COVID-19: How to prepare for the reopening of your office

 May 2020

Once the Coronavirus lockdown is lifted and we are permitted to get back to work, each industry will face its own unique challenges. Owing to the lasting impact of the pandemic, these businesses, including real estate brokerages, will have to come up with effective solutions to stay relevant. Here’s a look at the changes that real estate brokers will have to implement, in their personal space management strategy, to grow their business in a post-Coronavirus world.

How to start planning to return to work?

While there may be suggestions aplenty, it is first important to ascertain what should not be done. “In absentia, the office has become a facility based on stasis. It is not just the buildings that are frozen in time but the very idea of the buildings too. That so much energy has been dedicated to the quick fix, to resume the life suddenly locked down, shows us that there is a considered desire to pretend that none of this lockdown malarkey ever happened,” says Neil Usher, a global workspace design and author of the book The Elemental Workplace, in his recent article titled The Office-In Search of its mojo.

Making arrangements to read the body temperature of each staff member at the entry point and creating seating arrangements that ensure appropriate and safe distance is maintained among the workers, would be a fair starting points and so would be the sneeze guard, desks with in-built hand sanitisers and plexiglass barriers. Companies worldwide are busy engaging with office interior experts, to get quick makeovers for their office spaces.

However, these measures alone cannot solve the various problems that business are now confronted with. Besides preparing the building to welcome the staff in the post-pandemic world, the more complicated task lies in preparing the staff.

How businesses can prepare to go back to the office

Communication with the employees

Convincing your staff to come back to the office, will be a major challenge, especially since previous research indicate that around 16% of flu transmission takes place in the office. Hence, a lot will depend on how effectively you communicate with them and prepare them to get back to work. Be mindful of the fact that in case of attrition, the average cost to hire new staff would be much higher than the price you might pay to rearrange your office.

Office rules in a post-lockdown era

While employees may have been used to a certain office conduct before the pandemic, many habits will need to change, now. One of your key responsibilities of employers, would be to make your staff conscious about these changes and to ensure that they adhere to the new social distancing protocols.

Sharing their lunch, is something your employees may have to stop. The same may be true of keeping their personal belongings at their workstations. With innumerable small and big changes that we all will have to make, to keep the workplace safe, the employer’s role as a communicator and moderator, will be crucial.

Allowing remote working practices

Contrary to what many may believe, remote working will not replace the traditional office. Your staff would be willing to come back to office, once they are assured that it is safe to step in. In this scheme of things, remote working practices will become crucial towards unlocking the potential of the office.

Adopting a policy of rotation / working in shifts

Another effective way to lower the chances of contamination, is to ensure rotational working shifts. However, this may be hard to achieve for the many offices in India that have followed strict and fixed working hours.

Changes in HR policies after COVID-19

Human resource policies can be adjusted such that sick employees are sent on paid leave, to reduce the chances of transmission.

Likely changes in office spaces after the Coronavirus

Practices that are likely to be discardedNew protocols that are likely to be adopted
Shared desksMasks
Elbow to elbow seatingSanitisers
Face-to-face seatingPlexiglass barrier
Frequent board room meetingsCubicles
Shared eating spacesHands-free faucets and dispensers

Also read: 9 natural DIY tips to cool your home this summer

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9 natural DIY tips to cool your home this summer

 May 2020

“ACs and coolers are fine, but nothing evokes my memories of childhood summers like a ‘khus ki tatti’,” says Gurugram-based businessman, Avinash Arora. Confused? Arora spent his summer vacations in a little town named Tundla in UP. North Indian summers are infamous for their intense heat, which can even prove fatal. Very few things can help you survive such weather and a ‘khus ki tatti’ is one of them, the businessman maintains. A ‘khus ki tatti’ is a wholly natural blind/ curtain mat that is made of reeds and special grass, laid out neatly in a box and complete with water pipes for drip wetting. This mat is laid across open doorways and windows and helps lower the temperature indoors.

1. Use water to cool the home

Home hacks can work well. A simple trick involves using a bucket of water. Dip the bottom hems of your curtains into the bucket and leave the fan on. The water slowly seeps upwards through the fabric and the breeze will carry the coolness into the room

2. Keep the rooms dark

We all know how relaxing it is, to get away from the glare of a hot summer sun and into a cool space, under the shade. To achieve this, buy cotton curtains in the darkest colour possible. Ensure that the curtains have a thick lining, so that the sunlight doesn’t fade them. Dark green or brown are easy choices. Keep the curtains drawn shut, right from morning. If your room stays shielded from sunlight all day, it is bound to remain relatively cooler.

