Intro: Damian Hecht
Walter Haus is a real estate agency specialized in the buying, selling and rental of houses and flats in Barcelona and Madrid. It’s aim is to provide a personalized and high-quality service for its clients using its extensive professional experience, standing out from the sea of real estate agencies in Spain. As a partner of Floorfy, it has embraced technological innovation in the real estate sector.
Today we talk to Damian Hecht, partner of Walter Haus. With many years of experience in the sector, he is well positioned to give his opinion about its progress in recent years. In our latest interview, he tells us a little bit about what motivates him personally and professionally, as well as the current situation in the real estate sector.
Floorfy: Hello Damian. To begin with, tell us a bit about you. Why did you decide to start a career in the real estate sector?
Damian. I have been passionate about the sector for as long as I can remember. I have lived in Barcelona for almost 20 years and have always been dedicated to the housing market. For me, it is one of the most beautiful professions out there.
Nothing is as influential in a person’s life as finding their house. The stages in our life are generally marked out by the houses in which we have lived. Buying a house is one of the most important commitments you make in life, and being part of this process is very moving.
Floorfy: How and when was Walter Haus born?
Damian: Walter Haus is the result of joining together my experience in real estate investment with Frederico Sotelo’s experience in the residential field, which he has been developing since he left university. We both hold the housing sector close to our hearts, and knew that when we started this journey together, the market was suffering a lot, with very few estate agents genuinely advising and accompanying their clients in the process I was describing.
We started in 2013 focussed exclusively on renting, but we quickly became involved in sales. From this moment on, our journey, even in the time of COVID, was on an upwards trajectory.
2 years ago, with the help of Esteban García, an absolute whiz in the commercialization of flats and a profession from whom I learn more every day, we opened our office in Madrid, in the district of Salamanca, and a couple of weeks ago, the second in the Chamberí district. We’re going for a third before the end of the year.
Floorfy: And how has your way of interacting with clients changed since the pandemic?
Damian: The pandemic has been an enormous challenge. The main issue during the months of lockdown was how to continue human contact throughout the process, whilst maintaining standards of safety and social-distancing.
For when we could return to work, we opted for a ‘Safe Visits’ model that is still in operation, giving everyone who visits our properties a box containing all the kit necessary for individual protection.
The second was to implement virtual visits for all our flats, so that those who want to visit a flat know what it’s like before they go. We avoid visits from people who aren’t really interested, and therefore, lower the amount of personal interactions and therefore the risk.
Lastly, we installed digital signatures, which at the present moment has turned into an indispensable working tool and provides a lot more security for all parties.
Floorfy: And how do Floorfy’s virtual tours help you on a day to day basis?
Damian: I think that they are an exercise in honesty and resource management. Honesty because clients don’t have any surprises, or feel that they have been taken anywhere under false pretences. They know perfectly what they are going to find before going on a viewing. And it’s evidently linked to resource management. It saves time and unnecessary trips for our team.
Floorfy: In your opinion, what are the main challenges facing the real estate sector?
Damian: Putting aside the main challenge of the pandemic, in the short term I am concerned about the implementation by local governments or even the central government of certain protectionist policies, that border on populism, like the intervention in the rental market, or the obstacles to evictions of apartments controlled by squatter mafias, which only brings legal insecurity and never achieves beneficial results for society.
In the medium term, I think the greatest challenge will be the combination of implementing new technological tools, like those that you offer, with maintaining a high level of specialization and professionalization when advising. We must work to combine both elements. And those who don’t know how to anticipate change will be left behind.