Engel & Völkers is one of the world’s leading service companies in the provision of high quality residen-tial and commercial real estate and yachts in the premium segment. With its li-censing system and the 4,200 employees in 38 countries Engel & Völkers is the only German company among the top 100 franchise compa-nies in the world. Le CITY deluxe sat down for an interview with Engel & Völkers Miami’s Managing Partner Jose Luis Bueno to speak about Miami’s booming real estate market and luxury real estate of South Florida.
You are a Latino, and you decided to take on a German franchise. How does that work? Why did you decide to open Engel and Völk-ers in 2010?
I started in the real estate industry as an investor in 2001. I was involved in developing single-family homes in the Southern part of Miami. Particularly in Homestead and Pal-metto Bay. Then we went to the Gulf Coast as well and built single family homes there. During that time, we did very well financially because of the real estate boom, and everything that we built was sold even prior to construction. So I became very intrigued by the real estate, although my background is in marketing. Once the real estate market crashed, I went on a tour to different parts of the country, and that’s where I learned about Engel and Völkers. Their office in the Hamptons caught my eye and then I remembered the brand from Europe. I real-ized that it’s not just a local brand so I set up and interview. They were looking for partners in South Florida. We put an offer on the table, and we convinced them, made the commitment and acquired the license for the whole territory from Bal Harbour to Deering Bay. Being in Miami and doing the business in this industry was an automatic choice for me.
Such internationally well-known brand like Engel and Völkers must bring some comfort to your clients.
We have a lot of people who find comfort in dealing with an internationally acclaimed firm. There is a lot of brand recognition. We have about 5,000 agents in our company and we have about a million and a half of active clients within the network.
What is an active client?
Active client is an individual that is currently seeking to buy or sell properties within the last six months. So that’s a huge database. And Miami in the last ten years became so connected internationally. Miami is a top 3 destinations to own the properties in.
How many residential listings do you have right now?
In terms of number of listing we probably have 100.
We haven’t done too much commercial work in the U.S. We are still making more changes to add more value to that section of the real estate industry here. Last year we did about $80 mil-lion dollars in commercial transaction volumes, a very good year overall hitting the $300 million mark-and that was just in my offices.
Engel and Völkers wouldn't just take any list-ing. What are your guidelines?
Our guidelines are that we don’t take any-thing below a million. But to be honest, it is hard to abide by those rules in the beginning. There are clients that have houses and condos for $600,000 that are very reputable. So who is to say that a property under a million is not good. So we try to work it out. There’s not a policy written in Engel and Völkers that we can’t take it. We want to be perceived as a high-end brand. It’s more about who our client is and not just the target price.