Business Today

Land bank

Real estate and transparency seldom go hand in hand, but here’s one entrepreneur who plans to bring a semblance of clarity into what’s perceived to be a very murky business.

By Nitya Varadarajan        Print Edition: Sept 9, 2007

Real estate and transparency seldom go hand in hand, but here’s one entrepreneur who plans to bring a semblance of clarity into what’s perceived to be a very murky business. Lakshmi Narayanan Ramanujam (29) has set up Real Estate Bank International (REBI), which he plans to capitalise to the extent of Rs 25 crore. Rs 5 crore has already come in, and Ramanujam expects the rest to come from private equity and similar options.

He plans to start operations by Diwali. The company’s aim is to provide a single window clearance through a number of franchisee outlets for real estate buyers.

Interested customers would be offered options of purchasing land anywhere in the country including rural areas and REBI would authenticate the seller, and the property. In other words, REBI would consider (and even advise) the end customer on the best deals based on his budget; the buyer would also be able to get her hands on the relevant ‘ownership’ documents and will also get a guarantee certificate for the same.

REBI would through its franchisees liaise with the local body government during the registration process, and ensure proper demarcation of the surveyed areas (quite often properties overlap with survey numbers) with the help of lawyers. A 2 per cent commission would be levied on the seller and the buyer gets the service free.

“REBI through its franchisees will offer a choice of properties, financial assistance with a bank, insurance policies for house properties, property management services, and relocation services,” says Ramanujam. REBI itself would offer training support, systems support, network support of franchisees and database support (which would be upgraded through its field employees). “We plan to have 3,000 shops across the country,” adds the entrepreneur.

The company is also developing a predictive index that would take into account future valuations. “This would be different from the index being developed by National Housing Bank and the National Pricing Index on housing already in place,” he says. It remains to be seen whether buyers —and sellers— will prefer REBI to their often not-sofriendly neighbourhood broker.

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