hour late, and I gave them the best picture that I could. After half an hour of explaining and talking, they told me to tell their decision in the evening. The second one did not turn up at all.
After a long arduous drive back, I called the first party for their feedback. They told me they needed some more time to think. The next day, I could not muster up the courage to drive back to the city, and gave instructions to my tenants to show the property to one other buyer who was to come. But he too did not.
This process continued for a couple of months before I realised that all the individuals that are coming to see my house are just “browsing”. I wanted genuine buyers and hence I decided to take a premium listing. 500 bucks was always better than 2%.
The calls increased in number. But this time, I had given my wife’s number. Brilliant, eh! She is anyways much more patient than me. This time too though, the calls were mostly from brokers. I wondered how many there are, and just by a quick google search, commonFloor divulged that there are 18234 agents listed on its website. I could nothing but sigh, thinking of the waves I was swimming against.
Eventually, I gave up. It had already been 7 months. My wife was impressed by one of the brokers, and I was impressed by his 1.5% demand. I agreed.
ACT II: The broker
Brokers promote window-shoppers
The broker did seem hardworking. In the next couple of weeks, he did bring at least 10 individuals to show my house. Even his friends (other collaborating brokers, I presumed) would bring people to see my house. I was happy once again, ignorant of the evanescence of my happiness. These brokers were bringing a lot of customers, but they were even worse than the ones I attended. I soon figured out that the brokers, in general, tend to push a buyer to visit one of the houses, even if he is not interested, in the hope that he might like one.
In all this fiasco, a year had passed away, and so had my pride of being a house owner. It was nothing but a burden to me, and I had no idea what to do.
A couple of months later, someone from my office came to know through a mutual friend that I was selling a house. He too had been looking for one since more than 8 months and was desperate to buy one. Our desperation took us to a bar where over a couple of drinks, we mutually agreed to deal the seed, sorry, seal the deed. He got a great house (at a great price, I would say) and I got, well, rid of one.
I have heard that the apartments are easier to sell and have invested my proceeds in an upcoming project near the Airport, in the hope that the new Real Estate Act will save my day. That in itself is a different story and I will tell it to you soon.
- The classifieds are a great way to advertise, but a normal seller is not equipped to handle the amount of lead-shit they throw at him.
- They do not and can not weed out the brokers. It is against their revenue model.
- They forcefully make non-serious buyers visit your property, hoping for a miracle.
- They give you false hopes on your price quote.
- They demand 2% when they really do a work of 0.2%, or even less. The commission has no logic behind it, just a norm.
P.S. I have recently come across a new startup that claims to help our souls. They go by the name of Settlin. I am not sure how good they are, some one amongst you can probably talk to them and tell us better.
The writer is just a disgruntled seller. He thinks its better to write creative imaginative pieces than to actually sell a house. Lord save his soul.