MVGM is a top 5 European property management player present in 10 countries. In 2019, it expanded its portfolio by acquiring the property management division from JLL in Continental Europe in countries such as Romania, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.
Last year MVGM entered the Romanian real estate market with vitality and fresh ideas - what is the vision you are proposing for the coming period?
I started my real estate career in 2006 and for the past years I concentrated all my efforts in the property management sector, first in JLL and later in MVGM (after they acquired this division from JLL). There is a slight discrepancy between the Romanian real estate market and other European markets, but our intention is to close this gap and offer the best property management services out there.
At this moment, MVGM manages both commercial and residential properties and the services include tenant management, financial services, operational management, reports and marketing. Ranking the sectors in terms of complexity, retail is the most demanding because we need to manage everything from the relationship with local authorities to marketing and events. But as mentioned we manage a diversity of sectors and each asks for individualized services, this is where both enthrallment and challenges lie.
Surely the choice to outsource property management services comes both with advantages and challenges - what are some of them?
Externalizing property management services assures a dose of professionalism that otherwise wouldn't be possible. For example, we had a situation where the owner didn't bond well with the property manager. Things like this happen and from our position it was possible to find a replacement, but it isn't as easy when matters are handled in-house, with a more limited personnel.
Receiving the same quality standard as the companies from other European countries, especially the "four-eye principle" in the financial sector, is yet another advantage companies can benefit from.
Seeing how you've been working in real estate for 15 years now, what are some of the notable changes the market went through during this time?
What I can say for sure is that Romania has a highly specific real estate market and this is why JLL's commercial sector know-how is truly valuable for MVGM. The continuous maturing process and the constant evolution of the market brought up interesting challenges. For example, in the beginning, owners and tenants alike weren't able to grasp the concept of "service charge" - they didn't understand why operational costs need to be distinct from the rent costs. However, the real estate market is rapidly maturing and becoming more educated day by day.
In the past 10 years, the market volume grew twofold, the most spectacular evolution being in the industrial sector. However, we are still behind other countries in the CEE (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, etc.) regarding transaction values and logistic surfaces. The residential sector shows great potential, the international "built to rent" trend slowly but surely reaching Romania.
I believe with all my heart in the opportunities that can be found here, but we have to put our efforts together and make the system cogs run smoother and faster.
You mentioned the Romanian real estate market is a highly specific one, what are the main challenges you encountered here?
The answer is probably similar to the one of other investors and developers you interviewed: the main challenges are definitely infrastructure and bureaucracy. The unequal development of regions throughout the country, as well as the impenetrable public relations walls the authorities sometimes raise around them can become frustrating. If I were to summarize it, "lack of predictability" would probably be the essence.
Transaction business is directly linked to how people interact with each other, in this respect - what is the most important personality trait when working in property management?
I'll admit it's not easy to talk about personality traits! A professional in the real estate market must be resilient, empathic and flexible, because, as you mentioned, we work with a wide range of personalities. We are a property's single point of contact for our employees, the employees of our tenants, the building contractors and the local authorities alike. This is why relationship mediation is a key point in our way of doing business.
Looking at the next 2-3 years, what are the main achievements you're looking to fulfill at MVGM Romania?
Our target is to include over 2500 residential properties in our portfolio as well as consolidate the commercial sector. Due to the pandemic outbreak, our focus was to reduce operational costs and ensure the best safety measures for our clients. The residential sector thrives even during these uncertain times, as for the rest of the market - we hope that by fall, some improvements will be seen.
Seeing how you are confident in the Romanian real estate market's potential; do you have a message for investors?
I think it's vital to come and see in person the market range! For an outsider it's surprising to experience firsthand the mammoth dimensions and incredible financial value of the Romanian real estate market. Despite all the challenges we talked about, the dynamism and effervescence found here are unequaled.
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