Like for most other things, many Indians turn to the Internet when they're looking to buy, sell or rent a property. Not that it avoids the hassle of dealing with agents - a majority of the listings on real estate portals are by agents - but it at least saves you the hassle of going through classifieds.
For years, there have been very few players in the online segment when it comes to real estate portals. 99acres.com, magicbricks.com and makaan.com are the more popular websites, which, frankly, look like a maze of property advertisements. A new player, roofontop.com, has ventured into the space now. But how different is it from the other online options?
For starters, roofontop is a neat-looking portal. It is integrated with Google Maps; so, you can see where exactly the property is located, as well as what exactly is in the neighbourhood. Like other portals, there's a search column where you need to feed in details - size of the house, budget, locality - to get the results you're looking for. Roofontop also has a "services" features where you can get a list of architects, interior designers, electrical services and even lawyers! Like its competitors, it also has a host of links to help find home loans and finance options.
There's also something called a "platinum agent" network, which has agents who are not your typical hole-in-the-wall agents. The portal claims these agents have been given special training on how to deal with customers and have better reputation.
Roofontop has been started by Alin Kapilashramai, who is the founder of the portal and wants to give a better experience to customers. While other websites have a pan-India presence - in terms of property listings - Roofontop only has listings from Delhi and NCR. It has plans to expand its operations to other cities as well.
The map feature is certainly the most standout thing about roofontop. In fact, the regular search, at times does have a few glitches. We tried looking for properties in Noida and Gurgaon and on at least four occasions, it asked us to enter the maximum price again, despite keying it correctly. The map, however, worked very smoothly.
The map is dotted with small house icons indicating where properties are available. Once you click on the icon, it will tell you if the property is a two-bedroom house or a three-bedroom one. It also tells you about the rent and the per square foot price the property commands. It's intuitive in the sense that it automatically detects the location from where you're browsing and shows property of nearby areas as well.
Roofontop certainly is better in terms of look than the 99acres.com or even magicbricks.com. The maps feature, however, will be a bit tricky to expand to other cities. It has a lot of pictures and videos to support the properties, which is another thing the competitors lack.