I am a great believer in benchmarking. Why reinvent the wheel if someone has beaten you to it. Also, you don’t have to wait for competition to arrive before you sharpen your processes. With this in mind, I contacted Tom Leach at the much respected Leach & Land property company in Poland a few years ago & we kicked around ideas to help each of our companies learn form each other, to improve for the benefit of our clients. We stayed in touch & this June, 2 of our crack team at White Mountain made the epic 1000km drive to Krakow to spend a week in the company of the team at Leach & Lang.
In particular, I wanted to know how we could improve ourselves in terms of Rental, Sales, Property Management & Maintenance. In turn, we would share with them the benefit of our own considerable experience.
This is Anneliese & Andra’s story…..
DAY 1: Introduction day. Getting used to Krakow:
After using the GPS on my phone to get from Lobzowska 22 to Plac Szczepanski and walking like tourists while listening to a robot-woman saying ‘turn left!!’, we have finally arrived to Charlotte Cafe, our meeting point with Tom. Now this makes me laugh, because I know the way by heart, due to all those long walks we took afterwards. But there’s a first time for everything. 🙂
We had our breakfast in the lovely square, while checking the architecture with a fascination I have not had in a long time, while visiting a foreign city. We kept this amazement until the last day, as Krakow is one of those cities you can never stop falling in love with.
We went to Leach & Lang’s office on Slawkowska 6, where we met Kasia – who was extremely busy with clients, Monika and Dobromir, the property experts. We asked them too many questions regarding their way of doing real estate and they answered to all our questions, patiently.
Monika took us to a very interesting new development, Osiedle Nad Stawem, a bit outside of Krakow, in a very quiet area, surrounded by greenery. We were quite impressed by the success of this project, as it was completely sold out in one year and a half. Also, after visiting a few apartments, we were delighted to see that small apartments can be spacious, if they are designed intelligently.
After this experience, we stole Dobromir’s attention and asked him all the possible questions regarding advertising, finding clients, discussing with clients, a broker’s effectiveness, what they do differently than us, what we have in common and more and he answered to all these in the most patient way. Afterwards, he showed us one of the most luxurious residential buildings, Angel Plaza, on Zwierzyniecka Street, with 24/7 security, as well as a high-class gym and conference rooms.
We were very impressed by the quality of this development, as well as Dobromir’s professionalism and the reputation that Leach & Lang has in the area.
DAY 2: Browar Lubicz:
This time we did not need the GPS, as Monika showed us the day before how to get to Leach & Lang’s second office, the sales office for the residential development, next to the old brewery. Exquisite building, we must say!
There, we met Daria and Daria, Arek, Piotr and Konrad.
First, Arek – who is in charge of property fitting, showed us around the building and a few apartments, to see how Leach & Lang does this part of the job as well. We saw completely finished apartments, soon to be finished apartments and some where the works had just started. Again, we asked Arek all the details regarding how he manages the fitting process and what is Leach & Lang’s strategy, while he answered to us professionally and patiently, showing us catalogues with lists of services and prices that they offer to their clients.
Very efficient, helpful and professional, in our opinion!
After the tour and the explanations were over, with our minds full with new information, we met Piotr, who drove us around Krakow and outside of the city, to show us premium plots of land which Leach & Lang are selling to developers and high class customers. The fancy experience! As if what we saw before was not fancy enough…. 🙂
Back in the office, Daria explained us how the system works with Browar Lubicz and how they do the sales for that particular development. Once again, we were impressed by the professionalism that she showed us, as well as the fact that this real estate company that takes care of us for a few days is so important, that the developer offered them exclusivity for such a big project. Hat’s off to them!
Moreover, Konrad and his colleague from Warsaw took us to a new small development, very close to the city centre, yet away from the regular traffic, in an area surrounded by nice houses, greenery and fresh air. I remember this experience as if it was yesterday, since we walked around the whole city. When we left Brasov, it was still cold (recently it is always cold here, even now in June it feels like November), but Krakow surprised us with 30+ degrees. We acted very brave by walking all the distances on high heels and desert temperatures (in our opinion), but we enjoyed this experience to the maximum!
When we got back, Daria Biel showed us around the brewery and inside the Hungarian Consulate, a few properties renovated to the highest standards, once again leaving us impressed by the professionalism that this company has.
DAY 3: Property management office:
After an interesting walk from Lobzowska to Garncarska, where the lovely property management office is, we met Kate B and the girls, who were very keen to show us what they do. We were very grateful that Kate made time for us in her busy schedule, as she was almost on maternity leave. By the time I am writing these, I presume that she had already had her baby, so congratulations on behalf of our team here at White Mountain!
From the moment we entered the property management office, we were delighted by the modern style in which this office has been made, we felt like we could get used to being there. Well, this was the general feeling we had for the city of Krakow as well, but that is another story.
Andra, who is dealing with property management here in Brasov, fell in love with the way the girls in the office organise their folders.
Kate explained us patiently what they do there in Garncarska office, how they differ from other property management companies, what strategies do they have and how they organise everything from behind the curtain. As one of the oldest employees in the company, she was able to give us helpful information for our exchange purposes, while Andra explained what we do differently than Leach & Lang.
I, as a real estate broker, listened respectfully to their conversation, as this was not my area of expertise, but was still interested in absorbing new information.
After lunch, the other girls explained to us what their job consists of and how they completely their tasks more effectively.
DAY 4: Outside Krakow experience:
We met again at Browar Lubicz, with Tom this time, who took us to a trip to Bochnia and then to Katowice, to show us a few new developments which Leach & Lang are selling.
Bochnia is a lovely small city and the new development has a unique design, in my opinion, as it made me feel like on a cruise trip on a yacht. Interesting feeling!
We most liked the development in Katowice, as here we are used to larger rooms than what we saw in Krakow so far, except for the very premium properties.
On the road, we benefited from Tom’s experience and compared notes on the similarities and differences between our companies and the way we complete our tasks.
When arrived back to Krakow, Konrad took us to an opening ceremony for an office building, in the industrial part, which was held in Polish but, thanks to him, we understood what it was all about. With this occasion, we witnessed a few Polish traditions as well.
DAY 5: Presentation day:
Our last day (with Leach & Lang, because we were not ready to leave amazing Krakow yet). We could have arrived to Slawkowska 6 with our eyes closed now, as opposed to our first day. From there, Kasia took us to her development, Rezydencja Twardowskiego, to show us a few apartments, penthouses and the ‘show-flat’, in which she works.
Amazing development, in our opinion! Very close to the city centre, but yet so far from the regular traffic, in a premium area, with luxury and high class houses. We discussed about the possibility of selling the apartments there, advertising strategies, while enjoying the fresh air and the greenery that surrounds the area. Again, Kasia answered patiently to all our questions, while we gathered all the necessary information.
After seeing the surroundings as well, we got back to our flat (not before trying some very god ice cream!) to prepare the presentation in which we were supposed to express our opinion about Leach & Lang and our experience with their company.
What could we say? That we were very grateful for the opportunity, for the involvement, for all the details they offered, so professionally and openly… that we hope to benefit from this experience to the maximum. But we were out of words, after all these overwhelming days, so we decided to show them what we do here in Brasov, just to make them curious to visit us and repeat the experience! Everything that followed afterwards is history! 🙂
Therefore, even one month later, we could still write a novel about our wonderful and productive times with Leach & Lang, as if they were yesterday. Andra and I would like to thank everyone involved in this experience; it would have not been the same if you had not been so caring, warm, communicative and professional at the same time! A big thank you to all your efforts and we are looking forward to having you here in Brasov!
Anne and Andra
White Mountain Property