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Property Management Firms Seek to Help NRIs With India Houses

Startups promise to handle issues such as maintenance and supervision of NRIs' properties in India..

Property management NRI

Real estate is one of the popular investments for NRIs in India. It is, however, an investment that comes with a catch. Who deals with issues like maintenance, utility and property tax?

Propadis, an India and US-based property management service for NRIs, promises to do just that. Started on July 5 last year, the firm has already acquired 50 properties on board, with a presence in six cities and 10 verified service providers. Propadis follows a B2C model and offers services such as preventive maintenance for increased value of asset, ensuring better quality for tenants, tighter rent collection process and quarterly visits. It aims to help over 30 million NRIs by providing a trusted management service for immovable property in India for an annual fee of $299.

How it Began

The company was founded by three friends, Vinod Poddar, Shantanu Dev and Prasanth R Bhat, after US-based Poddar found himself in a fix as he had to pay quarterly maintenance for his apartment in Mumbai. His bank account was locked for certain documentation and his US credit card was declined.

“The only option I had left was to call my father, who is over 70 years, my cousin and everyone I know, and also call the person up who does the maintenance work, all in IST timing,” Poddar told YourStory.com, a website that covers startups.

He soon found that his problem was not uncommon. When he started talking to his friends in the US, he discovered that a relative or a friend back in India was usually summoned to manage the process. In worst cases, one of the family members had to visit India to sort things out.

Poddar wondered if “a happy event like buying or owning a property in India really become a nail-biting, teeth-grinding occasion”, according to the website.

Property Management Firms

The problems faced by most NRIs have spurred the demand for property management firms. “Despite having a lot of relatives, friends in Chennai, we were unable to get basics done because everyone is so busy these days,” Prasad Rao, a software consultant from SouthLake, Texas, had told the Times of India earlier. “Once, the electricity connection in our flat was disconnected. But with a property manager, we were able to get a lot of work done and at very affordable rates.”

Propdial, an end-to-end property management service for NRIs, also caters to this need. Propdial was launched in April 2016 to save NRI property owners time, says founder Vinay Prajapati. It spares them from worrying about issues like maintenance, repairs, renting, rent collection, as well as responding to tenant complaints.

The Market

The Indian real estate market is expected to touch $180 billion by 2020, according to India Brand Equity Foundation. The housing sector makes up five to six per cent of country’s GDP.

According to Propadis, 80 per cent of NRI property investment is in Bengaluru, Mumbai and the National Capital Region. It is a trend Prajapati noticed as well before he started Propdial. According to him, thousands of residential properties were lying vacant in metropolitan cities.

When it comes to NRIs’ investment in real estate, they frequently rely upon social media sites such as Quora, and see a flood of answers from real estate property management services, such as Fella Homes, Managed Homz and Nestaway. Startups like HomeInspecktor also offer end-to-end home inspection to ascertain the health of any property. These property managers look after everything from plumbing, rent collection from tenants, commercial property rent-outs, crediting advances or wiring money to different countries.

Other similar startups like Portiqo, Konnect Realty and Help at Home also have clients in nearly 20 countries.

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