For almost everybody, says Gowri Shankar N, buying a home is the second most important decision in her or his life. Well, you guessed it right: the most important decision is selecting a spouse.

“Most home buyers,” says Gowri, “take that decision with a sense of fear. They are worried whether their savings will go down the drain if they take a wrong step or whether they will be taken for a ride by builders. There is a lack of trust in the whole process.” This is what RoofandFloor, an online portal that originated as a digital classified play of The Hindu , aims to solve.

Home-buying, according to him, is a 6/9-month affair. Those who are buying a home for the first time do so with a lot of trepidation. They are looking for someone who will handhold them through this journey to make sure nothing goes wrong and that everything goes right. RoofandFloor’s vision is to be with home buyers end-to-end. Most other tech platforms, says Gowri, focus only on discovery, where home buyers can search, identify a property and follow up on their own.

“RoofandFloor wanted to solve this end-to-end process, with the right mix of technology and human touch,” says Gowri. Since it is a high value purchase and, in most cases, a once-in-a-lifetime affair, home buying can never be a tech-only play. There has to be an element of human touch to it, he adds.

The challenge was to have a tech platform that provides for an omni channel experience and provides a much better service. Gowri gives the example of buying a mobile handset on the internet. You can choose the handset you want, pay online and get constant updates on when it will be delivered. This is a hassle-free experience. But when someone buys a home spending a huge amount, he or she has to run from pillar to post to make things happen. “At RoofandFloor, we wanted to solve for that experience and provide expertise right through the process,” says Gowri. The site will list projects, provide a set of advisers who will guide a home buyer through the process, assist in site visits and help in booking the home.


The first couple of years at RoofandFloor was spent in building the website and the platform and in the last 12-18 months, it has expanded its services to cover the end-to-end journey. “Every month, we do 25-30 transaction closures and in every quarter, more than a million home buyers come and start their home buying search on RoofandFloor,” says Gowri.

While the platform is available in multiple cities, transaction is available right now in Bengaluru and Chennai. Listings are available in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Ghaziabad, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Kumbakonam. Nearly 75,000 projects are listed on RoofandFloor, according to Gowri.

He says in the next three years, RoofandFloor aspires to be India’ premier real estate portal, providing services across all the top cities. The site offers financing options and legal advice through partnerships with others. Today, RoofandFloor is focussed on new properties, but would like to do resale of properties in future. The venture is looking to raise capital, of about $30-50 million, from external investors. This is apart from the commitment it has from the founding company.

Two big opportunities

According to Gowri, the real estate internet market in India is huge, upwards of ₹75,000 crore. There are two big opportunities in this space. One is advertising – real estate players spend ₹8,000-10,000 crore on advertising, of which 10-12 per cent goes into digital. Given the shift towards digital, this is a market waiting to be tapped. The second big opportunity is the unorganised brokerage market. Gowri says the brokerage commissions alone account for nearly ₹65,000 crore. There are more than a million brokers providing services; there is no standardisation of the experience and hence, there is an opportunity for a tech-led platform.

RoofandFloor’s strength, according to Gowri, is its clutter-free search experience. Which explains why more than 50 per cent of the users are women. Also, says Gowri, they have built a data platform that understands home buyers’ preferences and comes up with intelligent recommendations. The site has multiple revenue streams – from customers, from real estate players, through advertising.

Over time, RoofandFloor will transform into a marketplace model where all the required services for home buying are available on it. Then the venture, says Gowri, can monetise both from the buyer side and the seller side.