Not everybody can own a house and not everybody wants to own a house. These factors coupled with the booming Indian economy and IT sector have led to rental inflation. There is one more invisible factor which is the cause for rental inflation: brokers. They don’t like to be called brokers, though, but these middlemen who form a cabal to keep the rents artificially high should be blamed for high rental rates.
Brokers gain in keeping the rents high through the brokerage or the commissions they generate by “helping” the owners and potential tenants. Even if this is a short-term gain. It’s the tenants who has to bear the brunt of paying the inflated rent for a period of twelve months. By which it’s time for the “mandatory” 10% hike.
Groffr, a real-estate group-buying site, has introduced Rent-A-Flat feature as an add-on. The site was dimly populated when I checked, but it looks like an idea whose time has come. The listing is nothing but a short paragraph with the details. It like an old-style forum we were used when the web was still a new thing.
Linkage with social networking profiles is the only difference. In fact, Facebook login is mandatory. This is a bold move and would give a little more credibility to listings than regular forums. It also means very few postings or postings mostly done by the social media savvy. Sulekha.com offers a similar listing service.
Groffr’s new offering needs to be filled in with more properties for sure. Along with it, Groffr has to find a way to make the service more user-friendly. For example, a map of the location would be more helpful, alongside the listing. This could mean privacy issues, but posting a nearest landmark would give the potential tenants a better picture. Also linking rental properties available in the same area would be helpful.
Groffr doesn’t plan to monetize this service and is offering it for free. Tenants can use it to find a place to rent and owners can use it to find potential tenants more easily. The more, the merrier. Groffr’s vertical integration into rental spaces after launching a group-buying site for buying properties seems to be a good move.
February 7, 2012