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Why the Indian Brokerage Industry needs investment in training capabilities

By: Sahil Kapoor, National Head- 360 EDGE

In 2020, when the Indian economy was marred by the onslaught of the novel coronavirus, most of the commercial activities including real estate were on a retreat. Industry leaders were going back to boardrooms and rethinking how to survive the wave and stay afloat. While the overnight flight to technology gave us a breather, there were bigger questions that needed to be addressed.

Although the potential of Indian real estate was immense, there was a pressing need to create solutions to navigate the complexities triggered by the crisis and generate real value.

One possible solution that emerged was to pivot to franchise-based models. In this way, new business opportunities could be created for budding entrepreneurs without incurring excessive capital and operational expenses. This made us incubate 360 EDGE, as a franchise arm of 360 Realtors.

The model was a hit. By associating with bigger companies, franchises were able to get access to marketing, operational, and institutional support from the parent company. They get qualified leads, can sell units from bigger developers, and enjoy bigger brokerage slabs. Otherwise, in an individual capacity, this was seemingly a herculean task. Generally, big developers do not prefer to deal with small entities. However, once a brand is associated with a larger brokerage house such as 360 Realtors, the equation changes as the franchise can now enjoy the same treatment received by the parent company.

Challenges persisted

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With 360 EDGE we were soon able to penetrate across the length and breadth of the country. However, despite the bombastic start for Edge, challenges persisted. The brokers and franchises which were on board lacked knowledge of the market. Not only did they have inadequate knowledge about real estate but even basic soft skills were missing such as prowess in communication and negotiation power.

This also led us to think about why Indian real estate has yet been unable to realize its true potential. Why despite being termed as a lucrative business option, there are few brokers who were able to scale heights. Indian residential real estate is sized at around USD 180-200 Billion. The primary market is sized at around USD 64 billion, which means the total market potential of the Indian broker space is close to USD 3 billion.

Yet out of the active 1.3 million brokers in India, only 5% were able to generate healthy streams of income. A huge percentage of broker(s) are yet to find the north pole of their business. Though there would be multiple reasons, it is also rooted in a lack of training and skill development initiatives for the brokers.

Unlike other countries such as USA and Canada, Indian real estate lacked institutionally supported training infrastructure for real estate brokers. There is virtually no barrier to entering the broker space, whereas there is a limited facility to train and groom brokers in the country. This has eventually resulted in the proliferation of the broker community but has not enriched the ecosystem.

Emergence of 360 Realty Academy and a step toward broker training

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To plug the knowledge gap in the existing market, we launched 360 Realty Academy under the flagship of 360 EDGE. The mode of training dissemination is both online and offline. There is a dedicated team of trainers, corporate coaches, and real estate subject matter experts, who are part of the 360 Realty Academy. In addition to a full-time team, we also hire consultants from outside to bring a more diversified and well-balanced perspective.

Our idea is to be the change in terms of creating a new breed of real estate brokers and entrepreneurs who are proficient and well versed with various hard and soft aspects of Indian real estate.

The results also backed our conviction and vision. So far in the past 3 years, we have trained more than 1100+ professionals and offered 4500+ hours of practical training. On average, the income of our franchises has increased by 65 % over the past 12 months.

There is much more that needs to be done, yet the initial round of change has begun in Indian real estate.

Our experience with 360 Realty Academy once again underscores one of the fundamental dynamics of Indian real estate: How value-driven training can reshape the industry and enable stakeholders to earn more.

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There is a pressing need to invest in training bandwidth and capabilities in Indian real estate if we wish long-term changes to unfold.

Extensive training modules need to be created which are practical and insightful yet can be easily digested. We have to cover a wide range of subjects spanning from soft skills, communication, and negotiation tips to hard knowledge of real estate such as market insights, research & data, techniques of deal structuring, legal aspects of real estate, and much more.

All the key stakeholders including but not limited to developers, brokerage houses, academic institutions, Proptech players need to come forward and collaborate on the same. Without synchronized and collaborated efforts, things can’t take shape.

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