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03/04/2020 | Broker Tips

Julien Di Savino: I appreciate free advertisements for partner brokers and clear overview, without repetition

Julien Di Savino: I appreciate free advertisements for partner brokers and clear overview, without repetition

The meeting with Julien Di Savino, a broker, a real estate appraisal expert and the President of ARCID (Swiss Chamber of Graduates from the Real Estate Market Studies) 

Our partner, an agent of Lookmove, a real estate enthusiast, has been managing a family business in the Lausanne region for several years. This excellent expert on the local real estate market has answered our questions.

Lookmove: What services do you provide to your customers in your company?     

Julien Di Savino: Since the beginning of my business activity (2007) I have been offering brokerage services within this family company. In 2010 I became an enthusiast of real estate knowledge, because I immediately had a feeling for investment properties. In order to better understand the mechanisms for determining the value of these properties and the returns expected by client-investors, I decided to obtain a patent in the real estate appraisals and join the CEI (Swiss Chamber of Experts on Real Estate Appraisal). Simultaneously, since 2007, I have also been performing the real estate management activities. The consolidation of these various real estate professions encouraged me to apply for the Federal Diploma, which I successfully obtained in 2016. Thanks to this knowledge, I am able to offer all the services that this profession offers, including development services.

Do you consider yourself an agency or rather an entrepreneur?    

As the only employee of a joint stock company, I am an employee, not an entrepreneur in terms of the legal status. Since I work on my own, I consider myself a self-employed person who runs a full estate agency.

Where is your agency located? Do you specialize in one type of transaction in a specific region?

Since 2002, the registered office of the company has been in Morges, after several years in Lausanne. When it comes to selling so-called « consumer » goods, such as apartments and villas, I work mainly in the regions and districts where I know the market well and have a customer database. I also work in the neighbouring cantons and all French-speaking Switzerland when I receive an order to sell construction plots or investment properties.

Do you speak any other languages than French, and if so, are these languages useful to your business?

I know Italian fluently. It’s my second mother tongue. Since the beginning of this business, I have had the opportunity to improve my English language skills. I also speak German well, and in recent years I have been learning Spanish. The languages that are the most useful for me are French, English and sometimes German.

What are, in your opinion, the main challenges for the real estate sector within the next ten years?    

I would like to say that the main issue is always the same: finding the right balance between supply and demand in both the rental and sales markets, taking into account the economic structure and legal framework of each region and canton. Greater powers for cantons in terms of spatial planning and less restrictive administrative procedures in the field of construction would allow for a faster adjustment of supply to demand.

What exactly does a brokerage license mean?    

It is an agreement under which the owner authorizes the intermediary to represent him and conclude an agreement for the sale of his property. There are two types of brokerage agreements, because a broker can act as an indicator broker or a negotiator. In the latter case, besides simply notifying his principal of the possibility of concluding an agreement (e.g. sending the names of the clients concerned to the owner), he has the obligation to verify the buyer’s solvency by accompanying him in his banking procedures, giving instructions to the notary public carrying out the sale in order to defend his interests as best as possible and, above all, to negotiate the property entrusted to him in the best possible way. These are just these tasks in which the broker-negotiator differs from the indicator broker.

What can a private person expect when he/she signs an authorization with you? What services do you offer him/her? What objectives do you establish ?    

I spend most of my time and effort on finding buyers for the property entrusted to me by the owner. It is a free choice that I am not in any network, because I have the privilege of having a relationship with the owner who trusts me, rather than looking for the resources that every buyer is able to find on various real estate portals, especially yours, who gives all the real estate offers in a clear and uncomplicated way. However, it happens regularly that I look for a property on behalf of clients who have entrusted me to sell their property and in this case I work with a network of partners and agencies that I have acquired over the years.

What is the risk of buying and selling at the same time? What to do if a purchase agreement has been signed before the sale ?    

The coordination of the purchase and sale of real estate is not an easy task and must be carefully prepared. This risk depends mainly on the financial commitment of the new property in relation to the property to be sold. If there is a margin of mortgage credit increase and sufficient income on the old residential premises, then it is not a problem to incur expenses on both residential premises on a temporary or permanent basis. In a given case, the price of the property for sale will have to be verified and perhaps the obligation for a new property may be withdrawn, but this may be expensive if a contractual penalty is to be paid to the seller. The broker must be present in this type of transaction in order to best advise his or her client in this double transaction.