See also: Tips to get your home summer-ready

3. Leave the bathroom door open

Keep your bathroom door ajar, pour a few litres of water on the floor and let the breeze do its job again

4. Place plants near the window

Leafy plants, too, can work wonders. If you have some large decorative or potted plants around, move them closer to your windows. They will absorb most of the heat and create a cooling effect around them

5. Leave the fridge alone

You may be tempted to reach for cold water and ice-cubes frequently, but opening and shutting the refrigerator multiple times, increases the load and temperature on its motor. This, in turn, increases the ambient temperature in your house

6. Use cool lighting options

From LEDs to fluorescent lights, there are many cool lighting options available, so there’s no reason to continue using hot incandescent bulbs. Similarly, switch off all electrical appliances, especially the TV, when not in use. Even a mobile charger emits heat

7. Buy a dehumidifier

You will breathe much easier, once the intense humidity is reduced. You can check online sites for the best deals

8. Use cotton fabrics

Summer is no time for fancy satin or silk bedsheets, or for faux leather upholstery. Buy at least one set of crisp cotton bedsheets, in white or pastel shades. If your couch is upholstered in any fabric that’s not cotton or linen, buy some sofa covers or throws that are made of cotton

9. Open the windows at sunset

If you throw open your windows at the right time, you will get the benefit of the cool evening breeze. This will lower the temperature of your home and make it more comfortable for the night ahead. Also, open up every internal door in your house, including kitchen cabinets and bathroom, bedroom and closet doors. This will help, to dissipate the heat that is built up during the course of the day and reduce the overall temperature. Remember to close these doors as soon as the next day dawns and the sun is up again.

Also read: A guide to choosing lights for each room of your house

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What does the expert Vaastu Consultant in India advice to have in homes?

Vaastus hastra originated thousands of years ago in ancient India. Earlier, people were dependent on the fundamentals of nature to fulfill all their basic requirements. Sun provided light & heat, wind gave cool breeze, rivers & rain were the main source of water, earth provided food & shelter and fire heat & protection. Thus the philosophies of the building discipline laid down during those days too were constructed only on the effect of foundations of nature.

Basic elements of vaastu

Vastu distinguishes five essentials of creation that, when honored, augment the flow of prana, universal life-force vigor, within a building. Worshipping nature is a blessed acknowledgement. The five elements

  • Earth
  • Air
  • Fire
  • Water, and
  • Space

These are energetically linked with particular directions. Earth is associated with the southwest; air, northwest; fire, southeast; and water the northeast.

Use optimistic sounds: Some sounds irritate you, and you simply ignore them like creaking sounds of doors and windows, sounds obtained from any kind of friction etc. These sounds generate negativity in your environment. Have a perfect solution to such irritating sounds. Sound of Ring balls and conch is considered appealing and good. As they help in killing the negative energies.

No clutter allowed: Avoid clutter in your house because in Vaastu it is called as a stuck up energy. So much clutter in a house make the inmates of that house restless. This is so bad if you are not relaxed in your own home. So avoid it. Get all the things systemized..

Light in each corner: If you use light only in those rooms which are working in the evening time, then it’s not right. Vaastu recommends that every room and each corner must be lighted once, in the evening. Darkness is a symbol of destructive powers. Vaastu also recommends that northeast and last corner must be kept lighted every time.

Avoid smells: Smell directly affects mind as they form of negative energy. One should avoid it. Use incense and oils of flowers in your house. This will help you to kill the negative energy.

Don’t keep dead things in your house: Broken wall clock and other electronic/mechanical things should be repaired before it affects your vaastu. You can give them away to someone who can make better use of those things. According to Vaastu consultants in India, such kind of dead things increases inactivity and negativity in the family members in the house.

Don’t keep dead things in your house: Broken wall clock and other electronic/mechanical things should be repaired before it affects your vaastu. You can give them away to someone who can make better use of those things. According to Vaastu consultants in India, such kind of dead things increases inactivity and negativity in the family members in the house.

Qualities of Vaastu Consultant in India

The basic quality of the right Vastu Consultant is the insight vision, practical knowledge, intuitive and a sound state of mind. This is essential to assimilate, understand and interpret the observations, diagnose the deep rooted problem and give practical yet effective recommendations with relevance to modern times and expert Vaastu Consultants in India are blessed with all these qualities.

