Real estate brokers form a large part of the real estate segment and they are typically the face of the industry. One company that strongly believes in this is eXp India. One the fastest-growing real estate tech companies in the world, eXp Realty offers a unique financial model for these residential and commercial real estate agents by going beyond attractive commissions to provide their agents with revenue share and equity ownership opportunities. The company’s cloud-based virtual environment and customized technology platform that enhances virtual prospecting, sales, training and communications for agents, is set to revolutionize the Indian market. The Sunday Guardian spoke to Shashank Vashishtha, Executive Director, eXp India, on several topics. Excerpts:
Q: How has the pandemic affected the Indian real estate and what are the changes in consumer requirements that you have seen?
A: Due to a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases in India and the subsequent restrictions, there has been a slump in the demand of real estate for all asset classes (residential, commercial and retail). However, in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, we have witnessed increased absorption and demand for residential properties. Lower interest rates, cutting of stamp duties and the demand for extra space were the major driving factors of this demand. The pandemic has made us realise the value of having a home due to which residential sales are now accelerating. The pace of revival is on an upswing as developers and stakeholders are constantly adopting modern trends with the latest technologies to cater to evolving consumer demands. Hence, the residential segment looks promising in the coming quarters with new trends shaping and investment in this segment set to be safe with higher returns.
Q: Can you describe your services and how do agents benefit from it?
A: eXp provides end-to-end support to its agents with a host of services ranging from listing on major portals in India and overseas, providing trendy marketing collateral, invoicing and billing, ranging to weekly training sessions to help conduct business in a more professional and conducive manner. We provide a wide range of technology tools to our agents to help them conduct their business remotely and seamlessly that also saves on considerable rental expenses that they incur from running conventional brick-and-mortar offices. eXp provides a complete virtual office to its agents replete with choice of daily clothing, accessories, meeting rooms, play area, conferences, presentation collateral and much more.
Q: What changes can your services bring into the real estate market in India?
A: As a full-service real estate brokerage, eXp Realty offers 24×7 access to collaborative tools, training, and socialization for real estate brokers and agents through its 3-D, fully-immersive, cloud office environment. The company plans to also launch its own “developer onboarding program” which promises to open new vistas to the real estate developer community and help them tap the international market through eXp’s vast global agent network.
Q: How has eXp’s growth been affected during the pandemic?
A: We have seen the highest growth in terms of our revenue and growth in 2020 and in Q1 2021. While it is observed that the majority of traditional brokerages are shutting their brick-and-mortar offices, eXp global began its global expansion and has already started operations in 12 new countries in a year’s time. We have recently announced our operations in 3 new countries for this quarter and target to expand to another 22 globally by the end of 2021. In India, we have also obtained the RERA license for brokerage for 10 states and another five states are currently under process.
Q: What are the major challenges that you have faced in the Indian market?
A: India is in dire need of an organized real estate market. Interestingly, the sector is the second largest employment generator in this country after agriculture. However, it is still not recognised as an industry. Some of the major challenges in the Indian market include the lack of access to property registration data, transparency in the process of sale and purchase of a property, integrity, professionalism, etc.
Q: What are your long-term expansion plans in India?
A: India is a land of possibilities and there is huge potential for cloud-based brokerage solutions such as ours, as we are cutting down the cost of brick-and-mortar expenses for agents/brokers and other related office overheads. Besides, eXp is providing an opportunity for any individual agent to become a global realtor through this platform. Plans are afoot to soon launch our commercial brokerage operations in India as well as in other countries.
Q: What impact do the services have on home buyers or real estate consumers?
A: There are few international players who can help clients with their cross-border property advisory needs and transactions. We are today proud to have a huge Indian diaspora of customers buying and selling properties globally on our platform by providing them access to work with trusted real estate agents with global credentials.
Q: Who are your competitors in India?
A: I have not come across any cloud-based brokerage firm like eXp which offers such a wide range of state-of-the-art tools and technologies. From a competitor standpoint, I think we have a couple of international franchise brokerage houses present in India apart from a few domestic players who offer some of our services.
Q: How is eXp’s cloud-based technology going to organize the Indian real estate market?
A: With its professional expertise gained over the years, eXp India tries to achieve the highest possible standards towards establishing the company as a market leader in the real estate sector in India.