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Housing.com acquires online real estate forum IREF for Rs 8 crores

After unveiling its
new brand identity in the beginning of this
month, Housing.com has now acquired Indian Real Estate Forum (IREF) forum for
Rs. 8 crores. This move is to improve the availability and accessibility of
independent information for home buyers, reports the
Economic Times.

IREF, a
real-estate community was founded as an independent real estate forum, where
registered users can exchange information, experiences and views on real estate
projects, builders and miscellaneous real estate related topics.

With 1.5 lakh
subscribers, IREF claim to have already helped millions of home buyers to find
the right information to make an informed home buying decision.

In December 2014,
Mumbai-based firm Housing received funding of about Rs. 560 crore and has
reportedly set aside a corpus of Rs 200 crore for acquisitions this year.
“We are in late stage talks to acquire PropEquity for about Rs 80
crore,” a undisclosed company executive was quoted in the report as
saying.  

Post the
acquisition, IREF will continue to stay independent of Housing under the charge
of Ravish Naresh, co-founder at Housing, and will be a neutral separate
enterprise. The forum claims to provide unbiased and transparent information on
new projects, developers, localities, brokers and plots. The current
administrators of the forum will continue their role with the forum to ensure
its independence.

According to the
report, Housing.com believes that “limited access to reliable information
hampers the experience of buying a home,” and together with the community of IREF
they believes that they can bridge the information gap.

The company also
plans to introduce a section in the platform called “Ask me anything”
on (IREF) which will attempt to answer any queries related to projects, brokers
and builders,” a spokesman for Housing told the Economic Times.

IREF also plans
to launch a mobile app in the future, which will include improved functionality
and user interface. This in turn aims to make it easier for users to find
information and share questions and experiences via web as well as mobile.

In other news,
Housing recently also announced its partnership with property developer Janapriya
Engineers Syndicate to sell its property inventory in Hyderabad online.

Over the last month, Housing.com has been experiencing
some turbulent times. Housing Founder & CEO, Rahul Yadav wrote a unpleasant
email to Sequoia Capital India’s Shailendra Singh asking him to stop poaching
employees from Housing team. Singh replied to the same on the online discussion
forum Quora. This very public discussion was just the beginning of trouble for
Housing.

Later, Yadav, in an internal mail, claimed that Times Internet owned
online real estate portal Magicbricks.com is trying to “malign Housing’s
position in India” while it closes a round of funding in the US. Following
this, the Times Group sent a legal notice to Housing.com for alleged
defamation, asking them to issue an unconditional apology and seeking $16
million in damages.

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