Mr. Vikraam Mehta, President, CREBAI in talks with 9 AM Stories
Q. What prompted you to start CREBAI? What was your driving force?
CREBAI is that common platform for the real estate Broking community in India which is committed to work uncompromisingly for the welfare of the realtors. In India, real estate broking is highly unorganized and localized in nature; this is one of the many reasons why brokers’ voices mostly remain unheard by authorities and government.
In initial days, we also were bothered to notice that a number of online entities wanted to enter into broking business but were unable to bring the personal touch and the local knowledge that this business demands.
CREBAI is our answer to many unanswered questions that have been making rounds for long in the Indian real estate market space.
Q. Is CREBAI a business venture, then how is the revenue model of yours?
CREBAI is a non-profit organization. We are in fact the first Indian association to get registered. Our mission is to provide all possible assistance and supports to the real estate agents across locations, under one umbrella. We don’t intend to charge anything to our members ever in future as well. However, there is a onetime fee of Rs. 11,000/- for all members who want to come under CREBAI.
Q. CREBAI is operational for a few months now. Please tell us about a few initiatives taken by CREBAI till date to address the issues faced by the brokers.
We take a lot of pride in saying that we are already 70,000+ members strong. I must say that we have achieved a lot in terms of being the voice of the real estate broking industry in India. Our main motto is to earn recognition for the agents and bring transparency and parity in the overall industry scenario. We have already presented several cases to the government and I must mention that we have got some really favorable responses too.
We have an assurance from the PMO that our demands and concerns are being considered under RERA. I would also like to add that CREBAI and the works done by it have been highly appreciated at PMO level.
Another big achievement of CREBAI was the acceptance of the case against the online broking community by Competition Commission of India in the month of April, 2016. We filed the complaint in the month of March, 2016 and in no time it was accepted.
Within only a few months, we have spread our wings into different locations such as Mumbai, Pune, Nasik, many parts on Gujrat, Kolkata etc. We have established committees at state level and a central level governing body to ensure smooth operations.
Another offering coming from CREBAI’s kitty is the ‘Real Estate Broking Course’ in association with Accommodation Times. Our objective is to impart knowledge to everyone who is willing to take up real estate broking as a profession. This business is highly customer-centric and a lot of knowledge is required about local geographies and culture. We want to empower all of them who enroll with us to do fair business and earn well. We offer a certificate to all who successfully complete the course.
Q. You said you have filed a case against the online broking communities. How do you think CREBAI can cater to today’s internet-savvy customers, especially NRIs if you are planning to oppose the online broking?
We are not at all against of online broking. In fact, we welcome them to do business with all good intentions and wishes. All we want are fair practices and regulations in the processes. They claim to offer services minus the brokers’ involvements but the reality is they too are doing broking business only. We want this disparity to go away.
Also, CREBAI has a fully functional website where all our members are listed. We intend to keep it a non-profit platform and make it useful for everyone.
While the broking business is very localized and specific to micro-markets, CREBAI gives the full freedom to transact across locations. For example, a buyer from Bangalore can purchase a property in Chennai from a local agent via our portal.
Q. Tell us about a few promotional activities you are currently doing? On 2nd September, we celebrate World Real Estate Broker’s Day. We are also offering a huge discount of 50% on the brokerage fees for bookings done with our members on this occasion. You may notice signage, banners at the offices of our members.
Q. What are your future plans?
The one point agenda of CREBAI is to keep working for the welfare of real estate brokers in a relentless manner. Whenever and wherever our members need us, we would be there to support them by every means. We have in-house panels of able solicitors, architects, CAs and other experts for providing our members with fast and proper solutions to the various issues they may are faced with.
We aim to continuously fight for our members’ rights and try to get the recognitions that they deserve.
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