RoofandFloor – The Youngest real estate marketplace based on trust and transparency

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

Tired of living in a rented house? Maybe your family has grown too big for your current 2BHK. Or maybe you got a lump-sum as a joining bonus you would like to invest. Whatever the reason, real estate has always been the coveted investment. But owing to the large sums that need to be committed, quite often one’s lifetime’s savings, the risks are also high. A thorough knowledge of the market and the individual project is a must for mitigating risks. For most, this in-depth knowledge and information is not readily available and this factor often becomes the difference between a good investment and a huge loss. To address this by bringing trust and transparency to the process of home buying in India and especially in buying real estate online, RoofandFloor was created.

Kasturi and Sons limited, publishers of The Hindu, forayed into online property listings business in September 2014 via a new subsidiary KSL Digital Ventures and launched with about 6,000 new projects from leading builders in Chennai. The initial Capital was 25 crores and in July 2016, raised an additional capital of 20 crores from its promoters. It officially launched its operations in September 2015 and in less than one year, expanded its presence to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Coimbatore. Within a span of two years, over 1500 developers with 8,000 new projects across Southern India have come on board. They will also commence operations in Mumbai and Pune shortly. In popularity, the portal has already become one of the top 3000 websites in the country.

Established with an ‘end-to-end’ business model, the venture aspires to change a first-time buyer’s experience of buying real estate online. Although just 2 years old, RoofandFloor has gone head-to-head with well-established online property portals like MagicBricks and 99acres.  When asked about the objective behind launching such a venture into a market that already has strong and established competitors, Bikash Chowdhury, the Chief Marketing Officer said, “RoofandFloor aims to change the experience of first-time home buyers. It has been designed after extensive consultations through focus group discussions in Chennai and Bengaluru to understand market expectations. Reliable, precise and relevant information and value-added services are the portal’s hallmarks.”

RoofAndFloor is a one-stop shop for property-related aspects. With each passing day, the demand for housing among urban middle class is getting bigger and the portal has been designed to cater to the community’s specific needs. It has an extensive list of apartments, including the most popular segments, 1BHK and 2BHk. Not to be outdone, the list of Villas available in the portal is enviable too.
When a potential property buyer uses the portal, they attain access to end-to-end services in property buying. This includes detailed information on the paperwork and statutory clearances. From apartments for sale to buying villas online, the magic happens in a matter of minutes. Along with reliable and precise information, value-added services are another hallmark of RoofandFloor. With a very easy and intuitive search feature that is backed by a robust algorithm, the website takes into account multiple parameters to display the most relevant results matching a property buyer’s needs. The RoofandFloor advisors get in touch with potential buyers and understand their criteria. Once they locate the ideal properties suiting the client's demands, they convey accurate and up to date personalized information. For Premium advertisers, there are innovative features such as Click to Call and strong integration with print/digital media properties which already have a large reader/user base.

RoofandFloor has a unique differentiating factor for those who wish to purchase a property they would like, be it villas or apartments. All other real estate portals available provide the base price of properties. But the final price of properties includes base price, various builder fees and regulatory charges. No other Real estate website currently lists hidden charges like parking space, floor rise charges, etc.

For example, the buyer wants to buy a 2 BHK flat in his preferred locality. He goes to some real estate portal, puts in the keywords and locality and the listing comes up. One particular project catches his eye. The price is shown as 50 Lakhs. He is happy since that is just about what his budget is. So he clicks on the link, reads about it and goes to finalize the project. Once at the builder’s he suddenly gets a reality check. Including all amenities and car parking and miscellaneous charges, the price shot up to 65 Lakhs!! 30% over the price he was shown. Even though an example, this is actually quite a common scenario in the Indian real estate market and portals.

This is where comes to the rescue. The portal’s three-pronged strategy hinges on content, community, and commerce.  They have incorporated a standout tool, TruePrice. This is a feature unique to the portal which gives a clear picture of the amount a buyer will have to spend in order to get a home of their choice. No more hidden charges, no more last moment floor rise charges. The same amount the buyer sees on the portal is what they pay to the builder. On the legal front, a panel of independent consultants is on hand to provide counsel, though this service (Truelegal) is not available online on tap currently.
The host of services provided by RoofandFloor does not end there. With additional services starting from information on interior designers to unique service providers for functions such as house warming, the portal stays true to its end-to-end commitment to the buyer. 
The upcoming services include creating an interactive platform between those who have bought property (by location) and those looking to. This crowd-sourced content will be moderated by RoofandFloor, with no seeding by developers or the marketplace.

RoofandFloor is also bolstering their leadership by bringing in Industry veterans like T. Shrikanth (from Indiaproperty and Sulekha) to join Gowri Shankar Nagarajan, the CEO and Bikash Chowdhury, Chief Marketing Officer. The other Bigwigs at the helm are Sudha Prabhu (People Operations), Nishant Kashyap (Operations head) and Niren Pai (Head of products).From about 70 people currently, the headcount is expected to go up to 240 in the current fiscal, coinciding with expansion in the West. The people in advisory roles and operations will grow, as will the product and engineering, and marketing teams. 

All in all, The Company is making all the right noises and it seems steadily poised to take over the mantle of leadership in its category. As evident from the recent moves and features it is bringing about, it intends to bank on trust and transparency to become the best online Real Estate website out there, and rightfully so.

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