Notundhora Assets wants to be more than a commercial real estate company. Notundhara aligns its work with that of the sustainable development goals (SDG) adopted by the United Nations. The company’s founder and managing director Md Shadi-Uz-Zaman won awards for his role in the industry. He also founded the first professional institute for training in real estate.
Shadi-Uz-Zaman recently spoke to Fintech. Edited excerpt from the interview is published here.
Talk about what role Notundhora is playing in the real estate sector.
Our goal is to hand over projects to the customers within time. We want our customers to be completely free of worries. That’s why we have an offer called ‘Tension Exchange’ where we complete registration for a plot on 70% down payment. The rest customers are able to pay after registration. This is something unprecedented in the sector. I think that is a big contribution by Notundhora to the country’s real estate sector.
There is no scope for defrauding customers. Actually the company stands to lose, for the simple reason that once the registration is done, you have the ownership and we can’t do much if you delay on your end of the bargain. But we did it because we want to take that risk for the sake of serving the sector. People dream about owning a piece of land. And it’s our goal to make that dream come true.
What impact companies like Notundhora have on the country’s economy?
Unfortunately, money laundering is on the rise. If you want to stop that then entrepreneurs must have complete support to carry out business in the country. The lifeblood of an economy is young entrepreneurs and the kind of freedom they have. You have to encourage business by providing support. That will turn the wheel of economy. Real estate is an important sector. Entrepreneurs are investing thousands of crores of taka here. 12 thousand business organizations in 269 sectors depend on the real estate sector. The real estate sector is in the third position among the 14 biggest sectors for the economy. If there is a problem in this sector then hundreds of thousands of people will lose jobs. Notundhora employs a lot of people and that is one way we contribute to the economy.
Why should people choose Notundhora over others?
If you look at the dominant practice in the sector, then you will notice that companies begin to take bookings for plots right after buying a land. But Notundhora doesn’t do this. We have built approximately three thousand plots on 1.5 thousand bigha land. Prices for our 3 katha and 5 katha plot are very reasonable compared to our competitors. We sell in four to eight years of installment plans and with a minimal booking fee.
And we complete the registration on receiving 70 percent of the payment. We have paid for the registration fees on 299 plots. These are the reasons why why we are getting positive response.
What are the problems in the real estate sector?
The biggest problem in this sector is the land registration process. It is too complex and customers suffer for that. Generally, you have pay 11.5% as VAT-tax when you buy a land. But when you buy the same land from a real estate company you pay 21 to 22% in registration fees. This actually lead to less registrations and the government is losing revenue. And importantly, entrepreneurs are getting in trouble because they invested crores of taka in the business.
To solve the problem, the government should decrease the gap and aim to bring it down to minimum. So, for example, if someone buys a plot for Tk30 lakhs, he will have to pay Tk6 lakh registration fees. That’s why people try to evade registration.
Another problem is with bank loans. Some people undervalue their plot or flat to bring down the registration fees, and that is creating problem for them in getting bank loans. And banks are losing clients also.
There are fraudulent companies out there that scam people. How this should be tackled?
The problem begins with the people that enter the sector with very small investment and hoping to make some profit and leave. They don’t have any long-term business plan. And that is why you have these practices. They don’t care about providing good and honest service because they will not be here tomorrow. They only care about making a quick profit. But we suffer the consequence. The companies like us that invested a lot here and doing the business with a long-term vision don’t scam customers. I would say any customer wishing to buy a plot or flat should get at least a two-day training from the Housing and Building Research Institute. This way they can learn about the basics of land ownership and the relevant laws.
Ultimately, you need strong implementation of law. That will stop fraud.
What you expect from the government for the real estate sector?
The honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken up projects for urbanizing villages. Real estate is obviously a big part of that. The government is working to make the sector stronger. However, the government needs to be more flexible in granting projects. You need approvals from different organizations. The bureaucratic complexities waste a lot of valuable time. The whole thing becomes extremely complicated.
So, the approving and other official procedures should be brought under one roof.