We spoke with Julie Plottier, manager and co-founder of Withfor, and Rosa Domingo, Hospitality manager of this ethical estate agent in Barcelona, so they could tell us about the Relocation service provided by Withfor and all the advantages it offers the client.
Who is this service aimed at?
Rosa Domingo: The Relocation service in Barcelona is aimed just as much at national, as international clients, who for personal reasons or work, need to move to live in Barcelona.
What does Withfor’s Relocation service offer the client?
RD: We offer all the help they might need, from housing to more administrative assistance to obtain documentation (NIE, Social Security, etc.) We also help them to find schools for their children, and any other things that might arise, like childcare, a gym, a medical centre, or other requirements. They ask us for all kinds of recommendations.
So, to offer a good Relocation service, it’s essential to work with efficient suppliers who you trust…
RD: Of course. Sometimes, for us, they’re the simplest and easiest tasks. For example, if they want to do a renovation or find a good professional decorator, we recommend businesses that we already know are reliable.
A good Relocation service saves you lots of time.
RD: Sure. Time and energy.
Julie Plottier: You save, time, stress, nerves… all the doubts you might have about the process, it’s one of life’s most stressful moments, especially if there are children involved. Almost always, the worries are based around the children, when in reality it’s the children who adapt better than the adults.
There’s an important emotional side to this work… The customers want to feel accompanied, to give stability to their families, and make the right decisions…
JP: Totally. On a professional level, we must be experts in the city, know it inside out, and advise our clients regarding real estate matters. But it’s also vital to use a bit of psychology. For each family – and we’ve dealt with over 100 – their culture is always their point of reference. We have to be their support and know how to explain clearly how things work here; let them know that some processes might take longer and some aspects may be different from those in their respective countries of origin.
RD: When someone decides to move abroad, they’re leaving their comfort zone and that of their whole family. Everything is new, there are things that you’ll like and others that you won’t and you have to adapt. And there are some handicaps like the language… So having someone who understands you, who helps you, who speaks your language, and who is there to guide you through this process, is priceless.
What additional value does Withfor’s Relocation service offer? What is it that makes you different or unique?
RD: We are professionals and we love what we do, even though it’s hard work. The clients release their tension on us, their nerves, their emotions… Doing a Relocation when the sun is shining is one thing, doing it in the rain, is something else. You have to make a real effort to make it fun, enjoyable…
JP: I think that our added value is that at Withfor we have professionals from the real estate industry and the service industry. We combine both aspects, always doing so on a personal basis from a human point of view. There aren’t any other businesses in Barcelona that have both parts: at Withfor we have the real estate knowledge for house searches and knowledge of the service sector, that’s what makes us unique.
How do you proceed? What steps do you follow to produce a suitable plan specific to the client?
RD: The first is to listen, to understand what they want and are hoping for, what are their concerns, their wishes, and their priorities. At Withfor we make individual plans, and everyone gets a personalised service. We organise a schedule and also create a route of specific places to visit.
Usually, the first contact with the client isn’t made in person…
JP: Often, the first time we speak, we do so by telephone or by Skype. It allows us to perceive what they’re like, to listen to the client, and not hesitate in calling them back if necessary… If we’re dealing with a couple, we try to speak to both partners because sometimes they have different points of view.
RD: We have to instil confidence in them, and make sure they don´t lose it along the way. The client needs to feel that they’re dealing with someone who is very clear about things, who won’t mislead them, and who is sincere from the outset… and that is what they find at Withfor.
How long can a full Relocation service take?
JP: It depends on the case; each one is different depending on the needs of the client.
RD: Yes. Some people like to look at things well in advance, not something we recommend because the real estate market in Barcelona changes a great deal, and very quickly. For some matters yes, it’s worth proceeding early, like for example the administration, or finding a school for the children… But the question of housing is more difficult. We send more general information, but we’re dependent on the reality of the market.
JP: This is a point that’s very culturally marked. People from countries such as Switzerland or Germany, expect us to send them a schedule, the properties…. it’s difficult to transmit that we need to be calm, that there are realistic time frames…
RD: It also depends on the type of property. According to the budget, sometimes properties go fast. Others are more specific. We try to follow certain steps when performing the property search. We go from the broader to the more specific, identifying what it is that they like and what they don’t… This way we end up defining exactly what each family is looking for. There need to be lots of dialogue and lots of communication. And it’s very important not to make assumptions, and to be open to all possibilities.
Do you end up kind of, establishing a friendship with the client?
RD: Yes, sure. We end up forming a very special relationship with the clients and they appreciate it. You really feel it first-hand, when everything turns out well it’s very gratifying.
What is the most curious thing you can recall that has been asked of you during a Relocation service?
JP: Once a client asked us to help them find a babysitter for their cat. And we had to be prepared for everything, even that.
The Relocation service also covers the time when it comes to leaving the city. How can you help during this phase?
RD: Yes, sure. It’s a service that is contracted less often but I think it’s very important. When a client leaves and vacates the property they have been living in, there are loads of issues that need to be closed. Working with an entry and exit checklist avoids a lot of headaches. It’s highly recommendable to contract this service.
The Relocation service guides your installation in a new city and accompanies you throughout the entire process so that the experience is as satisfactory as possible. For this, it’s very important to secure the best professionals, who know as much about the real estate sector as the service sector, and on top of this are open to different cultures and ways of thinking to understand all the needs and requirements that may arise. Do you want to know more about this service? Visit the following link.