Also read: Easy Vastu and Feng shui Tips for Your Home

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Three ways to earn the trust of your potential client

 May 2020

In these uncertain times amid the Coronavirus pandemic, real estate marketers and agents are finding it hard, to earn the trust of their prospective clients. Here’s how you can make yourself a credible real estate brand, in three easy ways

As economic activities around the world come to a halt due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most of the countries are staring at a recession, with no possible solution in sight, at least till the lockdown is over. Amidst all this, home buying has become more challenging and a risky decision for many. Home buyers and investors are looking for trusted advisors and experts, who can guide them in these difficult times. As a realtor, this is an opportunity for you to get your prospective clients’ attention, by establishing your brand in a positive way. Here’s how you can earn the trust of your buyer, in three ways:

1. Create helpful and educational content

Create and share helpful articles with your potential clientele. You can also collate a property market report, where you can list out the benefits of investing and expected rental returns from specific localities/projects. Share useful news items on your social media profile, to keep your clients engaged. You can also experiment with video content for mass appeal. However, ensure that the look and feel of the content is professional and it is of optimum quality.

2. Improve your visibility

You have to be more visible than your competitors, to establish your credibility in the market. Aspire to become a thought leader and make your expert views known to others. For this, you can attend and participate in virtual summits or webinars and share the links on your business profile. Contribute articles to various online publications, to establish a positive online presence and share the link of your published articles and coverage on your social media feed. Connect your prospective clients to your social media network, so that they can see all this and know that you are a trusted advisor in the sector. People are more likely to believe you, if you have a frequent online presence and there could be no better way of creating an online reputation. This is the time for marketers to take the driving seat and with the right kind of content and useful resources, you can establish a long-term brand for yourself.

3. Be a thoughtful seller

Follow-up is one of the important parts of being a persistent seller. Be gentle but direct in your words. Usually, sellers shy away from asking directly about the purchase decision but if you stand firm in what you think, your client might share his concerns about buying right now more openly. You can also communicate that you are willing to customise your services, according to their needs. Always tell your client why they should invest with you and the value additions they can expect, if they have you as a trusted advisor. You can list reviews and testimonials from your previous clients, to showcase how you have treated your buyers in the past and how satisfied they are now.

Get To Know About: How to Sell a Home Safely During the COVID-19 Crisis?

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How to sell a home safely during the COVID-19 crisis?

 May 2020

Until the lockdown is over, there is little scope for buyers stepping out of their homes, for site visits or inspection. With many districts declared as containment zones and strict surveillance everywhere, social distancing is the only option. So, how do you sell a home in this scenario?

While most of the buyers and investors are keen on holding back their investment, at the same time builders are offering refundable booking deposits and other bargains. To lure these fence-sitters, sellers should have a complete plan and a list of steps to be taken, to ensure a hassle-free experience for the buyers.

Here’s News’ step-by-step guide for selling your inventory without hassle.

Prepare virtual tours

As the lockdown was announced without any prior notice, you may not have a ready Digi-tour of the unit. In this scenario, you can ask the builder to provide the necessary materials, including the brochure and images of the sample apartment if it is an under-construction project, or photos of the actual apartment if it is a ready project. You can also keep 3D floor plans handy, to explain the layout to your buyer.

If you are pitching a resale unit, the owner may have some pictures. You can also ask the owner to join the call and help the buyer to take a positive decision.

To do all this, ensure that you have a stable internet connection and a professional-looking background, to conduct the meetings.

Discuss about the location and neighbourhood

Another thing that you should keep handy, is information about the locality. To explain the nitty-gritties of the neighbourhood, you can also use Google Earth and Google Maps. This will help the buyer to understand the exact location of the project and what lies nearby.

You can also search for locality videos on the internet to justify how property prices may move, in the next few years. If you know anybody who lives in the same neighbourhood, you can ask them for help and get to know a few locational advantages. If you know an existing buyer, try getting a short video from them, explaining how they feel about investment in the project/locality.

Negotiation and final discussion over property price

As the buyer will be looking for discounts, you can include someone from the developer’s team and let them do the negotiation. While you moderate the discussion, ensure that the deal does not go awry, because of minor cost differences. Explain the benefits of investing right now and how prices may increase, once things get back to normal. With everyone looking for cost benefits, the buyer will look to you, for a beneficial deal.

Keep the sale agreement documents ready

While the physical verification of the documents is not possible right now, you can scan the essential documents and send it across to the buyer for scrutiny. You can also ask the buyer, if they want to involve a lawyer through video conferencing. Always include a representative from the developer’s company, so that any query raised regarding the legality of the project can be easily sorted out. Once this is done, you can have another meeting with the buyer, where you involve the home loan agent for processing their loan application. Meanwhile, you can also ask for the token money from the investor.

