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Monday, January 28, 2013

App Delhi NCR Plants to bread realty brokers with strong ethical and moral values

GURGAON: While buying a home, brokers play a vital role in making the entire process smooth, however, in the booming real estate market of Delhi-NCR, most consumers complain of being misinformed or cheated by real estate agents. One of the major reasons for this lack of professionalism among real estate agents is the lack of adequate regulations/certifying bodies for the industry.

Filling this gap in the Delhi-NCR property market is Association of Property Professionals Delhi-NCR (APP Delhi-NCR), which besides membership, offers various entry level and advanced courses for real estate agents to elevate the standards of practice of the realty brokerage business.

“There is no structured association, no entry level platform barrier and no licensing for real estate agents in India leave aside NCR. We are working towards building that structure,” said Samir Chopra, president APP Delhi-NCR. He is also the chairman and founder of Remax India, one of the first international property consultants to bring the real estate franchising model in India. APP Delhi-NCR is the Delhi-NCR arm of National Association of Realtors, India (NAR India). NAR India is a registered non-profit society under the Societies Registration Act of India and represents NAR US in India.

“Half of the property brokers do not know anything about the industry. The broker usually sells the product on which he/she gets the maximum commission. It has been over 50 years of negligence for customers, when it comes to real estate brokers. We are the new age brokers, the catalyst for changing the image of the usual real estate broker into smart, unbiased, smart and suave real estate agents, who believe in customer delight,” he further added.

Chopra says there are good brokers and bad brokers but the consumers need to rely on people, who are willing to educate themselves, upgrade their skills and personality. Besides offering a membership, APP offers certain courses for real estate agents. “We teach them the customer centric approach. Earning money is fine but repeat customers matter more. It is not the commission but the benefit that the customer gets, will build customer relations for life and refer you to other people,” he explained.

While the building materials, construction equipment, finance and builder segment of the industry have fairly improved their business ethics and practices and a reasonably good degree of professionalism has come about, the transaction processes continue to remain by and large backward and in need of an urgent reform. As per Chopra’s estimates there are around 1.5 lakh real estate agents and 75,000 to 80,000 real estate brokerage firms in Delhi-NCR, out of which 30-35 per cent are not worth doing business with.

“We don’t force people to join us as members. They can choose to just upgrade themselves also with the courses and then decide about being our members,” added Chopra. The cost of various courses at APP varies from 500- 25,000 depending on the course and the faculty.

Gaurav Luthra, owner of Gurgaon-based Foots and Yards real estate consultants recently took an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) course from APP. “The course was an eye opener for me in terms of aspects about the real estate agents relationship with the buyer, which I did not notice so far besides teaching us how to market ourselves and safeguard the customer’s interest as well,” he said.

“The course guided me on real estate agents’ proper conduct with the buyer, which is very essential to build a rapport with the customer and change their mindset about our industry. The courses also help in networking with other brokers from other cities. All this was something that was missing in the industry so far,” he added.

After joining APP, a real estate agent goes through an entrance test and certain other professional courses. “We don’t get everyone to join us. We do a thorough check up of his customer behaviour, marketing and professional skills and code of conduct among various other aspects,” said Chopra.

APP also has a basic certification course, which is not mandatory but strongly recommended. “The association is all about credit, ethics, moral values and the fear of losing a job if you do a professional misconduct, a barrier, which was not there till now. We provide a guarantee that, whoever misuses or misrepresents to a customer he/she would be debarred from the association,” he added.

Talking about aspects, which a customer should keep in mind before going for a particular real estate agent, Chopra said, “First and foremost check the credentials of the agent and ask him to give you at least testimonials of three people he has worked with. Check his marketing collaterals and documents, knowledge of the market and the product he is selling.

And last but not the least, pay him his full commission because if you reduce his commission, it will be a breach of agreement. One should understand that they are selling the service and not vegetables, so it is very important for the buyers and sellers to be totally honest to each other.”


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