In your opinion, why does this profession not always reflect a good image? Is there any need to regulate this profession ?

In today’s economy, where more and cheaper production is needed, services in some real estate sectors sometimes lose their quality. Today this profession is effectively unregulated. This way everyone, as in other professions, can improvise as a manager, broker, appraiser etc. Faced with this situation, USPI Formation, which is a reference school for real estate in French-speaking Switzerland, has developed significantly and has been involved in training a large number of qualified staff over the last ten years. In addition, the CEI (Swiss Chamber of Real Estate Experts) and the cantonal sections of USPI (Swiss Union of Real Estate Professionals) offer their members the quality and ethics labels that must meet strict standards. This is a guarantee of quality and trust for clients.

What do you think about low cost agencies (no commissions, lump sum, exclusively online, etc.) that appear everywhere ?     

I will not go so far as to say that they “appear everywhere”, but they actually take away the market share from other agencies that offer so-called “traditional” brokerage solutions. It is 2020; you have to go with the spirit of the times. If these companies exist, it is because there is some demand for them. The solution offered by these agencies has its price and the solution offered by the so-called « more conventional » agencies has a different price. The question is whether to sell as well as possible and spend time on finding the right buyer at the right price with a reasonable brokerage commission, or to sell within a limited period of time, even if this means losing part of the revenue from the sale with the limited commission in return. The aim of these different solutions is to ensure that everyone finds their account according to their goals and possible limitations.

You are the President of ARCID, the « Swiss Chamber of Graduates from the Real Estate Market Studies ». What is the function of your association?  

The aim of this association is to promote and defend the federal diploma and patents in the field of real estate management, to inform the public and persons interested in this profession and to establish contacts between members. For this purpose, we regularly organize events and seminars on current topics, such as the recent one where we have discussed with the WeCan Group the exciting topic of Tokenisation and Blockchain with regard to the real estate industry, and in particular the investment in the investment properties.

What are, in your opinion, the advantages and disadvantages of the new technologies used in the real estate market?     

Regardless of whether we talk about real estate or other business sectors, the « digitisation » takes place everywhere. The agencies need to adapt and work with these new tools to meet new needs and optimize some of the processes. As always, this has advantages and disadvantages both for the client and for the agency. The advantage is saving time through the automation of certain tasks and the ability to process and analyze very large amounts of data within a short time. The disadvantage is that some agency services are transferred to the client. This saves the agency time and allows for offering attractive fees. In the case of the main services within the order, the value added by the agency, which the client resigns from, should be related to the price of the service. Currently I notice that not all clients want to participate in creating this value to the detriment of more attractive fees. I refer mainly to the management right and partial intermediation or « à la carte », in which the owner actively participates in certain tasks usually performed by the agency.

You have decided to sign a partnership agreement with Lookmove. For what reason?   

Last summer, I received a request from a potential buyer regarding a luxury property from your portal which I did not know about. It was then that I contacted your founder, Mr Maxime Danibert, to find out more about your company and the services you offer. We met and he explained to me his concept and how you stand out from other real estate portals and the advantages of being a partner agent. In comparison to other portals, I appreciate the free advertisements for partner brokers and the clear overview, without repetition, of the advertisements you offer. This way of presenting real estate offers is also appreciated by the agencies when conducting the market research. As far as the services provided to partner agents are concerned, I value the exclusivity of real estate promotions for sale, the contact with qualified sellers, an access to the active buyers as well as a warranty of my autonomy and independence. For these reasons, I have responded positively to this partnership proposal.

What is your opinion regarding the real estate investment in Switzerland in the short-term and medium-term perspective? In which cities and regions? Rather in new or old ones?    

It is difficult to answer this question in an unambiguous way, because each investor has his own risk profile. Moreover, before answering this question, it is necessary to distinguish between a real estate investment and the acquisition of primary or secondary residential premises. In both cases, the purchaser has expectations regarding the return or capital gains, which vary according to his own investment criteria. In general, everyone is aware that the investment in the urban centers close to facilities and transport allows for obtaining a stable return and the facility’s value over time due to higher demand. On the other hand, the entry price is higher and the return is lower. Taking into account new construction standards, a new or newly constructed property will retain a higher value over time. In conclusion, I recommend investing in well-known markets and regions and diversifying your risk.

Julien Di Savino

Higher education diploma of a real estate administrator
The President of ARCID
Member of the CEI

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