What matters in addition to extensive expertise in brokerage
In this edition of our series featuring real estate agents, Vivien Strube gives us a unique insight into her exciting profession. The 29-year-old agent knows her craft and what matters most in the industry. As a trained real estate agent, Vivien was drawn to the fascinating world of real estate at an early age. In the following interview, she lets us in on the different perspectives and insights she’s gained along the way.
EverEstate: How has your career developed?
Vivien Strube: Through my first professional experiences in the service sector, I learned quite early on that I enjoy working with people. In addition, I have always been fascinated by real estate and everything associated with it, regardless of whether it's apartments or houses. That's how I ended up training as a real estate agent and working for a property management company. However, I missed the direct contact with people there. During my training, I took interest in the subject of brokerage business, so I began to pursue my career as a broker, initially for commercial real estate. However, renting out commercial space was still not fulfilling for me. I decided I wanted to get into sales, as B2B was not the right thing for me.
What led you to our company?
Vivien Strube: I had been following our company on social media since I was a trainee and found the selection of beautiful properties very appealing. So, I seized the opportunity, sent out my application and started in the area of Altbaus. When the company merged at the end of 2020, I got the chance to specialize in new buildings, which is exactly what I've always wanted to do.
How do you personally feel about Altbaus and new builds?
Vivien Strube: I actually find both Altabus and new builds appealing. I can personally identify more with newly built apartments since I would rather buy them. The advantages here are primarily more design freedom and comparatively fewer quality defects. For about a year my focus was on Altbaus and now since January 2021 on new construction. I simply like the design of new construction more.
What additional qualifications did you have to bring with you?
Vivien Strube: Training as a real estate agent is not necessary for my job, but it makes sense. It allows you to bring a lot of background knowledge with you. When I'm asked specific questions by the customer, I understand the problem quicker and can react accordingly. In the training, special knowledge such as building law is explained, which allows me to respond to the customer in a completely different way.
What qualifications are desirable?
Vivien Strube: As soon as you have successfully passed the training in this area at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, you're ready to go! As a career change, of course, you have to take appropriate courses for a broker's license, but you don't need that to be a real estate agent.
What characterizes your target group?
Vivien Strube: So far, I've noticed that my customers who inquire about new builds and see options for Altbaus in better locations, for example, still opt for new builds. I also have the feeling that my buyers have already gained experience with real estate, possibly bring a little more knowledge with them and are therefore more willing to buy. My personal feeling was that I supported more first-time buyers with Altbaus.
How is the share of sales inquiries distributed within your team?
Vivien Strube: With us, it's not regionally limited. In principle, each of us can sell all properties. We have so-called property brokers who receive 50% of the inquiries for certain projects. The other half is distributed fairly within the team. For example, I am a property broker for several properties and receive additional inquiries for other units. This means that we all must have a broad knowledge of both the properties and their locations. Even I, as a Berliner, discover many new areas of my hometown through my job.
What does your day-to-day work look like?
Vivien Strube: We don't have fixed working hours in the conventional sense, but we are very flexible. It can happen that you need to be available around the clock for your customers. Otherwise, in my segment, we do a lot of phone calls, because viewings are not always possible. With older properties, it's more about getting to know each other and asking the questions during the first viewing. Depending on the personal incentive and the volume of inquiries, the day-to-day work is very flexible. The structures and procedures remain roughly the same, but you have to deal with different people every day.
What do you like most about your job?
Vivien Strube: For one thing, getting to know Berlin better. I really appreciate that I rediscover corners of Berlin through my work. There are such beautiful areas that I could imagine myself living in. Another great aspect of my job is the interaction with people, which allows me to learn many new things. Also, the private stories simply make the sale more personal and human. In fact, I learn a lot about life in my work - whether it's how to better assess situations or people. When problems arise, I get to the bottom of the cause and look for a solution.
Can you tell us about a particularly positive memory?
Vivien Strube: There are many! Recently, a client who bought an apartment from me at the beginning of last year wanted to sell again due to a separation. Since he felt well cared for during the original purchase, the sale was also handled by us. Such situations show that the chemistry between buyers and sellers is important for sustainable business relationships. In particular, customer service, among other things, is critical to success.
What three qualities are important for your success?
Vivien Strube: Expertise is very important. You can perhaps have a talent for sales without specialist knowledge, but in the real estate business you should know what you're talking about. Secondly, my profession requires empathy. We should be able to put ourselves in our customers' shoes and identify wishes or problems early on, and deal with them appropriately. When prospective buyers mention problems, there's often more to it than that, which is why empathy is very important here. The third thing I would mention is good communication. I think it's important to listen more and talk less.
What problem did you recently solve and how?
Vivien Strube: In the case of a commercial unit, there was miscommunication between the buyer and the property developer. We, along with the developer, were informed that there was a problem with the purchase price and the purchase would no longer go through. As a result, the developer immediately wanted to cancel everything and no longer negotiate with the buyer. However, before that happened, I took the opportunity to talk to the customer myself and find out what the real problem was. It turned out that it was not the purchase price that was problematic, but other reasons that kept him from buying, which in the end were not too serious. The challenge now was to convince the developer of this and to find new solutions for a purchase agreement that would satisfy both sides. In the end, I succeeded in bringing both parties back together.
What are the disadvantages of your profession?
Vivien Strube: My job definitely requires a lot of stamina. Of course, working with people can also be exhausting if one side doesn't want to listen and is rigidly convinced of a certain view. For example, if someone believes that it is not a good property and is convinced of this opinion, even if the facts speak against this assumption, you sometimes can't do much. In such a situation, you should be able to judge when it is time to move on. Dealing with sometimes impolite customers is also difficult, so thicker skin is helpful here and clear communication about what is okay and what is not. As salespeople, we remain professional and friendly, but also firm. When you spend time in sales, you learn not to let people walk all over you and to keep your goals in sight.
Do you see yourself continuing in sales?
Vivien Strube: Yes, because I really do enjoy it. An office job with the same tasks every day wouldn't be right for me. My job offers a lot of variety and I’m able to experience something new every day.
What opportunities for success does your profession offer?
Vivien Strube: Following the motto "higher, faster, farther", I see myself one day in the luxury segment. With time, I can continue to develop to be a Team Lead myself one day. It's important to always read up on the latest developments. Many buyers know about the latest legal developments themselves and it doesn't go over well if you have less knowledge as a seller. Therefore, read a lot, educate yourself, bring yourself up to date with the latest developments and, above all, have an ambition for sales!
Translated by Marit Hunt
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