Housing.com, started in Mumbai, is the fastest growing real estate search portal that has its presence all over India. Housing.com was started by twelve students from the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay in June 2012. After passing out of college, when they were hunting for a house they were tired of with countless on-site visits and fake listings. It was during this time that the idea of housing.com struck upon them. They realized that the information online on listed properties was almost always in-comprehensive – so they decided to start their own real estate portal. Their implementation of marketing strategies was unequaled and in a short span of time, Housing.com earned a reputation as one of the hottest tech start-ups in 2012, and today competes with and has surpassed the likes of Commonfloor, Makaan, Magicbricks and 99 acres. Today it operates in 50+ cities and has over 6000 brokers.
Housing.com’s Business Objectives
Housing.com’s main objective is to help people find properties that match their requirements, in a transparent manner, which is not seen in the online real estate with thousands of fake/duplicate listings. They want to give their customers a near-perfect sense of real estate and pass down genuine leads to brokers.
Housing.com’s offers services such as map-based rental search, verified purchase of apartments, buildings, land in rural and village areas and ‘Slice View’ – a technology that lets viewers go on a virtual tour of chosen properties of big real estate companies. Though the actual transactions in real estate don’t happen online, Housing.com wants to come to a point where buying and selling of real estate will become as simple as adding a product to your cart and buying it online.
Approach / Strategy adopted by Housing.com
Housing.com turned out to be the first player to adopt a very neat and unique interface to showcase its property listings at the same time maintaining transparency, unlike its competitors.
Housing.com hosts a comprehensive and peppy portal which instantly helps in clearly identifying the needs of potential visitors so as to generate quality leads. The property listings, which are submitted by users (either brokers or owners), are represented on an interactive map. They have novel filters like lifestyle ratings, child friendliness index (CFI) and area-based pricing.
When it came to guaranteeing transparency and authenticity of the properties, Housing.com has its own data collectors that physically verify properties – they themselves capture photographs of the actual properties and put them up on their site.Housing.com has also made itself available on the Android and iOS platforms, so as to generate leads from mobile traffic too.
Housing.com has implemented a number of strategies to solve problems in the real estate market as listed below.
Data science lab (DSL)
Housing.com’s has an analytics division called the Data Science Lab (DSL) which keeps churning out new data obtained from customers and brokers, and uses analytics to obtain information that gives customers a very clear picture of the surroundings, preferences of people living in a particular area and demand/supply of inventory in a particular area. This lab uses “Heat Maps” to show features like child friendliness and evaluates neighborhoods on different criteria like number of schools, parks, hospitals, etc. and proximity of these facilities to the area. The demand/supply algorithms are also used to determine price per sq. ft variations in real estate across a particular region and time decay algorithms are used to determine the approximate time when a listing will get converted into a sale.
Housing.com has made use of cutting edge technology to help customers visualize under-construction and new properties. With Slice View customers get a virtual walk-through of properties from the computer itself – they get to view 3D renderings of every apartment on every floor.
Social Media Marketing
Housing.com’s social media marketing is very ROI driven. They make use of simple and neatly designed images that are easily distinguishable on social media.
Facebook, Twitter and Google+ work in synchronization and maintain a consistent appearance when it comes to content development and the content is directly linked to achieving certain business goals such, for ex: selling custom made rental agreements. This consistency across all social platforms has made it easy for users to identify social network media thereby promoting brand recall.
Unlike most businesses, Housing.com exercises its CRM activities on social media like Twitter itself and redirects visitors and followers to targeted blog posts.
Even on Instagram, Housing.com has put up real pictures and illustrations of properties, when compared to vector images that the competitors are using.
Results achieved by Housing.com
Using its unique marketing tactics and strategies, Housing.com sold approximately eight million dollars’ worth of real estate in its opening week according to Forbes India.
It has managed to establish itself and brand itself as one of the leading online real estate portals among the likes 99 acres, Magicbricks and Commonfloor, who took nearly 10 years to achieve the same.
Today, Housing.com has successfully listed over eight lakhs of verified property across 50+ cities. They have plans of expanding to over 300 cities and map 40 million houses in India over the next few quarters.
Housing.com’s current market value is about 1500 crores (USD 250 million).
A social media strategy coupled with an extremely responsive CRM, like the one implemented by Housing.com, will help in driving back high traffic. By being transparent and implementing unique strategies such as data analytics, strong social media presence, cutting edge technology such as Sliceview coupled with a very energetic approach, Housing.com has managed to establish itself as one of the most widely recognized businesses in India and in the online real estate market.
Photo credits: www.housing.com