Home Inspection: Past, Present & Future
When I started on the Entrepreneurship journey with Pashyanti Technologies the idea was to help all real estate customers make a more informed choice based on a deeper knowledge of the product they are buying. Considering that Home buying is not only one of the most expensive transaction but also one of the most emotionally engaged buying in a persons lifetime I expected the value proposition to reverberate with home buyers. But as they say, we are not living in an ideal world.
The year that has gone was all about learning about our customers, market and business. And it would be an understatement to say we learnt a lot. The over optimistic entrepreneur was beaten down into a more realistic student of the business. I would like to share a gist of what I learnt about the Home Inspection industry in India and how I envision the future.
Home Inspection was a relatively new concept (many are oblivious even today) in the Indian Real Estate market. Acceptance was always going to be a challenge. The fact that any kind of service is underappreciated by the India consumer is the truest for Home Inspection. One is happy to invest Rs 1 Crore in an asset on trust but not willing to spend another Rs 15000 to get it inspected and get the peace of mind.
Home Inspection industry had to face the two prong challenge of convincing the home buyer as well as the home developer. Somehow, both home buyer and home developer felt the Home Inspection is going to favour the party on the other side of the table. And I can understand it. When developers are not really putting their whole effort in creating good products they will always feel the home inspection will expose their shortcomings. The home buyer on the other hand has to compromise at every level of home buying experience which makes them feel that every agency involved in the process is out their to pinch another penny out of his purse.
We started getting traction in the past few months although the business development efforts were on since more than a year. Most of the calls we get were of curative nature than preventive. Most common request: Seepage. Most who called encountered a seepage issue and wanted to identify the source. While we were well equipped to do it a much better proposition would have been to identify the same even before it was evident.... Preventive rather than curative.
Recently we have started getting requests for home inspection before closing the resale deal. And I feel resale transactions have the most appropriate usecase for Home Inspection along with Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) before taking possession in case of new construction. We are happy to see that our inspection report was useful for negotiating further in one case and making an informed decision in the other.
With increasing awareness about Home Inspection, I can see more and more real estate transactions, especially the resale ones, will be executed with Home Inspection as an integral part of the transaction. Not just the home buyers but also the developers will start using Home Inspection as a tool to showcase the quality of their product and improving customer confidence in the product. With more and more ready-to-move-in properties available with the developers without buyers in sight third party Home Inspection should be used as an effective tool to differentiate their product from the clutter in the market.
With RERA looking to address the issue of poor product quality by standardising the defect liability period of 5 years, the developers are under pressure to establish the quality of the product at the time of handing over possession. A third party Home Inspection report can serve the purpose of documenting the quality that can become the reference document in case of any future conflict. The need for the document though not very evident today as RERA is still new and most properties covered by RERA are not even 2 years old yet. When the conflict arises 4 years after the possession it will be almost impossible to address the issue with no reference of quality of the product at the time of possession. The least home buyers can do today to protect themselves from future conflicts is to get the home they buy inspected before taking possession of it.