Ravi Varma is the Chairman of the National Realtors Association (NAR) India. Mr Varma has also played an essential role in the drafting of the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA), especially from the real estate brokers’ role in the law. Being a professional realtor from the beginning, Mr Varma has taken the profession of realtors to a different level through his efforts at creating a national platform for doing “multi-city business” between Realtors. This was done by creating a “Code of Ethics” and Protocols for doing business with each other.
In his recent interview with Dreams Per Square Feet, he shared his thoughts.
“I have known Umesh Pawar for a few years now, and he appears to me as a very creative and dynamic person in the industry.
I came to real estate by chance. In fact, my wife chose real estate because I was a constantly travelling Marketing Professional and she said she didn’t have any family life. So, she started a real estate brokerage company. The day she started, my salary was never required from that day. I worked as a marketing executive for five years before Joining her to grow the family business. Both, in terms of job satisfaction and money, we have always done exceedingly well, thanks to the real estate sector.
I don’t look at particular events as success stories. You have to go with the flow. If you make the best of any profession or situation, you will be successful. As I look back, I can say joining the real estate sector was itself a huge turning point for us.
In the real estate business, the strike rates are very low. Let’s say you’re working on 20 deals
– Even if you convert four to five of them, you’re doing very well. One incident I remember, and I wouldn’t mind naming the company as well. We were almost closing on a deal with one of the biggest names in the corporate world for prime land in Pune. At the eleventh hour, we got to know that the deal was cancelled. I thought in the corporate world the decision-making process is based on certain protocols and they follow a robust process. At least the big boys of the corporate world. To my dismay, after the managing director signed an MOU, the board of the company turned it down. It was very disappointing for us. We really didn’t like that.
That gave me positive learning that you should not consider the written words of the corporate world when it comes to real estate deals. They are subject to the same vagaries of decision-making as that of an individual.
RERA has been the transformative legislation in terms of transparency and accountability to the industry. Earlier, anybody without a license could become a real estate agent; there was no accountability, no consequence of denial, or delay of the rights of a customer. But with RERA, all these things are not possible. You can’t deliver an orange by promising an apple. In the last five years, more than 8000 customer-builder disputes have been resolved in Maharashtra alone. Moreover, there are more than 34,000 real estate agents registered under MahaRERA today.
Even during the pandemic, we did business. Within three to four months, we went back to pre-pandemic levels as far as our industry is concerned. However, we had some challenges in terms of labour, increase in input costs, etc., and thankfully the State Government helped in boosting the demand by reducing the stamp duty charges for some time.
Integrity, Reliability, and Knowledge of business – these three things are essential for anyone to succeed in this sector. Don’t overpromise, but deliver more if possible, and educate your clients instead of pushing them for sales.
I see Title Insurance coming to the country as the next big activity in the real estate sector. Today, the buyer has no risk cover in case the seller has sold a property which may have some issues cropping up in the title of the land or property. Maybe at the time of making the deal, everything is okay. Even the legal team may have done the due diligence but unpredictable things like suddenly a married sister asking for a share in the property of a father which the brother is selling will have repercussions in clear title properties.
Given a chance, I would join real estate much earlier than I did. At least ten years, if I can say. I think brokerage in real estate is a great profession. You can start with hardly any investment. We actually started from home. If you’re true to your profession and true to your customers, this is the most rewarding profession to be in. I remember what I earned on the job for the entire year. I earned that amount in just 17 days since I entered this profession. Apart from the monetary part, job satisfaction and the feeling of being your boss, and having greater control over your life, is something that I enjoy a lot.
So, start your brokerage business immediately. Register yourself under the RERA as a broker, continuously learn about the product you sell, learn all aspects of the business you are in and offer them a 360-degree solution like legal opinions, capital gain, taxation, etc., so that the value you offer is more.
Please offer more service than what the buyer expects, you will build a growing legion of satisfied clients. This is the cornerstone of any successful business”