When you deal with something you love, it's not a job
Stephanie Pfeffer-Anton is Vice President of Luxury Portfolio International®. Since 2005 she has run the global network, which includes companies from over 50 countries. Prior to that, she was vice president of marketing for Chicagoland, a communications director for real estate franchises. It is nominated for several awards - Inman 101 - a circle of world-changing leaders, Swanepoel Power 200 - the award for the most influential real estate professionals, and recently for the prestigious Luxury Women to Watch 2017.
One of the most intriguing women I've met. I was expecting her in the lobby of the hotel along with a TV crew. He had arrived from Dubai, asked for five minutes, and in the next few hours he was in the rhythm of everyone with whom he had a meeting, interview, presentation, training. Smart, competent and charming.
What does it mean to run a company like Luxury Portfolio?
It's very exciting. I like. I have been in the company for twelve years since its inception. Previously, I worked in the marketing departments of other real estate developers. My father was engaged in real estate, my husband too. This business is in my blood. When I say brokers have to be passionate, I really think it. When you deal with something you love, it is not really work. I love what I do. We have a great team - all of our brokers in Chicago are so talented. I can not help but be grateful for all this.
Have you ever dreamed, are you planning, have you expected to get here?
I do not know. That's a good question. Actually, I wanted to be a journalist. I think you have to go where life leads you. When you do what you love, things are getting. When you work with great people, everything is in order.
What's happening in the luxury property market right now?
Everything revolves around technology and innovation. If we talk about a serious trend. For our market, however, privacy is very important, so we avoid providing all the information on the Internet. In the real estate business, it is more important to be discreet, very focused and to communicate fully with customers.
Personally what makes a home a luxury?
I will answer you frankly - to have a pet at home. I love the animals very much. For me, a place without a pet is not home.
And from a business point of view?
I think luxury is something very personal. Maybe it's about having something you do not necessarily need, but you want a lot.
It is interesting to understand what your home looks like. In our magazine we have a rubric that presents the homes of people who sell homes. The space we live in describes us very well.
I will agree with you. Both men and I have a taste for the modern. We renovated an old property, added a little space to it and is now a real contemporary place. My husband, who is an architect, is building another home for us, who will be in the city - three floors, with very clean lines, a sculptural staircase. We're very excited!
Where is your home?
In Austin, Texas. We have been living there for ten years. The choice of both the city and the home is a matter of lifestyle. Now I will invite my colleague, Chris Dietz (Vice President of Luxury Portfolio Expansion) to join us to see how two people who are very often together for their work have their different homework ideas.
Chris Dietz: I travel a lot and do not stay home. A year and a half ago, I bought a property near my home town in Germany - Frankfurt, in the countryside, living in the vineyards. I leave home and I can walk, run, ride a bike in the woods. From which window of my home you look, you see a green landscape and it helps me to rest. My next big project is my garden, I have hired a landscape architect. I am a big fan of the pools, so I want to make a pool and a nice garden where I can relax.
Stephanie Pfeffer-Anton: It is interesting how our answers are so different and at the same time so equal. We're both very focused on a particular lifestyle. We both live in a place where you can "escape" and rest, though Chris is in the province and I in the city.
How do you see the future of the real estate business?
We have made a survey that we will present next week, according to which, in the next three years, the real estate market will be more focused on purchases than on sales. There are more interested buyers than sellers. The tendency is to look for a second, smaller home. Younger solvent clients are looking for their first home. Over the next three years, we are predicting a stable demand-driven market.
How does Luxury Portfolio choose its partners?
First of all, you must be a Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and to become one, your company must be well-known, have a large market share, and be prosperous. You must have a good reputation and be dedicated to the idea of doing business with other members of Luxury Portfolio. You have to be focused entirely on the high segment in the luxury market.
How do you see the expansion of your network of partners in Europe and Bulgaria?
I will ask Chris to answer, this is his territory!
Chris Dietz: We have a lot of white spots in Europe on our map, especially in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. In North and Central Europe we have more partners. The problem we encounter, for example, in Scandinavian countries is that real estate business is largely managed by banks. The countries of Eastern Europe - Poland, Ukraine, Serbia, for example, lack well-developed and developed markets. The quality of the companies there does not meet our requirements, at least for now. As for Bulgaria, our idea is the following - if we have a partner in a country that covers a large part of the market, if the cooperation between us is beneficial, as with Unique Estates, we do not have the appetite to add more companies to our network. Your company is a good example of our member who invests resources in our cooperation, can take over customers that we would send or send customers to other members of the Luxury Portfolio. In Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio not quantity but quality is important. We want quality companies. For example, we want to build relationships with your team, with Vesela Ilieva as managing partner. We have a relationship that is built up of common values and ideas about how to do business. It's not just about coming and taking our brand as a co-brand, we want partners like you. This is the perfect partnership for us.
What is the best advice you would like to give Unique Estates after the first year of our Luxury Portfolio membership?
Stephanie Pfeffer-Anton: You have to become recognizable, become popular. You have to be proud of what you are and what you have. I have the feeling that compared to many other countries I visit, in Bulgaria you are a bit shy about what you are holding. You have a beautiful side, a beautiful capital, wonderful Black Sea coast, mountains. All of this, however, does not fall under the radar of many people. There are investors who look to Turkey or other expensive destinations as a second home market, but not to Bulgaria. Your country needs to talk to someone who lives here and knows the market. We make a profile of Bulgaria, take a video and it will be available to all of our over 200 collaborators worldwide. This is the first step, but there is still a lot to do. I believe that Bulgaria and Sofia in particular can be a world destination.
What are your impressions of Unique Estates one year after joining the Luxury Portfolio?
Our partnership is very good. You are extremely committed and dedicated. This is your first event to attend, and I think it's perfectly organized. You are a truly innovative company, and Merry is great! If I have to compare you and other new companies that have joined our network in the last 12 to 18 months, Unique Estates is a role model. You do everything in the right way - you understand and use our brand full, you are aware of the idea of a network, you use our methods, you lead your teams to our events. In Miami, I was impressed by how Merry and her team were communicating with others. Give yourself some time and the business will come here - I'm absolutely sure of that. I even tell the other members of Luxury Portfolio: "Look Unique. They are really unique! ".