Housing.com, a real estate portal founded by IITians, has emerged as one of the poster boys of India's e-commerce sector. The two-year-old firm has been valued at an estimated Rs 1,500 crore, after it raised $90 million, or Rs 570 crore, in a funding round led by Japanese telecom and internet giant Softbank.
Advitiya Sharma, co-founder of Housing.com, told NDTV, "Real photos and authentic information is the biggest USP (unique selling point) that we have brought to this industry. I think that is the reason why so many people have wanted to use the product across the country." (Watch Video)
Its website gets 80,000 to 1 lakh unique or new visitors every day, he said. Other similar platforms allow agents or brokers to upload any property listing without physical verification, resulting in many fake listing, Housing.com said.
Magicbricks.com, 99acres.com are some of the competitors in the space.
The company has presence across 50 cities and employs 1,500 people. Housing.com says its team of data collectors physically check every property that get listed on the website for selling or renting.
"We have an in-house data collection team that goes to every single property, takes high quality photos of the houses. We note down more than 100 unique data points of every single house...how many chairs are there, how many tables are there, is there a balcony, is there a gas pipeline or not so on so forth. So we collect all this information and then we display it on to our platform," Mr Sharma said.
The company's platform is not restricted to selling and renting properties but covers other areas of real estate business. "Not only rent and sell properties we sort of cover the whole spectrum of real estate. You could find properties for rentals, for resale, for paying guests, for new projects, for land, plot projects," Mr Sharma said.
The final transaction, however, takes place between the buyer and the seller or the landlord and the tenant. "We are currently a listing platform. We provide you authentic information of property, but the actual transaction, still happens offline," he said.
Housing.com's revenue model is subscription based, where landlords, agents, developers, land owners pay for display on the site and then the company's data collectors physically verify the property, click pictures before putting them up on the portal.
"It is a very simple subscription-based revenue model. We have packages ranging from thousands of rupees to lakhs of rupees based on the visibility that you could get on the platform," Mr Sharma said.