DAI Imobiliária celebrates 5 years of existence
Today, five years ago, we headed to Praça Silvestre Pinheiro Ferreira (Empresa na Hora) in Lisbon to create the legal platform that would serve as the basis for the DAI Imobiliária project.
Looking back, many changes have occurred in the real estate sector in Portugal. The contrast of the real estate market in the year 2015 to the year 2020 is so great that it deserves a wide comment, highlighting the differences in the acquisition of properties, the relationship with buyers and the profile of real estate consultants. Since I'm not sure where to start, I might risk starting at the beginning.
The part of having product to sell; real estate raising is the basis of the real estate brokerage business, however, when we started the activity, times were different and this great pillar of the activity was taken for granted. At the time, to raise funds, it was enough to go to the counters of the various banking institutions and register the thousands of properties held by these institutions. The result of the global financial crisis 2007-2008 and which would be felt strongly in Portugal from 2010 until mid-2014 to the point that the Portuguese were called to save companies (especially in the banking sector). In 2015 for us and for the real estate agency in Portugal, this translated into an immense facility in terms of fundraising to the point that in the beginning our main problem was the excess of fundraising. At the time, dozens of new properties were placed on the market at the time, these were all fantastic deals and for that reason we promoted them all. Contrasting to today, it is very different. Funding is not so easy and it is increasingly the result of differentiation and added value that the real estate consultant proposes to the owner instead of the simple availability of the past.
The part of the buying customers; in 2015 there were rare buyers who did not want 100% financing. The banking institutions, having been saved by the Portuguese taxpayers, went to work in order to return what had been lent to them. The banks financed 100% only their properties from their bad debts, this total financing for bank properties created a huge disinterest in private properties and it was almost an impossibility to get financing for a property that was not the bank's. The demand for these banking properties had started to be so strong that complex structures had been created within the banks themselves to facilitate real estate transactions on their bad debts. The experience of buying a property from the bank might not be the best, as a combination of peculiar characteristics had been created: practically all real estate agents had the same bank properties in their portfolio and there was usually only one key for each property. What could go wrong? The state of the properties is another matter that deserves to be mentioned. The bank's properties all came from bad debts and could be new properties with unfinished works by construction companies that had defaulted or used properties by private individuals in the same situation. By far the most pleasant visits were to new properties, even with unfinished works, the used properties of private individuals had largely been the target of selective destruction, I still remember the shock when entering a used house where there were only pictures of the exterior, being really acceptable on the outside and when I enter the interior I come across an empty house to the point that there is nothing. The client is explained that what he saw on the outside in the photographs might not have much to do with the house on the inside. I remember as if it were today that the property really had nothing inside, even the wardrobes embedded in the wall had been taken away, leaving the brick to be seen. Even so the property was sold on the first visit! Nowadays, the buyer customer experience is much more pleasant. Photographs with much higher quality and which highlight the best that can be removed from the property, the decrease in the number of properties raised by a real estate consultant had a very positive influence on the level of attention that can be given to this. Visits to the properties take place today with the normality that is expected instead of in 2015 when the visits were largely taken by the uncertainty of being able to effectively make a visit. Anyway, in 2020, real estate mediation is much more “normal”.
The part of real estate consultants; In 2015 when we started the activity, the real estate consultants who worked with us had an arduous task at hand, I remember that at the time we had no more than 5 consultants (counting on us) and at that time we had something like 600 properties in our portfolio. . The result of the promotion of such a number of properties was dozens of daily contacts, to the point of Sara who was the person who answered the calls and made a pre-qualification to customers without having hands to measure with the volume of work. The pre-qualification made by Sara was passed to consultants via “Lead” in CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software), from that moment the struggle of the consultants began. The fight had several phases, the first phase consisted of initiating steps to obtain the keys to the property to be visited and which in many cases was quite complicated to overcome, I remember it being quite normal that there were keys that did not open the doors that were supposed to open, keys without the key to the building's door, keys that were not returned by the other consultants who had them and another endless number of small obstacles to access the interior of the buildings. The second phase of the consultants' struggle was to manage customer expectations regarding the visit of the property, it was not uncommon for a customer to wait a week to be able to make a visit, in this space of time, the most motivated customers as they saw the same ad in practically all the real estate agencies tried to initiate steps to speed up the visit, making appointments with all the other real estate agents. The third phase of the fight was neither less interesting nor less difficult, with the possession of the keys the real estate consultant now had about 24 hours (time to return the keys to the property) to make visits, the consultant then had to schedule very quickly with all those interested in order to make the series visits, it was not uncommon to visit at 11 pm or even at 8 am, so as not to interfere with the working hours of potential buyers. In addition to this, proposals for properties should be made at the time of the visit, as the properties lasted very little time on the market. The fourth and almost final phase of the fight began with the real estate consultant arriving at the office with a proposal to buy the property, at that time a proposal and an extremely motivated client with full conditions for the acquisition meant very little, as there was almost a absolute certainty that this same property would have been the target of other proposals by other agencies and that it remained now to hope that our proposal had been the best and the best price. As the fifth and final phase, the bank's acceptance of the proposal, and it was from here that the consultant began to breathe a little more slowly. The rest of the process went on quite normally. In contrast to today (2020), the real estate consultant has a much more stable and much less chaotic environment to work, nowadays the bank's property sales are residual and almost all real estate transactions come from private individuals. In 2020, it is possible to give much more attention to both the buyer and seller, as the number of referrals per consultant is much lower. In general, the quality of services provided by the real estate consultant has increased substantially.
In short; looking back I have the slight impression that our beginning was in an environment of “more” or less controlled chaos. The market conditions were very different from those of today. Today the environment is much more stable and that is a good thing. In 2020 the biggest difference I denote is the increase in the levels of professionalism in the whole area, with the normalization of the real estate offer the market became more demanding and wants buyers and sellers expect much more from a real estate professional than in 2015. In 2015 we were just five consultants, in 2020 there are close to a hundred. These first 5 years were marked mainly by learning and adapting to market conditions. The next 5 years will certainly be the consolidation of good practices and geographical growth. We would also like to thank everyone who directly or indirectly made and continues to make the DAI project possible. Thank you all!