Polina Stoykova for Imoti.net: Most important for us is to be of benefit to our customers
This year the property portal Imoti.net celebrates its 20th anniversary. On this occasion, they turned to 20 leading experts in the real estate sector to share their their path to business success.
Polina Stoykova MRICS is a Managing Director and co-owner of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES. She is one of the most respected real estate experts in Bulgaria. Polina is often present in the media with comments and data on the current market trends of the real estate market, and the analyses and reports she produces for BULGARIAN PROPERTIES are highly valued and followed with interest by all market participants.
What was your start in the real estate business?
We started the operations of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES in the now distant 2003 with the idea to respond to the emerging interest of foreign buyers to the Bulgarian real estate. By this time we had already gained some experience and contacts in Britain. We were also acquainted with the opportunities that opened up as a result of the development of Internet, Google and the first wave of digitalization of the real estate business.
This combination of experience, knowledge and hitting the right moment to start an internet-based real estate business gave us the opportunity in the first months after the launch of our website to be able to rank first and attract interest.
The time was also right for the development of our country and attracting foreign investment. At that time, Bulgaria was to be admitted to the European Union and the expectations were for an increase in property prices, following the example of other newly acceded countries. This made our country extremely attractive for the development of all kinds of projects, including real estate.
At this stage the real estate business in Bulgaria was mostly offline, the real estate portals were just starting out, and a very small part of the clients were looking for properties online. However, we had the advantage of working with foreign buyers who were a few years ahead. Online real estate portals were already operating in the UK, and we learned from them and from the real estate business in the Western Europe in general, so that we could use the new technologies and meet the expectations of the foreign buyers.
We had to adapt all this to the Bulgarian reality and start this long and difficult process of change and digitalization of the real estate business, which is still in progress and which has now come a long way.
Were there any obstacles you had to overcome in order to develop?
The main obstacles at that time were related to being able to meet the needs of the foreign buyers and support them throughout the whole purchase process, and often years later, help them to adapt to the Bulgarian reality and the new life they wanted to live here.
We had to grow our business very quickly - to hire and train associates with specific knowledge and skills in the field of real estate, which were lacking in the labor market at that time, to make property owners recognize us as a trusted partner.
Over the years, we have had to adapt very quickly to changing market conditions, go through the global financial crisis of 2008, learn to work with the new large group of buyers from Russia, and establish ourselves in the residential housing market and in the field of new construction, where we are leaders at the moment.
Looking back, I would say that every year has presented us with at least one crisis, and perhaps this experience will help us in 2020 to find the way forward and maintain our leadership positions.
In what respect did you develop?
In all directions simultaneously. And because everything changes very quickly, we have to constantly evolve to learn and upgrade at the same time in all areas of our business.
How is your company coping with the current situation - the pandemic and the expected economic crisis?
I think we are going through this crisis very successfully and we have a chance to make up for the slowdown from the spring lockdown and even manage to generate growth in sales volume. If that happens, I think we will all be very happy and we will be able to congratulate ourselves for this achievement.
Many years of experience, an established brand and website, the accumulated skills of both management and estate agents, as well as our rich portfolio of properties across the country help us get through this crisis and I think we will emerge from it even stronger and more confident.
What does your development plan envisage in the coming years?
We have always looked at our market positioning in the long run and have invested in new skills and technologies. This will be the direction in the coming years.
For us, the most important thing is to be of benefit to our customers and the society as a whole, and I think they appreciate it.
We have the will and the skills to change in this direction and we will constantly do it to meet the needs of our clients and the real estate market in general.
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES is a leading real estate company with over 17 years of experience and thousands of successfully sold properties to Bulgarian and foreign clients of over 100 nationalities. The company was established in 2003 and has offices throughout the country. BULGARIAN PROPERTIES has won a number of awards, including Agency of the Year for 2018 and Website of the Year for 2019 in the Annual Awards of Imoti.net.
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