It’s high time for a new blog post. This time, it won’t be about a specific topic like usual but rather about all the thoughts that have been swirling around in our heads for the last weeks and days. We’ll tell you about topics that affected us and about things that have happened in our office. In other words: it’s all about social distancing, ice-cream and real estate.
Actually, we didn’t think that we would use the word “pandemic” so quickly again in our blog, since there had already been an extensive post on this topic. But the world is still dealing with an invisible enemy called Corona – and unfortunately we’re not talking here about the beer.
As you’ve already read, we haven’t had our heads stuck in the sand over the last weeks and months – rather, it’s been full-steam ahead. We didn’t go on short-time, furlough or let staff go. In fact, we employed new colleagues. Simple luck? No, rather it’s all a question of mindset!
More and more we see the emphasis being put on working remotely. Generally speaking, not a bad thing in times like these. But in the real estate business, this unfortunately means that evaluations are undertaken on the basis of photos and viewings have to be done by video call. Why we don’t handle it like that too? That’s something we’ve been asked a lot, especially since we’re the ones constantly calling for rethinking in the industry.
It goes without saying – the increase in digitalisation and general change in the industry are important. That’s why we’ve long been very vocal about the industry waking up from its extended slumber.
We welcome a rethink, but it must take place in the right areas. For example, through the increasing digitisation of internal processes, but not through digital viewings. Through freshening up the image of the profession of realtor, not by attempting to work remotely.
Pandemic or not. For us, the job of a real estate agent continues to be a people-to-people business – in the current circumstances naturally with social distancing but still on site and in person. A photo can’t provide a realistic impression and you don’t get that real, on-the-spot gut feeling with a video. After all, we’re talking about real estate, not just something like a new t-shirt.
Since we enjoy engaging in active storytelling, we’d like to bring the whole thing alive for you with a little tale:
Tina and Tom are in their late 30s and are looking for a house that shouldn’t be too far away from Frankfurt. At the minute they live in the city centre, but Tom’s old bachelor pad is getting far too small, since it’s no longer just the two of them living in the small flat but also daughter Thea and dachshund Thore. “It’s time for the next big step in life,” says the couple. They dream the ultimate suburban dream of their own cosy little home in leafy surroundings.
And the same time, here are Fred and Frieda, who after 30 years of marriage and with three grown-up children, want to sell their house in the leafy suburbs. They have a plan: upping sticks and moving to Mallorca!
Just a few days ago, our sales agent Steven was with Fred and Frieda to list their house in our portfolio. We call this meeting the “pitch”, by the way. Fred and Frieda told Steven about how hard it was to sell their home – this familiar place where their children grew up. Steven knows stories like this all too well. Properties aren’t just bricks and mortar: they are living environments with history. This can make it incredibly hard for owners to evaluate their own property realistically and according to market value. So, it’s a good thing that our Steven was involved.
A couple of days later, Tom and Tina come across Fred and Frieda’s house and immediately arrange an appointment to look around. This is what we call a “viewing”, by the way.
On the way to the viewing with our agent, Tom and Tina take another good look at the neighbourhood. Daughter Thea is delighted to discover a playground nearby. Tina can already see herself jogging in the park and Tom throws a critical eye over the local parking situation. Then Thea is dropped off quickly with her granny, who lives just around the corner. “Ahhh, how practical it would be to have granny so close by!”, thinks Tina to herself.
Arriving at Fred and Frieda’s house, they are met by our sales agent Steven – of course without the usual handshake and keeping his distance, as is the done thing these days. Tom and Tina feel welcome and at ease straightaway, also thanks to a lovely reception by the neighbour’s dog, who gives a friendly bark and stands with curiosity by the fence.
Tina and Tom explore the house with all their senses: a sniff in the cellar and a solid knock on the wall upstairs. A few spontaneous questions have cropped up but the topics noted by Tom in advance – such as financing – were also discussed with our agent. “Well, that’s all of the important things cleared up”, decided all parties with satisfaction.
So, in the end the decision for Tom and Tina also really did come down to their gut feeling about the house. Incidentally, Fred and Frieda weren’t present for the viewing: they were off looking at a house in Mallorca.
Admittedly, we’ve made the story up but it’s one that’s very typical – we experience stories just like this one, day in day out!
So what else was there?
We’ve put ourselves forward for the first German Real Estate prize, powered by Immowelt, in the category BEST BRAND. We’re now waiting with bated breath for the decision of the jury. The contest seeks heroes of the real estate industry.
Are we among these? It’s probably a matter of contention. And it’s definitely down to the opinion of the individual jury members. We know ourselves that our modern, American-leaning approach and the honest words, that can be quite critical at times, are not to everyone’s taste.
But this much is clear: thanks to our active lateral thinking and by avoiding hackneyed platitudes, we’ve managed to become a well-known, market-established brand. We have a team that works with the greatest passion. That makes us unbelievably proud and we already feel like true winners – even without the title.
Ah, yes. And then came the oft-mentioned summer slump – the reason for annually repeated exercises in lamentation. But not for us! Our critics will no doubt say once again that it’s down to just pure luck and we will again reply as we so often do: “No, it’s not luck. It’s a question of mindset!” Our mindset has seen us well through the Corona crisis and has kept us from falling into a summer slump.
The heatwave that hit us a little while back left us sweating. But when you’re truly passionate about your job, you’ll enjoy doing it even when it’s 39 degrees in the shade. You just have to keep a cool head. And that’s what we did.
The mood in the team couldn’t have been better. At least one colleague provided the team with ice-creams every day. The sun loungers on the Frankfurter roof terrace, the cosy courtyard in the Wiesbaden loft and the sun terrace in the Berlin studio became the hubs of our working days in the office.
“Laptop on and out,” was the motto in the mornings. By lunchtime, we were all quickly back at our desks, however – it was simply too hot outside. Inside, fans and chilled drinks ensured the atmosphere stayed “cool”. Our sales agents, who were out and about for you as usual were thinking, “Hooray for the air-conditioning in the car.”