Once the token money is received and realised by the developer’s company, you can send a confirmation about the same to your investor, from your official ID and clearly mention the terms and conditions of any refund, if possible and other details you have discussed in the earlier stages.

Get To Know About: 30 Technical Terms That Real Estate Agents Should Know

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A guide to choosing lights for each room of your house

Lighting can make or mar the décor of a house. This is why home owners have to be extremely careful, when planning the lighting scheme in their homes.

Basics of home lighting

Lighting alone, cannot enhance the look of a house. It has to be used in combination with other elements in your home. No amount of lighting can uplift the atmosphere of a room that is painted with dull and dark hues. Similarly, artificial lighting can only have a limited impact, when natural light is completely blocked. Moreover, while lighting can be used to create a personal style statement at home, do be mindful that its functionality is equally important. For example, a large chandelier that you could not resist buying, may be too big for your living room and it may seem more like a distraction in the room.

The human eye is also extremely sensitive to lighting. Hence, acutely bright lights will cause discomfort, while dull lighting will result in anxiety. With these basic principles in mind, let us see how to light up each part of the house, in the best possible way.

Lighting for the entryway

For your home’s entryway, you can use mild track lights. Note here that excessive lighting could be blinding and spoil the ambience.

Lights for the living room

Your living room must have overhead lights, along with spotlights that highlight your artwork, furniture or other décor items, if any. You can opt for ambient lighting when you have guests at home, while task lights would suffice, if you just want to read alone in the living room.

The size and luminosity of your lighting elements, such as lamps and chandeliers, should be proportionate to the size of the room.

Workstation lights

Your workstation needs overhead, as well as accent lighting. In case of a table lamp, the bottom of the shade should be at your shoulder height. If it is placed higher, your vision may be blocked by the light.

Bedroom lights

Your bedroom should have a combination of ambient, accent and task lighting, to ensure you get the most out of the lighting arrangement, depending on your mood. While the ambient light (overhead light) would light up the entire room, you would strain your eyes in the absence of a lamp, in case you wish to do some light reading. The height of the lamp should not be more than the height of the night stand. For further illumination of specific spots and artwork, use accent lighting in the bedroom. Also known as spotlights, these can also be used as night lights.

Kitchen lights

Just like your bedroom, your kitchen must have a combination of ambient and task lights. Too many ambient lights will not serve the purpose, when you are performing specific tasks in the kitchen. In case of a kitchen island, the spotlight should be positioned in a manner that the overhead lighting does not cast shadows. Home owners can also install under-cabinet lighting, to illuminate the kitchen countertop. Several kitchen chimneys also come with pre-fitted lights.

Bathroom lights

Your bathroom is no different and requires a combination of lights – accent lights to perform specific tasks and overhead lights, for overall illumination. Again, an overhead light can cast shadows. So, choose a longer, horizontal fixture for better lighting.

Also read: Tips to refurbish your home during COVID-19 at no cost

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Tips to refurbish your home during COVID-19 at no cost

The ongoing Coronavirus lockdown has forced most of us to remain within our homes. However, one can also use this time, to upgrade one’s home and beat boredom, at the same time. News got in touch with architect and interior designer Rimpy Pillania, for tips on refurbishing the house at zero cost. Based on her responses, this is what you could do

Space adjustments

A couple of spacing adjustments can make a big difference. When rearranging, feel free to experiment with different layouts. Every room deserves a focal point. It can be an artwork, a TV unit, a window or a wall with photo frames. Arrange your furniture around this focal point. Arrange the furniture in a way that it fulfills the function of that particular area.

Swap and rearrange

You can merely swap a few things around, to give a makeover to your home. Do not randomly swap anything and everything. Instead, consider the interior style and colour theme/ palette and work towards that.

Sometimes refreshing your home is as simple as rearranging some furniture. The bigger furniture pieces can be rearranged but the smaller pieces like the side table can be swapped. The side tables from the living room could be swapped with those from the bedroom but keep the theme and style of the room in mind. You can also mix the sides tables of different rooms. Asymmetrical, matching sets of furniture can make a room look clean and sharp. However, there is no rule that furniture needs to match and varying a few elements can add contrast and texture to a room.

Do not be afraid to use a blend of different finishes. You can combine metal and wood or different wood finishes also. For a cluster table, try teaming a small round side table with a long, rectangular coffee table or an oval coffee table with a square table.

Swapping accessories

The easiest way to refresh your home is by mixing and swapping throw cushions. Look for throw cushions from different rooms, in different colours and patterns that will coordinate with the palette of the specific room. Combine multiple textures and vary cushions sizes.

