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Wed 19 Jun 2019 01:41 PM

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Inside Hod.Co's revolutionary PropTech real estate marketplace

Brand view: HOD.CO is the first dedicated PropTech real estate marketplace in the region that directly connects property owners with buyers and tenants. At its core, it's a cost-saving platform that combines innovative technology and expertise to bring value to its users

Inside Hod.Co's revolutionary PropTech real estate marketplace

1) What is the company’s competitive advantage? Why and how will it be sustained?

HOD.CO is the first dedicated PropTech real estate marketplace in the region that directly connects property owners with buyers and tenants.

At its core, it’s a cost-saving platform that combines innovative technology and expertise to bring value to its users.  Also, it is a marketplace for over 100 approved service providers, offering a range of ancillary services directly to users at significant discounts.

HOD.CO’s vision centres on unlocking information to empower consumers to make more informed purchase decisions at a time when the real estate sector has transformed, resulting in a more tech-driven experience.

HOD.CO also draws on how technologies are revolutionising the sector by adapting a peer-to-peer model, which will be how future business will be conducted.  With artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things bringing transformational changes that could be more significant for global businesses than the invention of the internet, we see a strong and sustainable model for the industry.

This is significant for the UAE,  which is focused on the smart transformation of the real estate sector. For example, the Dubai Land Department has announced its plans to deploy blockchain technology to create smart contracts that will enhance the speed of real estate transactions. In this fast-changing and dynamic tech-driven landscape, we see growing relevance for our peer-to-peer, innovative PropTech model.

2) What are’s future plans, vision and mission for the company?

We plan to educate people on the real estate eco system, especially the digital opportunity, and empower them to connect directly and transparently.

We also aim to position HOD.CO as the region’s first PropTech enterprise by serving as a comprehensive, technology-driven platform that empowers people in property transactions by connecting buyers and sellers directly with the owners for free.

We are seeking to transform the conventional property market with the power of digital technology, and democratising the real estate sector by bringing more savings for customers.

3) Do you think Expo 2020 will have a positive impact on the real estate market in the UAE?

Of course; Expo 2020 Dubai will serve as a catalyst for the property sector – now – and in the future, with more than 25 million visitors expected during the six-month event.

Dubai’s investment for the Expo 2020 Dubai is not just for the event but for the long-term, and with the city set to welcome professionals and visitors from around the world, the growth opportunities that Dubai offers will encourage inward flight of both investment and professionals – driving the growth in demand for real estate.

Further, the new initiatives announced by the government – such as long-term visas for professionals, visa extensions for retirees who invest in real estate – and the Golden Card – are all incentives that will spur real estate activity.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, is undoubtedly one of the greatest leaders of our time, and has successfully turned Dubai into the marvellous place that it is today.

I have absolute faith in the leadership and am certain that the government will continue to surprise us with its growth and innovation initiatives, and in providing a wonderful platform for the business community and individuals to live, work and thrive in.

4) Do you think investors have trust in the region’s real estate when it comes to transparency?

Evidently, there is a direct correlation between investor trust and the performance of the real estate sector. The challenges that the real estate sector witnessed in the past had much to do with the global investment climate, and it is to the credit of Dubai that it has shown remarkable economic resilience due to the emphasis of the government on promoting transparency across all operations.

This is particularly evident in the property sector, which now has clear guidelines of operation, ensuring that investor interests are well protected. Further, as a hub for business and leisure,  with its central geographic location, world-class infrastructure and superb safety standards, investors find in the UAE a safe investment destination – that not only assures long-term value for their investment but also an enriching lifestyle.

5) As is a tech driven company, please describe how you are going to impact the real estate sector?

HOD.CO intends to bridge the gap between consumers and asset owners by offering a convenient, PropTech platform. For long, customers had no viable alternative than to depend on real estate agents who would charge commissions in the name of guidance and security.

Today, by leveraging the impact of technology, HOD.CO’s objectives are to empower property owners and buyers/tenants to take control of their own property deals and save money, at the same time, offer expert guidance for cost-efficient services.

6) Home buying goes high-tech as millennials become largest real estate buyers, please elaborate?

The millennial customer segment is becoming increasingly important, and represents the future home buyer. There is clearly a decisive shift in the profile of the real estate customer. Today, the customer profile comprises younger people with higher disposable income, a propensity to save, and a desire to shift their lifestyle.

Young people are seeking residences that are not only affordable but also trendy, to meet their lifestyle aspirations. Millennials prefer to stay in proximity to public transport hubs, such as metro stations, taxi stops, and airports. Further, the digital-savvy young people – the connected generation – have access to information at their finger-tips.  They research online, access peer reviews, interact and exchange information, all in real-time, and have a strong understanding of the value of investing in property.

7) Why, statistically, the industry needs to recognise the importance of consumer behaviour and technology?

As mobile technology gains momentum, it serves as a strategic tool that drives online interactions. In the real estate industry, many real estate agents don’t truly understand the overall affect that their online marketing strategies have on their own success in terms of gaining clients and expanding their business.

This is more so because the search-trends of the Millennials have changed. Through online engagement, such as Virtual Reality Tours and Augmented Reality Experiences, they are more empowered, which means real estate stakeholders must deliver real value in their offerings to engage the customers.

It is important for developers and all stakeholders in the real estate sector to move to the tech-era and be digital-ready.

This means real estate marketers must have a strong online presence to increase their business. Obviously, a potential home buyer wants to see the home in person, but first they will check about it online, which makes for more informed buying decision

8) How is the real estate industry in the UAE focusing on the needs of mid-income consumers to ensure it is offering them value?

A strong mid-income segment is key to getting the economy moving. They play a central role in the political and economic development of all nations.

Throughout the world, the size, health and resources of the mid-income segment are seen as key factors in determining the progress of and sustainability of economic growth.  As a relatively affluent group, they provide an important base of education and skills, promote entrepreneurship and investment and are an important source of consumer demand.

Affordable housing is set to gain traction in the UAE as more property developers focus on this segment.

Recent data show that the UAE is the second biggest market for affordable housing in the GCC as it requires 98,000 units by 2022 to cater to the needs of the middle-income group -those earning between Dh15,000 to Dh30,000 per month.

However, a gap in the market still exists for households earning less than Dh10,000 monthly, offering a huge opportunity to developers to invest in the affordable segment.

Middle-income households are the largest economic group that have historically remained out of the freehold real estate market - for a long time, partly due to the lack of affordable home suppliers.

The UAE industry is offering exclusive solutions to mid income earners- affordable housing like in international City, Dubai Silicon oasis)

There is significant understanding of the importance of this segment in the UAE, which has led to the launch of several initiatives. For example, developers have joined hands with banks to create financial solutions that assist mid-income consumers.

For instance, exclusive home buying solution that simplifies the home buying process through a heightened degree of flexibility and affordability. Customers can choose payment plan options of up to 48 months at mortgage-like rates. Those opting for payment plans of up to 6 months will pay no charges.

These solutions address all types of payments towards home buying, enabling customers to budget payments to the developer, service fees, registration fees, bank processing fees, and much more.

Designed around their home buying needs, customers are granted the power of choice with a variety of benefits across the entire spectrum of the home buying journey. These kind of exclusive home buying solutions address the needs beyond home financing; it provides security for customers’ families, wealth, and health, with a wide array of benefits.

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