Bottom Line: Developers prefer investors as project riders because the investors are least interested about timelines and quality.
“Today approvals can take anything but not less than one year. During that phase nobody is going to stand by you except the investor. Even the banks are not going to fund you. All the organized funding starts once you have something ready to offer to them. But you cannot keep waiting that once the project gets approved then only you will launch it; you need some quasi investment at each every level,” says a candid Sunny Bijlani, Director of Supreme Universal on the advantages of having an investor as project rider.
Not many developers would publicly admit it but the fact of the matter is that there are many advantages for the developers to have investors as project anchors. They are the one who bring to the table initial investment, often even without any collateral or receivable. The developers need investors to provide cash, to give them money even for land, and only the investor will give them money at that early stage.
There are two models that work in the real estate investment. Mostly it is a pure investors’ pre-launch with minimum amount of understanding as to what kind of a project it would be in future. The second kind of pre-launch is crowdfunding where there is little higher understanding.
In this case the developer has the plans of what would be the shape of the project but he does not have sanctions. He has the layouts ready, even floor plans and unit plans ready and he would go for crowdfunding. So, it is a mass pre-launch and not depending only for the select set of investors.
Though the law of the land does not allow this kind of opaque transactions but it is an open secret in the Indian property market today. It is often done in an IPO model when the entire city knows about it. The advantage of this IPO style pre-launch for the developers is that the price point here is higher than the price point at which they offer it to the select set of investors.
However, the developers have their own reasons to hail investors. Devang Trivedi, Managing Director of Progressive Group goes to the extent of calling the investor as more or less a gentleman. According to him, unlike end users the investors are not problematic to ask so many questions. Even if there are some escalation charges, it is easy to deal with one such gentleman than 15 or 20 other people who will keep fighting. He will understand it. So he is an easier person to deal with once he comes in.
“Whatever I am saying is unfortunate reality and you must give credit to the developers to weather so many variables and still he is delivering despite of all the odds. Everything is against him – court, ministry, municipality, local factors, environment and market forces. The fact is that investor remains an asset for the developer. It is not just about his entry that brings money to the table. But even when he exits in many cases he does not sell it to the end users but sells it back to the developer, who buys it at thousand odd rupees cheaper than the price at which developer will sell to the end user,” says Trivedi.
So, other than the fact that the investor brings first flush of money to the cash starved sector, what also suits the developers is the fact that the investor is not going to ask them so many questions, like whether the apartment is vastu friendly or where is the wind blowing.
They just want a certain number of flats; not even bothered about the floors etc. He is not questioning the carpet and built up area. He is an easy guy to deal with as opposed to an actual user who will ask uncomfortable questions and make their life miserable.
Moreover, once the investor has given in his money he is non-interfering. Whereas an actual user wants to visit the site every month and then he will seek explanation about the pace of construction and every other thing. But for the investors all that matters is that his money keeps growing and hence he has a win-win relationship with the developer.
By: Ravi Sinha