BNP Paribas Real Estate’s bets for 2010

Both to Edit Vesser (photo) and to the company she runs, 2010 marks a new beginning: an opportunity to get even better and gain market share. BNP Real Estate’s priorities will be office, luxury residential and valuation.

“Our strategy is to grasp our clients’ needs and offer them the services they need. I know it sounds cliché, but is not that easy to achieve it. 2010 is a challenging year, we got used to the idea of a crisis, and that’s a good thing, because certain things are brought into line again. Our rivals suffered bigger losses because they simply ignored the crisis or shrugged it off”, Edit Vesser, general manager of BNP Paribas Real Estate Romania.

In 2009, the adviser provided assistance on relocation of Autoitalia (to City Gate building), Bulboaca & Asociatii (to Regus City Center), and World Bank (to S-Park). For the time being, the company is exclusive leasing agent for the Dr. Felix 87 building (former head office of Milennium Bank) and co-exclusive agent for the leasing of Avrig Business Center.

As for the residential sector, BNP Paribas is exclusive agent for the sale of NewTown Residence home-building. So far, of the 316 housing units, 40 are vacant.

“The difference from last year is that we expect to see the deal activity picking up. It doesn’t mean that the market will improve; it means that we’ll see companies selling out properties to raise capital. But this will only happen in the office market. For the residential projects, it will take a little longer to get back on a more steady path”, said Edit Vesser.

BNP Paribas Real Estate plans to remain an active player in the residential market, mainly for the top properties and less for projects.

As for price drop, Edit Vesser says the declines have been fairly broad, but home prices fell from an already inflated rate. “The local developer has been sly, but we can’t blame him. He just wanted to sell his product, and since the buyer had limited knowledge, he labeled his product as luxury”, the head of BNP Paribas added. This tactic worked in the past, but things are moving to a different direction now, and the buyer is more sophisticated.

“In real estate, it takes solutions, not bosses”

Until early 2009, BNP Paribas Real Estate operated under the name Atisreal. In 2008, Atisreal acquired Cornerstone International. Cornerstone was established after the termination of the franchise agreement with CB Richard Ellis in 2007.

“Technically, we ran four rebranding programs in 18 months. It was the toughest challenge for the company, as there was the risk people wouldn’t get the idea of who we were”, she continued. Despite all the name changes, the general manager of BNP Paribas remains focused on the quality of services the company offers.

BNP Paribas means a 20-people team, with the majority of them working there since the inception of the company. “They are all department managers, because each of them is responsible for achieving his objective. Every other company has bosses, but who decides the minimum group of people for which a boss is needed? Right now in real estate, it takes solutions instead of bosses”.

Edit Vesser strongly believes in open meetings, in which people find solutions together. The role of department managers is important in a big company, with at least 30 employees.

“When you have a department manager who only forwards a report, a lot of the innovation and of free-thinking is lost along the way. I want to give the people I work with the opportunity to express themselves, I want creativity!” she pointed out.