UK real estate agent franchise launches in India

Winkworth, franchisor of London’s largest chain of residential estate agents, has announced a new venture into the international residential property market with the signing of a master franchising agreement in India and the opening of a new office in Bangalore.

A master franchise for India has been agreed with Narayanan Soundararajan with the aim of seeing Winkworth franchised offices opening across all major cities in India.

Besides the Bangalore office, which is to be opened and financed by Soundararajan this month, two more offices in Chennai and Delhi are planned for 2013 on the same basis.

Soundararajan will manage the Winkworth Indian franchisor offices and, with extensive experience in real estate, is expected to be a great asset to the Winkworth team. Having worked as managing director for the Royal Bank of Scotland in India during his career in investment banking, he also has considerable experience of working with an established and respected brand in a foreign market.

The firm said that the main aim is to create a network of franchises in India based on the UK model of franchised estate agency, with customer service being paramount.

Focused primarily on the domestic Indian housing market, the new franchised offices will work for only one party in each transaction rather than for both sides, marking a departure from the existing practice in India. The franchised offices will also look to build close relationships with respected and credible developers in India that are able to deliver quality products on time.

In collaboration with Winkworth’s UK network, the Indian franchised offices will also be able to offer support and advice to prospective clients looking to buy in the UK, thus making the buying process as simple and stress free as possible. This will also be available to buyers in the UK looking to invest in real estate in India.

With strong links between India and the UK, Winkworth has high expectations for this cross over into a fast developing market. ‘We have always seen a high demand from Indian buyers in London and this agreement will only strengthen the relationship we have,’ said Richard Woolf, director of Winkworth St John’s Wood.

Dominic Agace, chief executive officer of Winkworth, said the expansion of the franchise into India is an exciting time for the business. ‘The Indian property market has gone from strength to strength over the last decade and is now considered to be one of the most vibrant real estate markets in the world. We therefore hope that bringing our established and respected brand to this market will prove to be a great success,’ he added.

Soundararajan said that India is a rapidly growing real estate market, particularly in the luxury segment. ‘So there is a great opportunity for an international brand like Winkworth, that combines global expertise and local knowledge, to enter the market,’ he explained.

‘I was drawn to the interesting blend of traditional values and contemporary thinking that Winkworth stands for and believe this is the primary reason the brand fits in well with the Indian consumer. We will be able to promise our customers a very local experience of very high professional and ethical standards with the strength of an international network and brand behind us,’ he added.