know the provisions of the Income Tax Act. Yet most of us utilise the services of a professional to file our returns. The same is the utility of a broker,” says Chopra.
“The work of a realtor is very tedious,” says Shridhar Malwe, a broker from central Mumbai. “Once a brief is given, the broker runs around to identify a range of suitable options. He will visit all the sites, and arranges the meeting between the buyer and the seller, negotiates on behalf of the client. He also arranges to get the copies of documents for verification and in many cases, arranges the meeting between the office bearers of the society and the buyer.”
“Brokers offer a host of ‘hand holding’ services for documentation and ‘walkthrough’ the officialdom for closing the transaction paperwork,” adds Rao.
Portals may have their advantages in marketing when seen from a developer’s perspective, and in information aggregation, but brokers are not to be discounted for their intimate knowledge of the situation on the ground. “Does a portal display problems about a locality? In tier-II and tier-III towns, very few would go on a portal since here even a dhaabaa owner and a paanwala could be working as the part-time brokers. The trust and transparency levels in these cases are very high since the person is very well known to you and helps you as a broker as well,” says Sushila Verma, who has operations in Pune and the hill station of Lonavla.
This has been acknowledged by portals themselves. “Our main customers are brokers. We have upgraded our offerings with special tools for them. Without them, portals cannot work,” says Hitesh Oberoi, co-promoter and CEO, Infoedge that runs the portal 99acres.com, which gets 50 lakh visitors every month.
Clearly, with the advent of new information sources, a slowdown may be the best opportunity for individuals who have entered the profession to evaluate their commitment to it. “Many individual brokers who saw success in the boom period had left steady jobs and chose this as a means to offset the loss of handsome salaries. But no successful business gets into the big league without learning the hard lessons of a downturn,” says Puri.
But then brokers would always remain an integral part of the profession, says Rao. “While the internet as a medium is excellent for scanning choices and seiving information, it is no substitute for a broker. Even in highly evolved