You can split up a pair of table lamps and use them in different spots in the room. You can even swap or rearrange your artwork. Swap your bedroom artwork with the living room or combine a few pieces and make an illusion of a bigger artwork. You can also rearrange photo frames on a wall, to refresh the look of the room.

A rug can totally change the look of any room. If you are looking to pull a room together by only swapping out one item, then, the rug is an excellent place to start.

Clean and declutter

Narrow your space down to essentials. There are often accessories that really do not need to be in your house. Get rid of unwanted accessories, so that you have less items to organise. You can move around your home and enjoy the space, instead of moving around things that are in the way.

These simple decorating ideas and swaps can help you refresh and restyle your space with minimal effort on your part.

Also read: Home improvement: 7 ideas for a festive revamp

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30 Technical Terms That Real Estate Agents Should Know

 April 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced many real estate stakeholders to embrace new-age technologies. Real estate agents who have an online presence, have been able to continue running their businesses, while brokers who relied entirely on face-to-face meetings, have been forced to halt their business for the time being.

At a time like this, it may be a good idea to learn about technologies that could enable you to grow your business and the technical terms that would come your way. In this article, we list 30 technical terms that real estate agents will often come across, they try to expand their presence online.


Property technology, shortened as PropTech, is the use of new-age online tools, to assist real estate brokers in managing and selling properties. Using these tools, a broker can carry out nearly all of his business online.


A lead is a contact detail of a customer, who is interested in your product of service. The contact details might include the name, the mobile number, the email address or the social media connection of the user. Every lead is basically a potential customer, which can be converted into actual businesses if pursued effectively., for example, provides sellers with leads in various forms.

Lead generation

While a lead is any person who indicates interest in your product or services, in some way, shape, or form, lead generation is the process of converting this interest into active participation in that product or service.

Lead tracking

Lead tracking is the process of following up with people who have evinced interest in your product or service. It also involves tracking the source and status of leads and coming up with effective actions, towards lead generation. This is an important part of the online business strategy. Lead tracking involves the broker gathering all details of the leads they have generated through various mediums. Using this information, you can follow up on the leads, based on their underlying potential, using lead management software. This huge data can also be used to find out what works out well for your business.

Sales funnel

Once you see a high possibility in a user becoming a prospective client, you use various information and data sets, to make your interactions beneficial for the client from his perspective. For example, if someone is looking for a 1BHK home, you could send him mailers about the launch of such a property, as soon as you get to know about it. In good time, the lead may become a client and the process you followed to achieve this, is termed as funnelling.

Lead conversion

Suppose that a client got in touch with you, through a mobile app or webpage. After making sufficient inquiries and being satisfied with the services, the customer may then be willing to buy the product. This process is known as lead conversion.


Keeping regular contact with past, present and future customers, is of utmost importance for agents. This is where customer relationship management (CRM) comes into the picture. This involves creating a database of all your contacts and using data to reach out to them at regular intervals and special occasions.


In paid advertising, impressions are the number of times any content on your website/app has reached unique users. In other words, impressions are the number of people who saw an online ad, article or video post, because it was displayed to the user. Whether they click on it or not, is not relevant in counting impressions.


Clicks are the number of people who have clicked on your advertisement/content and have come to visit your site, thereby, increasing the traffic on the site.


The traffic on your website or mobile app, is actually the number of visitors during a specific timeline. The traffic on your site/app can further be categorised into unique visitors and total clicks.


Call to action (CTA) describes the interactive features or anything on the app that ignites a response from the user. These help users to take action. For example, an online poll on your website, saying ‘Will property prices crash due to the Coronavirus crisis’, is one feature that would inspire such an action. Similarly, an option given to the users to rate their experience on the site, does the same.


When you send marketing emailers to advertise about your services, the percentage of people who click on links sent as part of the mail, is known as the click-through rate or CTR.


Cost per lead or CPL is an online advertising pricing model, under which a property broker pays advertising platforms only for a qualified sign-up and not for impressions or clicks on their advertisement. This model helps a broker generate secure returns, on his online advertising expense.


Keywords are the words or phrases that users are more likely to use, while looking for online content on search engines. Relevant keywords in your content/video, can ensure better ranking for your services on the web. A buyer, who is looking for a PG in Gurgaon, is more likely to type ‘PGs in Gurgaon’ and not ‘where are paying guest accommodations in Gurgaon’.


Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to the use of paid advertising on search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, to drive traffic to your website. If a user is looking for, say, ‘Property in Gurgaon‘, several ads appear on the screen along with other results. SEM is in fact a more secure way to present your offering, to an already motivated customer.


There are innumerable pages on the internet, providing similar services. Some webpages have higher rankings, while others are ranked poorly. This has a lot to do with the webpage’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). How good your ranking is, in the wide world of the web, would depend on keywords. You need to have a strong SEO in place, to get a good ranking.


Webinar is a combination of the terms ‘web’ and ‘seminar’, which refers to a seminar held online where exclusive audiences are invited to participate. People can conduct and attend webinars using their smartphones, laptops, tablets or desktops. Webinars enable participants to share and discuss data and information, by way of sharing video images and PowerPoint presentations and screen capturing. Zoom, GoToWebinar and Skype, are some of the most popular platforms to conduct webinars.

Landing page

Often, property brokerage houses seek a visitor’s contact information, including name, job title and contact number, to provide certain information. Most common among these are research reports about property markets, etc. The page on which the user lands after entering this personal information, is known as the landing page in digital marketing. Advertisers use the personal information, to enhance their database and as potential leads.


In digital marketing, a microsite is created to focus on a single campaign. If a broker is launching a special offer to, say, sell properties in Gurgaon at a discount, he might launch a sub-site through the main site, to feature the new campaign. These could have a short or long-term life, depending on your requirements. These sites are also supported by their own social media campaigns.


Content management system (CMS) is the software used for website design. This software helps you in creating, managing and modifying content on your website. The most common CMS platforms are WordPress, Squarespace and Wix.


An application or app, on website or mobile, is software designed for a specific task. While an app for desktop or laptop computers is called a desktop application, those for mobile devices are called mobile apps. Using mobile apps, buyers can not only view properties available online these days but also complete almost the entire transaction.


The user-facing part of your website or app is known as its frontend. How a website looks to customers and how useful it is, in his overall experience, is decided by the frontend.


The part that powers a website is known as its backend. All the good work done at the backend, though coding, applications and linkages, is reflected at the frontend in the form of aesthetics and functionality of your webpage/app.


A database is a collection of each and every piece of information that a property broker has – names, addresses, emails, phone numbers and transaction history – with regard to his prospective and existing customers. In database marketing, this information is analysed and used to create a personalised experience for each customer, in order to expand reach and business.


API or application programming interface can mean two things. An API is the way in which web applications are created. APIs also enable software developers to use data and features of other products, to create the programme of their own. Map-based searches, for example, typically use the Google Maps API that enables them to use Google Maps on web pages. The same is true of Amazon Product Advertising API that allows developers to access Amazon’s product database and advertise Amazon products on their website.

User interface (UI)

User interface (UI) of your webpage or mobile app basically describes the role of the design elements and functionality of the page, in increasing or decreasing the user experience on your page/app. These include the size and font of the text, colours used, design of the icons, presentation of data and numbers, etc.

User experience (UX)

Suppose, a customer uses your mobile app and finds it extremely easy to navigate from one page to another and is able to complete the task they intended, without getting stuck anywhere. Their response to the app would be known as UX. A bad user experience can cost someone their business. This is why there is a lot of emphasis on enhancing the user experience by way of keeping things simple and functional, in webpage and app designs.

Mobile responsive

Suppose, you have a website featuring your products. Now, how well does this site run, if a customer chooses to view it on his mobile, which has a smaller screen size? This response of your webpage on the mobile, is known as the mobile response of the webpage. The success of the page would entirely depend on how user-friendly the page is, on mobile.

HD video

Visual display plays an important role, in the sale of property units. A high dynamic range (HDR) video will showcase the property in greater detailing. HDR video displays comparatively better luminance and colourful content, along with eye-catching contrasts.

Virtual tours

A virtual tour is the collaboration of a series of pictures or videos, to enable your user to have a realistic view of the property online. A virtual tour not only gives the buyer a fair idea about the property but also saves time, energy and effort. This is precisely why virtual tours of properties have been popular tools, to make a website user-friendly and stay relevant. At a time when buyers are not able to go for site visits, virtual tours can be extremely handy.

Get To Know About: Our Internet Marketing Agency in Thane

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How to Pay Home Loan EMIs in Case of Job Loss Due to the Coronavirus?

 April 2020

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 25 million people worldwide would suffer job loss due to the Coronavirus spread. Mentioned below are steps a home buyer can take, if his income sources have been adversely impacted because of this crisis.

As the Coronavirus crisis assumes massive proportions, those servicing long tenure loans like home loans have additional reasons to worry apart from being safe during this human crisis. How would one pay home loan EMIs if they were to lose their job?

