This month you celebrated 15 years since the founding of Unique Estates. Tell us more about the beginning - what was the business situation like then and how did you manage to establish the company as a leader in the luxury real estate market here?
The idea of founding a company that specializes in luxury real estate was extremely innovative for its time. In 2006 this sector practically did not exist in Bulgaria. Christo Iliev and the team of AG Capital started Unique Estates with the vision that there was a big potential in this neche and we must be the first to unfold it. At the time I was completing my master's program in Real estate in London and had a lot of ideas and new experience. Prior to that, I had worked at various management positions at Address Real Estate and felt fully ready to take on and develop the new company and its portfolio of high-end real estate clients. I also relied on the strong support from AG Capital.
In order to establish the new brand, we had to build a partnership with the best international name in the sector. After analyzing all the big companies in the field, we were able to establish contact with Christie’s International Real Estate, with whom we subsequently developed a long-term relationship.
The beginning was quite difficult and challenging. Our first office was in Kempinski Hotel, which 15 years ago was an attractive meeting point for the business and foreigners in our country. There we managed to attract clients who keep working with us till today. At the same time, I was looking for the right people and professionals to join my team. On the recommendation of Tihomir Toshev, director at AG Capital, I contacted Galina Grudova, who was working for ADIS at the time. Then Vesela Sopotlieva from the Development team of the group joined us. To this day, they are part of Unique Estates.
Subsequently, we expanded and moved to a new location - our office in the aristocratic house at 17 "Patriarch Evtimii" blvd., where the business really developed a lot. Over the years, the company has grown as a team and activity. We did not stop developing the service and meeting the high expectations of our customers, as we opened another office with a modern design and functionality at another prestigious location in Sofia - 10 “Oborishte” Street.
2. The company currently employs over 60 people. Many of them follow you from the very beginning. How is loyalty and motivation maintained in a team like yours?
The company for me is the people who work for it. I am happy that over the years I have managed to form a loyal and stable team of professionals with whom we build the image of Unique Estates as a leader in this market. These are valuable people with whom we grew up both professionally and as individuals, staying together for so many years. This kind of stability is a real treasure, thanks to which we enjoy even greater trust from our customers. The company's vision implies a constant increase in the quality of the service we provide. That is why over time we have invested a lot in the staff who work for Unique Estates, as well as in our international partnerships and innovations in work technology. As part of AG Capital, and now of Realto Group, over the years we have worked in synergy with other companies in the structure, which are also leaders in their segment of the real estate market. All this has motivated the people in the team to develop, feeling successful and happy from what they do.
3. Over the years, the company has developed successful partnerships with prominent international brands - initially with Christie’s International Real Estate, and now with Luxury Portfolio International. What are the advantages of Unique Estates' membership in this global network?
The partnership with Christie’s International allowed us to upgrade the Unique Estates brand, bringing the best international practices and experience of established leaders on the world market in our country. All the training related to this partnership has upgraded the team over time. Subsequently, we joined Luxury Portfolio International - a network that is more open and covers companies around the world that are closer to us in scale and level. This allowed us a better opportunity for joint projects and effective cooperation. The conferences organized by the network are very useful with their current information about the market and trends and the introduction of innovations in the field. At their invitation, Unique Estates also participated in them with lecturers on several topics.
Over time, we have tried to get the most out of each partnership and I believe that in the future Unique Estates will continue to develop and upgrade through new contacts with new leading global brands.
4. What are your plans for the company for the next 5 years?
Unlike 15 years ago, today the competition is fierce. Everything we have introduced over time as innovations in the luxury real estate business has already been copied from other market players, and if we want to stay in the lead, we must continue to improve. With the digitalization of the business, the client has easier access to information about the property, which brings the need for a different approach to him and a different level of service. Taking into account these changes, the company has been able to adapt in a timely manner in order to continue to offer the highest quality of service.
Unique Estates is a market leader in luxury real estate, and over the years we have specialized mainly in the residential segment with old buildings. The challenge we set for ourselves is to become a recognizable brand that works with high-end housing new construction. We have already built successful relationships with investors who trust us for the realization of entire projects and we will continue to develop this service in the future. Our plans are to work with a longer-term vision, which includes a comprehensive approach and campaigns for the successful placement of these types of projects. For this purpose we have formed a special team that is prepared to work in this market segment.
In addition, we will keep on working on the plan to establish Unique Estates as a recognizable partner not only for wealthy clients looking for luxury real estate, but also for clients from the corporate world - young and successful people who do not like to define themselves as "wealthy", but are looking for a high class property and need our professional assistance. In connection with the development of these two new areas for the company, we plan to expand our team and continue to upgrade.
5. Who would you like to thank?
Both professionally and as an individual, over the years I have felt strong support from AG Capital and the team, for which I am extremely grateful. I believe that everyone who works in AG Capital and Realto Group appreciates the advantage of being part of a well-established structure, where there are fair relations, opportunities for development and a sense of stability. I thank Svetoslava Georgieva for being with me for the last 10 years, as well as the entire Unique Estates team for the path we have walked together and for following me and realizing all the bold ideas I have had over these 15 years.
We go on together!