The Dark side of Social Media in Real estate

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Haris Tariq

Before going further, let’s remind you all once again that ‘there is no existence of any Real estate project until or unless it is not fully approved from the responsible state authority, which is Capital development Authority (CDA) in case of Islamabad’.

So, the thing is that you definitely must have come across with the Real estate advertisements on Social media outlets like face book, Instagram & YouTube, claiming to be given the highest returns, lucrative rental income, buy back policies & refundable guarantees. Another thing you might have experienced that there are many projects who claim to be a ‘CDA Approved, but they are not. Similarly, there are also many who claim to be located in Islamabad, but in fact they are not. Meanwhile, you will also find projects, using the tag of ‘Islamabad or Capital, but in fact they are not even close to the territory of Islamabad. As social media is not in the control of any Authority, which gives the looters an unimaginable freedom & access to deceive large number of people.

With ultimate liberty to say anything through these Real estate social media accounts, one can reach out to millions of people at a time through ‘sponsored ads or paid promotion campaigns, deceiving public through fancy & lucrative offers. The real estate through social media has created a hybrid empire consisting of fake claims, projections, returns & also blatant lies leaving customers & investors being victim and vulnerable in later stages. Let’s understand it more with the example, some of you might have experienced this by dropping your contact number for further information of any project through these social media ads, and then you will notice that the sales representatives are specifically trained to give any information except the legal value of the project. Upon insistence of CDA approvals or NOC’s, they usually claim that they have put their documents in process. Even some says that they have the documents but cannot be shared and visit to office is required for that. Some also claim that they are under a private housing society, which is approved from the authority, so they don’t need a state approval regarding the specific project. These are some of the replies that we usually get. Now, the bottom line is that all this is happening through Real estate social media accounts because most of the projects are not approved from CDA or not approved with the full capacity. So, the ultimate objective to aggressively promote the real estate projects through these social media outlets is to hide or diminish the legal value of the project & in return giving clients a lucrative but unrealistic financial offer to slip, distract & deviate.

This non-regulation of Real estate social media accounts have given a freeway to deceive, manipulate & wrongly portray the original facts. Just for your further curiosity & highlight the importance of this issue, I would like to add some facts, that the total land area in Zone-2, 4 & 5 in Islamabad is around 1.3 Million Kanal. Upon which around 1.2 million Kanal is not approved or illegal and possessed by the land grabbers who have scammed the public, through the names of different housing societies on the said land. It is estimated to be around 5 trillion PKR that has been drained from the public on behalf of such projects. It is alarming to say that Real estate social media accounts through their non-regulation & un-limited freedom are the main sources of this organized fraud. Capital development authority (CDA) in its capacity is trying best to aware general public through their official social media accounts or website etc. Meanwhile, it is also now obligatory & mandatory for any customer and investor to ask about the legal value of any real estate project from CDA (Via phone, email or a visit to CDA HQ) before doing any investments. Similarly, I also would like to request Cyber wing of FIA, PEMRA, MCI, CDA & District administration to tackle this long standing issue for the best interest of the general public. The Article is sponsored by Curvestone Builders (PVT) LTD in the larger interest of public.

—The writer is a Real estate Analyst based in Islamabad & can be followed at https://facebook.com/HarisTariq Official