Home buyers in India largely depend on housing finance to make a home purchase. RBI data shows over Rs 13 lakh crores of housing loans outstanding as on January 31, 2020. This means a large number of buyers are under tremendous pressure due to the human and economic calamity caused by the pandemic. In some cases, the monetary blow is already evident. Companies across the world, especially in the aviation sector, have laid-off millions already as the pandemic devastates their businesses.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), nearly 25 million people would suffer job loss worldwide on account of the extraordinary shock to the economy in the aftermath of the Coronavirus spread. In its report, titled ‘COVID-19 and World of work: Impacts and responses’, the ILO estimated that the effects of the contagion, which has made over 8.5 lakh people sick around the world as on March 31, will be far-reaching, ‘pushing millions of people into unemployment, underemployment and working poverty’.

So, what should a home buyer in India do if his income sources have been adversely impacted by the Coronavirus crisis?

“Ideally, a home loan borrower should include his home loan EMI of at least six months in his emergency fund. Including this would allow the borrower to continue with his EMI payments even during financial emergencies like job loss,” says Ratan Chaudhary, head of home loans,

But, what if you haven’t? Mentioned are some options.

Apply for EMI holiday

Take advantage of the moratorium period: Announcing major relief to home loan borrowers in the aftermath of the Covid-19, the RBI on March 27, 2020, deferred EMI payments under a three-month moratorium period apart from bringing down the repo rate to a record low of 4.4%. The RBI has advised banks not to categorise late payment of long–term loans as non-performing for the period between March and May 2020. As the moratorium period covers time from March 1 to May 31, you get a two months grace period.

However, be mindful of the many catches in this opportunity. First of all, it’s not an EMI holiday -you will have to pay the money later, with an interest. You have just got yourself two months’ relaxation from the RBI, without the late payment being categorised as a ’default’ in your credit history. Additionally, whether the benefit be extended to you would be your lender’s call and the interest to be charged for the delayed EMI payments would also be the bank’s discretion.

Suppose your home loan EMI is Rs 40,000. Up on non-payment, this amount will be added to the loan principal. In the next month, the interest will be computed on the loan outstanding, along with Rs 40,000.

For the borrower who has been laid off, not taking this option is not actually an option. “While availing of the moratorium will cost them additional interest cost, it will give them at least a two month window to get a job or arrange funds from other sources, without hurting their credit score,” says Chaudhary.

Money from severance package

Use the money from your severance package: From June such a borrower will have to arrange the money to pay his home loan EMIs or face the usual consequences- the default would find a mention in your credit and the bank would charge a penalty on each default, apart from the interest.

At this point you shall be obliged to use the money from your severance package to make the payment. This amount would technically be equally to the salary of the number of months mentioned as your notice period under your job contract. You will for instance, get at least two months’ salary as part of your severance package, if your notice period is two months. Since this money is all you have for the time being, you have to be utterly careful in spending it. While you use this money to pay the home loan for now, look for other options in case you aren’t able to find employment for the time being.

Use Fixed Deposit (FD), Recurring Deposit (RD) money

Use your savings: You could also depend on your FD and RD to make the EMI payment for the simple reason that the interest you currently get on these (SBI FD interest is 5-6%) would be much less than the interest you would pay on home loans (SBI home loan interest rate is 8%), more so in case of a default.

“For those who have failed to make provisions for home loan EMIs in their emergency fund, can redeem their existing fixed income investments not tied to any crucial financial goals, such as retirement corpus, children’s education fund, etc.,” says Chaudhary.

Withdraw from Provident Fund (PF)

Use your provident fund money: Through a notification in the wake of a 21-day lockdown, the labour ministry on March 29, 2020, allowed the 60 million subscribers of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) to withdraw a portion of their retirement savings. Subscribers can withdraw 75% of their savings or up to the three months’ basic salary and dearness allowance (DA) from their PF account, whichever is lower. This amount could help you to pay home loan EMIs for some months till you find alternate sources. The best part of the plan is that your request of withdrawal of the PF money will be addressed within three days.

Liquidate assets

Sell gold, liquidate debt instruments: Investment in various debt instruments should be liquidated at this juncture to pay the home loan even in a scenario when you have to take a haircut. You could also pledge gold and jewellery to arrange funds for home loan EMI payment. Amid gold prices touching new lows each day in the aftermath of the pandemic, you might not get what you expected from the yellow metal—gold prices fell to Rs 42,693 per gram on April 1, 2020.

