It’s been almost a week since arriving in Berlin and it still barely feels real. From arriving in the airport to sitting in my hotel room typing this blog, I can say that just about every second has been interesting and engaging. Although getting over the initial jet-lag was somewhat challenging, the past week has been an adventure full of excitement, learning, and having fun, fueled by and energy demanding to go out and explore Berlin and everything a new culture has to offer.
Having a group of people to explore the city with has been an absolute blast. Making new friends and discovering new places is always a wonderful experience. After getting situated on the day of arrival we were immediately thrust into a jam-packed schedule full of sightseeing, practicing German and figuring out how to be comfortable and get situated in such a new environment. Staying busy has been great though, through the constant running around a discovering new places, our group has really come together to form a cohesive bunch of friends who are ready to keep seeing what this wonderful city has to offer. At times when we were running around the city seeing sights like the Brandenburg Gate or the River Spree, it felt like we almost forgot about perhaps the most exciting part of the program: the international internship!
For the duration of this program I will be interning at a local Real Estate Brokerage and Property Management firm, Residea. In short, I could say that I will be doing work for a German real estate company this summer, and although that may satisfy many of my friends’ questions it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what Residea and my internship is all about. The exact details of what a real estate firm actually does can honestly be pretty confusing, especially when put into the context of a new country, like Germany. The housing laws here are different than what one would find in the United States and requires companies operating in this environment to command a unique and driven set of skills in order to satisfy all stakeholders (laws, communities, profit, etc.)
To go into more detail, Residea helps sell and manage both residential and mixed-use properties across Berlin in conjunction with their Asset Management parent-company Round Hill Capital. What I will be doing at my internship is helping the sales force team analyze and request approvals for sales of properties across Berlin. This field can at times be pretty complicated trying to maneuver volatile markets, high levels of competition and strict laws on housing and tenant privileges. In order to succeed it takes a lot.
From the first few minutes of being at Residea it became clear to me that this company was goal oriented. There was very little sitting around doing nothing or small talk; all of the workers were laser focused on their tasks at hand. This type of focus and dedication is absolutely vital to succeed in this market. If deadlines aren’t met and apartments don’t get sold, then no money comes in and clearly, the firm would not succeed. However, it is more than just a dedicated work ethic that is necessary for success. One must also be knowledgeable of the market, you must now what is going on in Berlin, and how it could effect the value of the apartments.
Beyond this, one must know the laws that give tenants many rights and privileges that don’t exist in other places such as the United States. For example, a property owner is not allowed to sell an apartment out from under the tenant, unless the tenant agrees to a deal in which they will willingly cancel their lease. So to succeed here, one must be aware of the law and not break it but also be able to get deals made with individual tenants of any and all sizes if they want a deal to be made. Otherwise no properties can be sold and as stated before, no money will be made and your firm cannot succeed.
In all there are a lot of skills required to succeed in this field. On a personal level, I will also have to adapt to working in a German speaking office and must be able to rely on my language skills. Confidence in my opinion will be key throughout the process of learning my responsibilities and carrying them out in a manner that will add value to the firm while also teaching me invaluable lessons. I’m excited for more of what is to come and can’t wait to succeed at Residea!