This Mumbai-based Startup Changes the Way You Can Invest and Use Second Homes

This Startup Changes the Way You Can Invest and Use Second Homes

Share Acre connects the finest real estate, financial, legal, brand, investment, and interior advisors, as well as property owners and developers; in a conscious effort to extend the opportunity of owning fully furnished and serviced vacation homes to their customers at a fraction of the cost. Share Acre operates in the secondary/vacation home market. In the year 2014, as per HinduBusinessLine, as many as 1.3 million second homes were sold in India. This market has been growing at a rate of 10-12% in sales year on year. In absolute terms, the growth registered by the vacation home segment in 2014 was 57 per cent over the year 2013. But, more recently, consistently rising property prices have deteriorated the ability of buyers to purchase their dream second home. Share Acre provides Indians the opportunity to realize this dream by offering co-ownership of secondary homes.

About the founders
There are three cofounders:

  • Nirbhay Bakshi: Graduated from O. P. Jindal Law School, on a full scholarship, with a BA. LLB degree in 2018. He went on to work in corporate law at the Banking and Finance team of ELP, Mumbai. He also had a standing offer to work with one of the best law firms in the country but, upon realizing the benefits of co-owning a vacation home while his parents considered investing in one, Nirbhay forwent this opportunity to co-found Share Acre. He focuses on all the transactional aspects of the company as well as customer outreach.
  • Udai Chawla: Graduated from Drexel University in 2017 with a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration. He then went on to work for Sothebys International Realty and subsequently, BPTP (a real estate firm in New Delhi). While working at these organizations he noticed a void in the consumer buying experience in India’s Real Estate Industry. With rising prices & without alternate ways of ownership, Udai saw an opportunity to disrupt the Real Estate industry and therefore, committed his efforts to co-founding Share Acre. Primarily, his role is property acquisition and customer relations.
  • Vivan Puri: Graduated from New York University in 2017 with the second-highest distinction (magna cum laude) and earlier completed an economics extension program at Harvard University. He has worked in several divisions including financial advisory, real estate marketing and corporate law. His focus is on business development for Share Acre.

We are publishing an interview with Vivan Puri:

Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
Ans: We are solving the following problems:

  1. Share Acre allows two or more buyers to come together to split the cost and co-own a secondary home. Thereby, Making investment and owning a second home accessible to a larger population.
  2. A curated and end to end platform: We only list exclusive properties after thorough due diligence. Additionally, we offer end-to-end services that include purchase and documentation and thereafter,interior design and property management.
  3. Real estate agent: Most real estate agents earn brokerage from buyers and sellers, sometimes taking as much as 3% from the buyer. We only charge the seller.
  4. Full and final prices: All properties on our website have an all inclusive final cost: including property cost, taxes, interiors (full furnishing), a security deposit and first year maintenance. Therefore, contrary to the norms of the industry, there are no hidden costs and the buyer knows exactly what he is paying for in the percentage he buys (25% – 100%)

Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
The current dilemma faced by buyers wanting to purchase second homes to improve their lifestyle, is that the high cost of property prevents them from doing so. Though reputed developers intend on providing quality constructs at an affordable price point, they are unable to achieve this due to the surging cost of land and construction. Having identified this dilemma, Share Acre allows buyers to split the cost and co-own secondary homes.

Furthermore, by its very nature, a second home is used only a fraction of the time. The property, then lies vacant, while the buyer continues to bear the maintenance costs. Fractional ownership, assuming 4 co-owners, allows each buyer to enjoy 90 days in the property ensuring equal access during season days, weekends and bank holidays, all managed through a property manager and the management platform provided by Share Acre to all customers free of cost. Moreover, it allows buyers, via their property manager, to rent out their share of days and earn rental income while splitting the cost of maintenance. Thereby, allowing both, an increase in quality of lifestyle, and an investment opportunity.

Another challenge with buying second homes is the first-hand research that goes into selecting the right location and development. Currently, there is no other platform forming a list of curated listings. We, on the other hand, list properties after thorough legal and financial due diligence. Furthermore, all our listings have pre-negotiated, all-inclusive prices that include the property cost, stamp duty, GST, cost of furnishing, first year maintenance and a security deposit. Thereby, ensuring complete transaction transparency and no hidden costs to our buyers.

Additionally, today buyers typically have to pay brokers a high fee, as much as 3% of the property value. Share Acre charges no brokerage from the buyer and provides services beyond the purchase process including, but not limited to, documentation, property management and interior design.

Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: Our USPs are:

  1. Only company in India providing the service of co-ownership of second homes.
  2. We don’t charge brokerage from buyers, while providing end-to-end property related services.
  3. Curated and end- to- end service platform being made available to the buyer. Made possible by our due diligence in scouting 100’s of properties across India, before selecting just a handful to list.
Shimla Auramah Valley

Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have?
Our assumption when entering the market was that developers would be hesitant to pre-negotiate prices and provide all the documentation we required to review. However, upon realizing the logic and benefits of co-ownership for their customers, they willingly signed on. Moreover, approaching renowned developers have given us the utmost transparency, confidence and cooperation in our vetting process.

Villa in the palms by Anokha Goa

Our ideal customers from the supply side are developers that provide quality products, are charging correct prices and have a brand recognition in the region. We have signed on 20+ developers across India. On the demand side, we believe we have a large target market of individuals in the upper-income segment ranging from the age of 30-55 that have aspirations of investing in and owning a vacation home.

Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
We fail daily. Because failure is not meeting our expectations. Each day we hope to achieve more than the last, whether it is to add services, secure tie-ups or fulfill demands of our potential customers. This strive to better our self each day, only leads to added value to the company. Failure for us means not meeting our expectations. Hence, it is fair to say that we fail daily. Each day we hope to achieve more than we did the last, whether it is to add services, secure tie-ups or fulfill the demands of our customers. This strive to better ourselves and improve day by day only adds value to the company, thereby, also setting a high standard for our competitors to match up to.

Q.: How are you pricing the Product? Explain your thought process.
All our listings include property cost, governmental fees, a security deposit and management cost. Unlike conventional real estate agents, we do not charge any brokerage, and have a price point of property management below almost all the companies out there. Similarly, our interior cost, by Sicidi Architecture, will be provided at below market averages. All of which, reduces the cumulative investment of the buyer, while also allowing him/her to invest as little as 25% of the total cost.

Q.: How did you get your first customer?
We secured a tie-up with our first developer by just reaching out with our offering and describing the monetary benefits in detail. Similarly, we are about to close our first sale just by buyers understanding the benefits of buying fractions v.s outright.The benefits include added value to lifestyle, having ownership of a property worth 4 times the value you paid, and investment returns via rental income and property appreciation.

Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Mr. Jayendra Shah is a senior corporate strategist involved in many transactions in his career of over 30 years. He has strong experience in transaction advisory, negotiations and cross-border transactions. He has expertise in advising companies of various sizes ranging from startups to large corporations, such as Unichem Laboratories. He was an angel investor and is also an advisor to the company.

Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Our startup work began in 2017. We spent months creating a co-ownership agreement that would protect our buyers rights. For this we brought on board one of the best law firms in India, Desai and Diwanji. We then consulted with a renowned chartered accountancy firm, N.A Shah Associates LLP, to help us create a tool to analyze investment value in properties. Thereafter, we spent months scouting for the best properties across India, and tying up with developers. Following which, we brought on board Sicidi Architecture, who have a client list including Amitabh Bachan and Priyanka Chopra, to provide interiors (complete furnishing) at a cost effective, below market rate. Thereby allowing us to take the offering and launch in 2019. The big picture here being that, despite being a new company, we have brought only the best personnel in the industry on board to provide services at below market costs. And we will continue to do so we expand our offering in India and then across borders.

Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in details:
We have expanded to over 7 cities in India and have secured properties of the best developers in the industry, including Della (Lonavala), Ekta (Nashik), Ashray (Goa), Ahillia Homes (Goa) and Tata (Goa). We receive over 300 visitors on our platforms and have 4 buyers completing the purchase process.

Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Currently there are no companies offering fractional ownership of secondary homes in India and none with a flexible day sharing model like ours in the world. Moreover, there are multiple listing platforms but these platforms have countless listings without curation, which we aim to provide. Similarly, there are countless real estate agents that charge brokerage from both the buyer and the seller, we only charge from the seller and this sets us apart. There are various property management and interior design firms primarily focusing on volume, we on the other hand, provide the same services at below market averages.

Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles.
We brought on board Mr. Naresh Wadhwa – Former President and Country Manager; Cisco Systems India.. He is assisting in the strategy and business development. To ensure we can continuously add to our offering, which will include expanding to new locations, providing additional services to our customers at low costs and so on, we brought on board Mr. Sahil Dhowan (head of TCCM fund) to advise on investment and growth. We have tied up with Opnhouz, a real estate brokerage firm in New Jersey helping us reach out to NRIs.
We have Vignesh Prasad, a graduate from Georgia Tech, assisting in the creation of the unique user dashboard and property management platform. And have a host of real estate agents, made available to us by our mentors, Vijay Raheja of V Raheja Design and Arjun Puri of Puri Constructions.

Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
We plan to close two sales and expand our offering to 2 new cities.

Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Create value for your customer in the long run and profitability will follow.

Thanks Vivan. Best wishes!