You could also consider selling automobiles, furniture and gadgets that aren’t a must-have at this point.

Equity investments, opines Chaudhary, shouldn’t be touched as that would mean converting your notional losses into real ones.

“The ongoing correction in the equity markets would have already reduced their portfolios by at least 30%,” he says.

Borrow from family, friends

Look for family support: Borrowing from family members and friends who are in a position to lend you money for the time being could be another option. This option is advantageous as:

  • You won’t have to pay an interest on the amount
  • You will have more willing and less scrutinizing lenders than a bank
  • You will not accrue penalty on interest you aren’t able to repay within a specified time.

That said, be realistic about the timeline when you plan to return the money as you are running the risk of stressing your personal relationship here.

Things home buyers should not do if they are paying EMI

Here are certain things that you shouldn’t do as you deal with tough times in your life:

Avoid the lender: The first thing the borrower should do is to inform the bank about the job loss. Avoiding them at this juncture would be the worst thing to do. Genuine borrowers wouldn’t find it difficult to convince the bank to refinance the loan. For instance, by prolonging the tenure, the EMI amount could be reduced.

Expect a salary hike: In a bad job market, finding a job might be an excruciating painful process. You shouldn’t be averse to a job offer that would pay you not more than your last salary package or in fact pay less. Remember, this is only for the time being. You may find a job suited to your skill and profile when things get back to normal.

Also read: Guide to Payment Plans – Which one Should You Go for?

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Why Festive Season is the Ideal Time to Buy a Home

 March 2020

Experts believe that the real estate sector has a lot of unsold inventory in the luxury space but not in the affordable housing space where there is a major supply shortfall.

Hence, the customer has to first segregate both these markets and adopt a suitable approach for each of them that effectively enable them to get the best deal. In the luxury space, it’s clearly a buyer’s market; hence, the buyer can name his price within the region. A 15-20 percent discount below the listed price is possible in projects where the developer has a high debt.

Rohan Bulchandani, co-founder and president, Real Estate Management Institute (REMI) and The Annet Group explains, “The festival period, starting around Janmashtami (August-September) through the end of the year, is the ideal time to buy a home in Mumbai. It would appear that this period creates an almost perfect convergence of the three key elements required for a property transaction to culminate: demand, supply and money.”

Source :

Buyer-led demand

For most Indians, the purchase of one’s home is perhaps the most significant life-investment, requiring a large capital outlay and as a culture deeply rooted in spirituality, religious sentiment and superstition, there is a significant bias towards making such an important life-purchase decision during the festival season.

Developer-led supply

Developers are acutely aware of the buyer-led demand phenomenon during the festive period. Sluggish sales of completed homes over the prior months, have led to a glut in the finished goods inventory, which developers are now keen to offload. As many developers are faced with this situation, the competitive environment drives them to differentiate themselves by offering innovative deals in order to attract customers.

Bank and Housing Finance Corporations (HFCs)-led money supply

To further facilitate property transactions during the festival season, banks HFCs also play their role, in capitalising on the opportunity to increase business for them. In addition to interest rates and EMI reductions, institutions often sweeten their offerings by eliminating the processing fees, waiving customary pre-payment penalties and by including free property and accident insurance.

Things to keep in mind for value picking

“Pick projects where the developer has a good track record of quality, on-time delivery, amenities being delivered across other projects, etc. For the affordable housing space, always go with a branded developer with a high reputation; pick a project which is an integrated township near a railway station. Look for a place where people are already residing or the pos session is only a few months away. This way, the customer can be sure of the amenities being de livered and also that utilities such as water, electricity, etc, are not a problem,” suggests Rohit Poddar, managing director, Poddar Developers.

Buying a property is a one-time decision for many, so while buying a property during the festive season; buyers should focus on the budget and the connectivity of the area as they are the most important factors one should keep in mind for value picking.

Gaurav Shah, director sales and marketing, Ravi Group, feels, “The cost of the property plays an important role, whether the buyer is buying an under construction flat or a resale property. If the cost is not considered, the dream home could end up becoming more of a worry than an escape. Another prime factor is the connectivity. The area should be well-connected to schools, colleges, hospitals, markets, shopping places and bus, train stations. The location is often an afterthought when it comes to purchasing a property because nowadays, buying a property in Mumbai is an expensive affair.”

According to experts, the festive season creates a win-win-win situation wherein buyers, developers and financiers, all benefit from the appropriate environment. Historically, property transactions increase by 25-35 percent during the festive season and in certain cases, upto 40 percent of sales take place during this period.

Also read: Realty Watch – The Five Pillars Of Affordability

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