After causing a major disruption in the real estate space by offering brokerage-free rental services, Bangalore-based online real estate portal, NoBroker, has launched its brokerage free buy/sell feature. This feature will allow users to buy and sell their properties paying any brokerage fee.
Brokerage is one of the main concerns of property buyers and sellers. The brokerage fees – which is usually around 4-6 percent of the deal value, can be a huge burden on buyers who have been saving every penny to buy a property. With this new feature, NoBroker enables users to buy the house of their choice without paying any brokerage. They can simply log on to NoBroker.com and choose from a pool of inventory posted by genuine owners. Customers will be able to contact owners directly, and the new chat feature will enable both parties to negotiate effectively. The company will also provide insights and recommendations.
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In order to source only genuine properties for its listing, NoBroker also offers title verification at a nominal cost. This means – it will get an EC (encumbrance certificate) for the property so that the buyer is rest assured about the genuineness of the property.
“We have already established our position as the only portal to assist our customers in hassle-free transactions in the rental space without the intervention of brokers. We now want to extend the services in the resale market, where there is a huge demand,” Amit Kumar Agarwal, CEO and Cofounder, NoBroker told Inc42.
“Currently, the total brokerage market in the rental and resale spaces is as huge as $6 billion in India. With the launch of brokerage free buy/sell for the first time in India, we are set to further disrupt and redefining the real estate sector,” he added.
NoBroker was founded by Amit Agarwal and Akhil Gupta. It was conceptualized in late 2013 and the website was launched in March 2014. It was angel funded by Saurabh Garg (co-founder of Four Fountains De-stress Spa), who also acts as a mentor. Early this year, it had raised $3 mn in a Series A funding round led by SAIF Partners and Fulcrum Ventures.
Since its inception, the company claims to have acquired over 3.5 lakh customers, and is helping customers save more than $2 Mn (INR 15 crore) of brokerage fees every month across 4 cities – Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai.
The disruption that they have brought about in the real estate space has not gone down well with the Indian broker community. Last month, its office was attacked by more than 40 local brokers and agents. The attackers tried to forcibly enter its premises, threatened its employees and tried to physically attack some of them. The company employs over 90 people at the Bangalore office.
Amit confirmed that they have been receiving continued threats from the brokers after that attack. “We have been receiving threats from brokers at our call center. However, we are very proud of the formidable team at NoBroker. Despite the threats, our service to the customers has not been impacted. We have been working from a make-shift office and our homes for over two weeks now. In fact, even our customers have been very supportive and empathized with us. This further strengthened our resolve.”
“We have worked against all odds and launched brokerage free buy/sell in timelines as planned before the attack because we are committed to the cause of addressing the information asymmetry in the real estate sector. Despite all the challenges, NoBroker will continue the disruption via technology and help our customers save brokerage,” he adds.
On being asked whether he is concerned about angering the broker community again with this new launch, Amit said, “Our objective is never to instigate anyone. Like always, it is our constant endeavour to enable the customer with the help of technology.” However, as a safety measure, the team is moving into a secured gated commercial office space to prevent any further attacks.