Builders woo brokers with goodies to drive up sales

The agents, known to be given the cold shoulder by builders, are now being appeased with luxury goods and trips, in a bid to push sales in a dampened market

In the 'real' world, builders entertain brokers with lush parties only when the market is down. The last time we heard about such business bashes, where 1,000 brokers were invited to dos at five-star hotels, was in 2008 when the global slump had afflicted the market.

Illustration/ Jishu Dev Malakar

Well, the business cycle has come a full circle, and this week itself, two prominent builders threw parties where broking agents were the special invitees. And what we hear is that more are in order, what with sagging sales.

And this time, they have been supplemented with other incentives in the form of cars, international tours, more brokerage, bullion, and even liquid cash.

All the goodies come in addition to the two per cent commission and service tax that they customarily get.

Meanwhile, brokers are making hay while the sops shine on them. Happy to be pursued by builders once again, they are content to get what they want.

Prakash Rohera, of Karma realtors who recently attended one such party, said, "Builders are trying to network and devise a new sales strategy with a focus on networking. During a downfall a builder realises that it's a broker who plays an important part in sales and the business generation, which would include project acquisition and even sales."

According to what sources in the stamp duty and registration office told MiD DAY, the number of people coming to register new properties has plunged in the last one year, and with every passing month, the figure is leaping south. Enter brokers.

"I used to cut at least four deals a week. It has come down to one or, rarely, two a week now. People do not want to invest in the market, as everyone's expecting a sort of heavy downfall in the rates," said a broker from the western suburbs. The situation has directly hit business as low sales mean less liquidity, and that's the reason why builders have turned to brokers.

Manohar Shroff, secretary, MCHI-Navi Mumbai, said, "We need brokers to promote our projects. We are giving them two per cent commission and service tax."

Another builder, on the condition of anonymity, said, "The market is going through a terrible phase. Much is dependent on the mood during festivals. If Diwali and Dusshera do not bring in sales, the market would take a turn for the worse. We are hoping that, via brokers, at least certain deals would be sealed, and the scenario would change a bit."

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