Starting over

Small talk
After twelve years at RedNet, where she climbed all the way to the top, Anna Franus has now joined a competitor in the residential development services field, Kup i Mieszkaj, as managing director, She tells why she is so excited by the prospect of this new challenge

After working for twelve years at RedNet, was it a big shock for you to join Kup i Mieszkaj, even though it’s a company operating in a similar field?

Anna Franus, managing director, Kup i Mieszkaj: When I first joined RedNet Dom, it was a small company with a team of twelve people. I was able to spread my wings there and go through many different levels, from specialist to CEO. As a result I had the opportunity to get to know the product from the bottom up and obtain a deep knowledge of the residential development market. When I was considering changing my job, I wondered whether I should go to a big firm, such as a corporation, or to a smaller organisation, which I would be able to develop the same way as I had developed RedNet Dom. I realised that it was the latter kind of company that suited me better. In this way I would be able to create something and watch as the company and product spread out across Poland, as had been the case with my previous job. I think that because of the really great team I work with at Kup i Mieszkaj, it will be the same.

What in your point of view is the current state of the Polish residential market? Has the pandemic mixed things up, complicated everything or – strange as it may sound – helped in any way?

It’s worthwhile taking a look at what currently sells on this market. A few months ago I was already seeing how clients were beginning to buy apartments during the pandemic that, a few months earlier, had been regarded as a hard sell. These included large apartments, terraced houses and semi-detached homes on the edges of town. Prior to this, no one had wanted to buy homes so far from the city centre, because of the traffic jams and the driving times. In almost every development the first homes to sell out were the smaller, cheaper ones with one or two rooms. Then suddenly, we were all shut up at home and many of us started working remotely. After such an experience many clients want to have an office or somewhere they can work, somewhere that the children have more place to study and to play, with a terrace or a garden. As a result, all residential developers have seen more demand and higher sales of larger apartments and houses. Many of these have even broadened their range of products with the addition of new segments. Previously, they might have only been involved in the apartment market, but now they are actively building single family homes.

So how can you help residential developers, seeing as everything sells straight away regardless of the price?

There are still projects on the market that need the help of companies like Kup i Mieszkaj. There are those projects that received their building permits before the outbreak of the pandemic and need support under the present circumstances. There are also many more projects under development by cash investors who have invested their money in land due to the uncertain situation on the financial markets and are now developing residential projects. Very often these are people who have never had any experience of real estate and made their money in a completely different sector. They have no experience of development projects and they don’t know what tools to use, how to do the marketing or how to organise the sales. There are also companies that so far have only acted as general contractors but have now started to build for themselves, because they see the chance to make higher profits. We also have foreign funds among our clients, who have entrusted the development of their projects to a company such as ourselves. This is because they don’t want to delegate this to their employees or hire new people to create an organisation here.

I hear that you have a love of flowers. Does your sense of aesthetics and beauty help you in your work in the residential market?

My love of flowers is something I got from my mother and my grandmother. There were always a lot of plants in our garden at home. Nowadays, after work I go into my own garden for some peace and quiet. I could also bring this hobby into my work in my previous company. When the designers had finished their work on the show apartments, I often like to add something from myself at the end. A sense of aesthetics is very useful in this work. This passion means that I pay more attention to how the common areas are fitted out, what materials are used, and how the additional elements look, such as the greenery and plants. At the moment, more developers are paying attention to the environmental features of their projects. These include green roofs, large patios, terraces and recreation and relaxation areas. More greenery is also appearing inside office buildings, including trees. These changes make me very happy, both as a real estate expert and as a lover of plants and gardens. At Kup i Mieszkaj we support developers from the stage when they are just beginning to create their product, and we always suggest eco-solutions that raise the value and usefulness of the property.

If you were to choose another country to live in other than Poland, where would it be?

Ireland. Maybe many of your readers would be surprised by that answer, but I lived there for a few months when I was a student and I was enchanted by it. I travel a lot, but even New Zealand didn’t have such a big impact on me as Ireland. It’s the amazing greenery and the people. In my opinion the Irish are very similar to the Poles – open and kind-hearted. It’s so peaceful there, which is something that Poland is losing. The pandemic may be slowing down the rush that you find everywhere, but there’s still much less of this in Ireland. Everything seems simpler there.

Interview: Anna Korólczyk-Lewandowska