A discussion on business intelligence in the success and growth of Bproperty with Khan Tanjeel Ahmed, the company’s General Manager of BI, Tech & Marketing.
What is Bproperty’s vision and how does the company fit into the real estate landscape in Bangladesh?
Bproperty has one goal – make real estate an easily accessible and enjoyable commodity for everyone in Bangladesh by becoming a household name regarding anything real estate. And we know this is possible because so much demand already exists in the market. The issue is, in fact, supply. Based on 2021-22 data, the number of new properties being developed (supply) is between 10,000 to 15,000 while demand stands at almost 250,000; nearly 25 times more. While catering to this kind of disparity is difficult, we have figured out a solution.
Bproperty is on a mission to enhance and structure a secondary property market solution. We help people sell their properties and buy or rent new homes. We even provide functional services like complete legal assistance, home loans through our various bank partners, and even aesthetic interior design solutions for those in need of them.
Where Bproperty fits into the real estate industry is in ensuring reliability at every step of the process. We thoroughly evaluate properties for buyers; we check documentation, ensure legality, recommend properties, and offer solutions to any issues that may arise throughout the process.
What is business intelligence and what is its role in enhancing the real estate experience offered by Bproperty?
The core functionality of business intelligence, or BI, is to understand businesses based on data. Data can be internal, collected by the business, or third-party, collected from the market. A BI team’s job is to extract the data, relate it to business elements, analyse it, and make data-driven decisions to aid in business processes.
Bproperty started operations in 2016 but only formed the BI team in 2019. Till then Bproperty had acquired a lot of data and information but there were no specialists to decipher and analyse it to be used in a constructive way.
BI at Bproperty helps enable data-driven decisions for business processes as well as for buyers and sellers. For example, there often exists a gap between buyers’ wants and needs. A buyer may want a 3-bedroom property, but they could be a husband and wife duo without children. In that case, a 2-bedroom property may be what they need instead. BI helps us compare wants to needs so that we can help audiences realise their best choice.
For sellers, the biggest contribution of BI is help with pricing. Some sellers tend to arbitrarily quote asking prices; they paid 2.5 crore for a property, so maybe they would be okay settling for 3 crore. But BI considers several factors; the location, age of the property, facilities, amenities, and so on, and recommends price points which would sell the property more reasonably at a much faster rate.
Finally, BI makes work processes efficient by identifying deviations in demand and supply. For example, without BI, we would have to estimate which areas to focus our operations on. But with all the data we have at hand, we can monitor changes in demand and supply and adjust our efforts for pitching properties.
What type of data and metrics are critical for Bproperty to better understand the real estate market?
When it comes to buying a property, a sound understanding of the reasoning behind a buyer’s intention to look for a property is very important. To determine this, we have a very detailed KYC (Know Your Customer) form. This gives us information about family size, income, previous residences, and the requirements for their new residence, among other things. Based on the information in the KYC form, we can recommend ideal properties to buyers.
For property evaluation, we look at its price, location, age, the size of the road in front of the building, the direction it is facing, how much open space it has, documentation, and whether there is any deviation from the RAJUK plan. All of these are used to determine the true value of a property.
BI also looks at market information. For example, right before the Kalshi flyover (near Mirpur) was opened, there was a huge surge in demand in Mirpur. People were aware that the area would become a lot more accessible and were willing to invest there. So, based on BI evaluation, we rigorously pitched and motivated a few property owners in Mirpur, letting them know of the right time to sell.
A lot of this information is primary; data that we collected. But we also analysed publicly available data. For example, we used economic indicators, GDP growth rates, average monthly spending based on area, and a few more things to determine what kind of adjustments we needed to make for smart price indicators.
Bproperty has experienced substantial growth over the years. Please elaborate on the role of BI in this growth and how it will contribute to scaling the business further.
BI’s greatest contribution to scaling operations at Bproperty was in making business processes highly efficient. Before BI, a buyer might have been shown 5 properties, but with a data-driven approach, the first property viewing is likely to be the best recommendation for them. Effectively, we are able to complete a 10-day project in under 3 days.
We have a few BI projects that will help us continue this growth trajectory forward. The first is data confidentiality. BI is responsible for the security of the information we collect through our KYC forms. We are also working on a predictive model to better utilise indicators that help recommend the right properties for buyers. Finally, we have a ‘property insight report’ feature in development where with just the click of a button we will be able to provide property information such as property images, a list of amenities, available documentation, and price ranges as well as provide justifications behind the pricing.
Photograph by Hasan Shariar Khan