Interview with CEO Mehrdad Bonakdar in VOLTA Magazine
KENSINGTON Finest Properties International – the Swiss real estate agency with the international network – has a longstanding reputation for offering a first-class service to buyers and sellers of properties around the globe.
The company is currently active in 9 countries across 3 continents and has been represented in Greece since 2015. This year, CEO Mehrdad Bonakdar decided to continue and expand the business throughout Greece.
Popular Greek magazine VOLTA met the real estate expert and family man for an interview and talked to him about the status quo and his plans for the future…
KENSINGTON Finest Properties International
a Swiss real estate company – on the road to expansion in Greece
VOLTA: Mr Bonakdar, KENSINGTON has been operating in Athens for 2.5 years now. What’s your verdict?
MB: Well, we’ve terminated our contract with our franchisee in Athens at the end of 2016 and are now going to continue and expand our business throughout Greece on our own.
VOLTA: What made you come to this decision?
MB: In other markets, our franchise model is highly successful. On the Balearic Island of Mallorca, for instance, we’ve managed to become one of the two biggest estate agent companies operating in 9 locations within just 5 years. Our franchisee in Athens, however, didn’t manage to offer the service quality our clients across our international markets are accustomed to, despite massive support from our head office and excellent training from our in-house Real Estate Academy. For the sake of our clients and our brand, we had to intervene.
VOLTA: What exactly are your plans for Greece?
MB: We’re going to grow our team in Athens and open further locations in Crete and, in the medium term, also in Mykonos. To this end, we’re currently actively recruiting an Athens-based Business Development Manager for Greece as well as real estate experts in both Athens and Crete. And we’re going to enforce our proven and successful marketing measures more strongly than ever. We’re also planning international property shows in top locations, including the Middle East and Central Europe. It goes without saying that we won’t be able to make up for what our franchisee has failed to achieve in recent years within a matter of weeks. Through the KENSINGTON Real Estate Academy, each new licence partner is guaranteed to become a real expert in selling high-quality properties within a very short time and at a very low cost. In addition, the academy will provide them with coaching and support even after the seminars have been completed.
VOLTA: What’s your personal fascination with Greece?
MB: I first visited Greece with my wife 25 years ago. We were on holidays in Corfu at the time. Until this day, we hold very fond memories of this trip and have since visited various locations in Greece on a regular basis. At the end of May, for instance, we’ll be taking our children to Crete, where we’re about to open an office. What particularly fascinates me about this country – apart from its beauty, its fascinating history and its outstanding cuisine – is its wonderful people. Having lived in Spain until 2012, I’ve experienced an economic crisis first-hand. Many of us won’t even be able to imagine the enormous struggles of vast numbers of people as a result of this huge economic crisis. But the way people in Greece handle it is simply incredible. I would strongly recommend anybody to visit Greece and see for themselves. And while you’re there, you’ll also have the opportunity to take in the beauty of Greece.
VOLTA: Which target group is currently buying property in Greece?
MB: There’s a difference between Athens and the islands. While most buyers on the islands are from Europe, the majority of buyers in Athens, for instance, are from the Middle East or local buyers from Athens. Golden Visa buyers also tend to prefer Athens. Being a Swiss company with an international network, we’re highly flexible and can promote this market internationally. We’re also noticing increasing demand from international investors participating in various real estate projects. We’ll shortly be launching the KENSINGTON Real Estate Fund for professional investors and there’s a good chance that we’ll acquire a few projects via our own fund as well.
VOLTA: KENSINGTON remains firmly committed to the Greek market?
MB:That’s exactly right. You’ve hit the nail on the head. We believe in Greece. You need people from the real estate business who believe in the market they operate in.
VOLTA: We wish you all the best for it and much success.