As the Polish commercial real estate market developed, the function of an agency has evolved changing from an intermediary to a consultant. Today, not only do advisory companies help their clients in complicated real estate purchase and sale transactions, but they also support them during the implementation of strategic changes within the organisation.
First international advisory companies emerged over the Vistula River in 1990s, when Warsaw looked like a huge construction site.
“Colliers International entered Poland in 1997, launching its office in Warsaw. Despite the fact that modern commercial real estate of the time could be counted on the fingers of one hand, it was the right time to start operations, for the Polish market was being born, and we participated in its creation from the very beginning,” says Monika Rajska-Wolińska, Managing Partner at Colliers International in Poland.
From newspaper to search engine
20 years ago the role of an agent on the commercial real estate market consisted mostly in intermediation and providing clients with information on the possibilities of lease, sale or purchase of a property. What’s interesting, the agencies constituted mainly a sort of an extension to the developers’ sales division and were looking for clients for their buildings. Today, tenants are the ones taking advantage of the advisors’ aid in finding suitable space under possibly the most favourable leasing conditions. Due to the technological development, advisor is no longer the first source of information on the property. Thanks to such search engines as officemap.pl, retailmap.pl and warehouses.pl, it will take only a few clicks for tenants and investors to find office buildings, shopping malls or warehouses they consider interesting throughout Poland. Advisor enters, should they find something attractive.
Upon making the decision to lease office, retail or warehouse space, the real estate is no longer assessed today through the prism of its area, rent or maintenance fees only. Contemporary advisor points out the possibilities to efficiently use space, they identify emerging new social and technological trends, and help make strategic decisions concerning the company. Multitude of data and variables cause the clients need more than ever before the aid of a professional advisor, who will translate the magnitude of information to practical recommendations allowing to make the right business decisions.
“Today, the competences and scope of services offered by advisory companies go far beyond the typical agency activities. Professional advisors accompany their client at every stage of the transaction – starting with finding the real estate, to negotiations and finalisation of the deal,” says Monika Rajska-Wolińska.
What is more, due to the fact that increasing number of companies become aware of how great an influence the office arrangement has on the quality of work, advisory companies start to hire experts who help clients carry out the metamorphosis of the workplace.
“Last year we introduced at Colliers the Workplace Innovation department. It consists of experts from various fields: architects, business psychologists, sociologists and specialists in the field of HR. Owing to the multidisciplinary approach, we can profoundly study the culture of the organisation and the efficiency of space exploitation as well as find optimal solutions, allowing to adjust space to the employees’ expectations, in order to even better meet current and future requirements of a given industry,” adds Monika Rajska-Wolińska.
Advisor of the future
Real estate market has been changing dynamically, opening to new technologies. Good example is provided by virtual tours, allowing remote walks not only through existing buildings, but also the ones that are only about to be erected. Yet, technology itself is not enough to confidently move around the world of commercial properties. Human factor plays an extraordinarily important role in the sector.
“The role of the advisor is frequently underestimated. However, it is the man, and not the machine, who can use their experience, knowledge and individual client approach and take a holistic look at the real estate sector. We have entered the era of cooperation. Today, advisor is a guide and a link connecting various entities: developers, investors, property owners, cities’ authorities, subcontractors. They are a coordinator of activities, as well as a strategist advising on the development of an organisation. Over the years, the scope of services will continue to expand,” sums up Monika Rajska-Wolińska.