Using data Science methodology for purchasing properties in India

GlobalHome is a US-based digital platform for discovering and buying NRI properties in India. We leverage data science and insights to pre-verify properties, and provide a digital platform for financing, booking online and end-to-end purchasing.

Buying a property thousands of miles away is incredibly hard. Most buyers need to spend weeks of in-person visits to finalize a property and ton of paperwork to get the finance and purchasing done.
In fact, the entire process is so tiring and stressful that many NRIs (Non Resident Indians) just avoid buying a property in India or procrastinate for years effectively missing out on investment opportunities in one of the hottest real-estate markets in the world.

What makes buying property in India so hard?

Why hasn’t anyone solved this for NRI purchasing?

There are a few different aspects which add to the complexity of searching and buying a property thousands of miles away for NRIs.

Note: If you want to jump to the data science part – Click here to Jump to Methodology

1. Distance & Time: Typically, NRIs spend most of their time out of India and visit every 1-2 years and spend maybe 3 weeks. Just a few weeks is never enough time to scout for properties given that most Indians (like myself) would end up using couple of weeks just to settle in and say hello to friends and relatives. You can of course shortlist properties beforehand,
however under construction properties is usually the preferred choice and it takes quite a bit of imagination to envision what the property might end up looking like. For folks looking to buy resale properties, there’s a huge challenge with communication and seller reliability. In addition, the amount of co-ordination and intracity traveling needed makes it unworthy to spend time on properties which may not be a good fit or are going to have issues.

2. Paperwork & In-person visits: If you are buying a property in India, everything needs hardcopy paperwork, especially if you are an NRI. Your home loan agent will make you visit the bank branch to attest documents, your builder or seller will make you sign papers, you need power of attorney on a physical stamp paper, you need to fill paper forms for applying for a loan – yes the one with square boxes and 30 different fields. There are countless other documents. Unless you can time heist, all of this process is nearly impossible to pull off by yourself without significant help from your family or friends.

3. Amount of Choice, Lack of builder reliability & Litigations: In India, it wont be unfair to say that every street has an under construction property, and hundreds of builders constructing those. All of these properties get listed on online portals who proudly tout that they have thousands of properties listed. While more is usually better, in this case it just adds to confusion, every property listing looks more of the same and you cant get your decision done until you or someone actually visit the property.
Builder reliability is a huge factor in determining whether you will get your “possession” on the promised date or years later, and whether the final construction will look and feel anything like those pretty pictures. Some builders are established, litigation-free and financially sound, while others are not, and this hugely matter. It is merely impossible for someone to fully investigate and research the builder and property in their short buying timeline, its very easy to fall for the polished brochures and onsite air conditioned showing offices. Government of India has introduced RERA – aka The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 – to protect home buyers, however just RERA registered property doesn’t mean anything at all and requires much deeper research to actually make use of that information to infer whether the builder is legit and if the promised property is actually on track for completion.

4. Return on Investment: Buying a property is a huge financial decision, it is a life event for most of us, regardless of whether its an investment property or a place where you may end up living some day. In addition to all the above factors, there is generally an uncertainly about the actual want for buying a property abroad and what investment gains you can make from it. For example, one may contemplate the following: Am I actually going to live there? If I buy a property who will manage it? How much will the property price go up by? Is it better to just invest my money in stocks? What if someone encroaches on my property? Who is going to find tenants every year? What if USD exchange rate goes up?
All these questions are valid questions, and it is non trivial to answer these.

How is GlobalHome solving this using data?

GlobalHome was built with a very clear mission: Bring Transparency and Simplicity to cross-border real estate transactions

Pre-vetted properties with Property Scores

Too much choice is never a good thing. Don’t believe me? Think of all those options you have on Netflix, and how you end up spending hours browsing just to end up watching a crappy movie. You’d much rather search for the IMDB Rating for the movie and gain insight into whether you’d like the movie. You may not agree with all the ratings, but it will generally help you boil it down to a few choices – my favorite is the Imdb top 250 list, I’ll watch all those movies in a heart beat.

Now let’s apply the IMDB analogy to Properties.
GlobalHome has pioneered a proprietary methodology to scientifically score thousands of under construction properties and builders so that we can rank and shortlist the ones which have the best ROI and reliability.

Each week, we score and add new featured pre-vetted properties.

We look at and make available unprecedented insights about the property, builder, locality, return on investment to ease your decision making. Most property portals will merely show you the list of amenities and past projects for the builder – this tells you nothing, sure it helps you shortlist from 5000 to maybe 100, but still it doesn’t get you down to those 1-2 properties you really would buy.

GlobalHome – Property Score and Insights

These are the insights you will see on each of the properties we list on our platform. We are still working on the design – so don’t be alarmed when you see a different design. View Featured Properties with Scores >>

Below are some of the factors which go into the scoring:

  • Project construction detailed status – Is the excavation done? Is the tiling done? What percentage of construction is done? How long has the work been pending? Are they meeting their promised timelines?
  • Builder or Developer Profile – Is this builder and project RERA registered? What are their past projects? Have they completed previous projects on time? Is the builder a registered company? Is the builder legit and can we find legal registrations for those?
  • Financial Standing of Builder – What is the CRISIL or SMERA rating for the builder? How much debt does the builder has? Does the builder have any supplier issues? Is the builder in the news for financial issues?
  • Litigations – Does the project or builder have any outstanding litigations? Is the land free of litigations? Are there any criminal proceeding against the directors or owners of the construction company?
  • Locality Insights – Does the locality have water connectivity? Are the roads approved? Are there local shops nearby? How is the connectivity to freeways? Is the locality near any future planned metro or rail routes? Is it near major amenities such as malls, theatres?
  • Pricing & Rent Trends: What is the actual or expected year over year price growth for the area? Is it near IT hubs or any major colleges? How easy is it to rent out the apartment? How easy is it to sell similar properties in the area?

You must be thinking – Where are you getting all this data from? Are you actually doing data science? Is this information reliable?
All of these are great questions – and the answer is that there is indeed a lot of data available on RERA sites for each state, public land records, public litigation and court records, user reviews, pricing trends and rental data.
I want to show a few examples of what that data looks like so that you can get a sense of how this information can be leveraged

Let’s look at a few examples of property insights data

Is the work actually completed? How much units are available to buy? What are the pricing trends in localities?

These are just a few examples of how we are leveraging data to bring transparency and simplicity into property buying process.
Hopefully this gives you some insight into our scoring methodology!

Thanks for reading!

If you are currently or in future looking to purchase a property in India, please check out our platform – GlobalHome

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