When two friends Nikhil Nimborkar and Nikhil Kitukale from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, India, observed an upward trend in real estate in their home towns, they saw an opportunity. While most youngsters get captivated by the sight of rising skyscrapers and huge construction projects, these two college friends thought of finding a solution to the cumbersome process of buying and selling a home; and even renting one. They soon came up with Gharfinder.com, an online portal that allows buyers to explore options available for buying, selling or renting real estate properties.
How it started
Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, comprising of eleven districts under the Nagpur and Amravati divisions, has seen a recent boom in construction. Coupled with the real estate boom, the desire to own a home has become popular with the young demographics, whose families are increasingly becoming more and more nuclear.
Before embarking on the venture, the two friends did a thorough research and analysis of the segment to understand the disposition of people in the area. They observed that a huge percentage of the young crowd that had moved out of Vidarbha to cities like Pune and Mumbai for work, eventually wished to return and retire in their own hometowns. However, because they were located in other cities, relatively far away from their hometowns, it was a big hurdle for them to search for and finalize the purchase of their homes. They had the financial muscle to invest in their first homes but no support system to facilitate their purchase.
The challenge for this group was to find reliable brokers who would provide transparent and efficient real estate services. Once the understood this problem, the two Nikhils got around to developing a solution. They designed a portal exclusively for the Vidarbhians. “Because the needs of a Vidarbhian can only be understood by a Vidarbhian” says Nikhil Kitukale, Co-founder of Gharfinder.com, in half jest! As it turns out, the portal is now popularly known as ‘made by Vidarbhians for Vidarbhians’.
With big competitors like 99acres.com, Housing.com, and Commonfloor.com, who are spending a big chunk of their funds in advertising, Gharfinder.com is banking on its niche geography to make it big.
What initially started, only in the Amravati district, has now expanded to rest of the Vidarbha region, and is a well known property search website in the districts of Amravati, Akola and Nagpur. At present there are forty active real estate builders and over 150 agents signed up on the portal.
Each listing is first verified for its genuineness, credibility and experience in the industry. Nikhil Nimborkar, the co-founder who is based out of Amravati, meets the builders and brokers himself to verify their authenticity before the listing goes up on the portal. This practice has ensured two things – one; that the property buyer is not led down-the-garden-path, and two, only valid brokers and builders come forth to get listed.
In order to promote the portal, GharFinder.com recently arranged a three-day property show called ‘Vidarbh Property Expo’. Aimed at showcasing close to 45 real estate companies of the Vidarbha region, the expo held at Grand Mahefil Inn Hotel, Amravati, saw a huge response from the market.
Nikhil Kitukale, who is based out of Pune, manages the sales and marketing functions, while Nikhil Nimborkar, based out of Amravati, manages the team of eight, and all the local and administrative tasks. Despite being located in two different cities, distance does not seem to be a hindrance for the two. “The remarkable co-ordination that we have ensures our operations do not face any glitches due to the distance,” says Nikhil Nimborkar.
With an initial funding of Rs.1000000 by an angel investor, Gharfinder.com plans to expand to other cities of Maharashtra within the next one year. Website- www.gharfinder.com