Meet the Agent: Rafał Lewandowski
Rafał Lewandowski is an experienced expert and Partner at Lions Estate, whose knowledge of the real estate market is appreciated by his clients, who work with him for years.
QUALITY: Let’s start from the beginning of your professional career – where did the idea to work in real estate come from?
RAFAŁ: I came to the real estate industry from the Public Relations sector. It was almost 10 years ago. I needed a specific change in my career. I naturally traveled the way from creating marketing content, internal and external communication in the organization to sales. I wanted to have a greater impact on the financial result of the company I am co-creating, and thus the sense of agency. It is the real estate that most fully creates this possibility.
Quality: What do you do in your spare time? What are your passions?
RAFAŁ: For many years, I have always enjoyed sailing the most. I love to gaze at the endless horizon in the Mediterranean for hours, or perform dynamic maneuvers inland. Every year I try to spend as much time as possible on the water. My record of staying under sail, “without land around” is three full days, it was in the Atlantic Ocean, during the longest – about 2,000 nautical miles – voyage from Malaga to the Canary Islands. Last year I also made my racing debut. Together with the Odyssey Sailing Club team – a sailing club to which I have the pleasure to belong – I participated as a grotto in the Polish Cabin Yachts Cup regatta. The competition was played on Jeziorak near Iława. A month later, as a skipper, I led the yacht crew in an internal club regatta in Masuria. In addition, in my free time, I will not despise a good book, especially reportage, biography, or a historical novel. In this category, I recommend my latest discovery, “Pretty Ordinary Country” by Brian Porter-Szucs. Working so much with people, I find a moment of respite absorbed in reading. It really is a great way to relax.
Rafała Lewandowski’s private archive
Quality: At Lions Estate you make record transactions, you have been cooperating with some of your clients for years. Did you expect such a career development when you joined the company?
RAFAŁ: I admit that I did not think about it then. First of all, I tried to get to know the industry, market and the specifics of a real estate broker as much as possible. I focused on current tasks to provide my clients with optimal solutions. Success came gradually and when I look back at the path I have traveled, I have a feeling of a job well done.
Until now, I adhere to the principle that I do not recalculate the level of remuneration from individual transactions before their finalization. Only when the task is finally completed, it is time to celebrate and reward. This helps me make the most of my energy, which is the most valuable resource next to time
Quality: Real estate that you sell “on the spot” – what is it?
RAFAŁ: First of all, located in places where I can feel energy, eg Sadyba, Saska Kępa, Stary Żoliborz. The same goes for the energy inside the property itself. Secondly, with a balanced value for money. Very often we deal with a situation where the owner sets the offer price solely on the basis of the belief that his property is the proverbial eighth wonder of the world. And customers will be willing to pay any, even absurdly exorbitant price for it. Making the expectations of both parties to the transaction realistic allows you to effectively sell real estate.
Quality: What are the customers who buy luxury real estate?
RAFAŁ: Usually very specific and valuing their time. At the same time, the fact that they usually have quite specific expectations regarding the parameters of the property they are looking for does not mean that they are not open to suggestions and a creative approach to searching, e.g. in the area of a preferred location. The premium segment also means communing with people with high personal culture, which I also consider a big positive. Gaining the trust of such customers pays off later in the form of further recommendations. Sometimes such a chain of commands seems to be endless …
Quality: What was your biggest challenge in your career? Do you remember any of the transactions the most?
RAFAŁ: There were many of them, and each one was unique in its own way. However, if I were to single out one specific transaction, I bet on a “combined transaction”: the purchase of a penthouse by customers, for which it was necessary to sell their house in Sadyba and a smaller apartment, and all this happened with the coronavirus pandemic in the background. Numerous plot twists and drama worthy of a film script. Finally, it ended with a happy end and it was for more people than I originally assumed.
Quality: What do you like most about your job and at the Lions Estate?
RAFAŁ: At work, the greatest joy for me is meeting new people, often from different countries. Everyone has slightly different needs and listening to them is a particularly important element on the way to success. Helping the client find his dream property, be it for rent or purchase, brings great satisfaction. I will not be too original when I say that the inner atmosphere is the foundation, a specific credo of the Lions Estate and it is from this that our successes are largely derived. Without taking care of the atmosphere, mutual support, common celebration, sharing joys and difficulties, we would not achieve even half of what we have. The organic development of the team, combined with care for the atmosphere, will always be the values I adhere to. Another undeniable advantage of our workplace is the fact that we are not a corporation. A loose, although structured organization leaves a lot of room for action. At the same time, everyone knows what they are responsible for and how to effectively pursue a common goal. I am proud that, together with my friends, we can build the Lions Estate brand every day.
Quality: What is the recipe for success in this profession? What features should a good real estate agent have and what should guide them?
RAFAŁ: Our work is interdisciplinary. It is not enough to know a few foreign languages, be meticulous, skillfully act under high pressure of time, have negotiation skills, be diplomats, and skillfully navigate in regulations. Only the combination of all these skills and features plus a positive attitude and a bit of luck can achieve success. However, the most important feature of an effective real estate agent is empathy – the ability to read the client’s needs, and thus to listen to his needs. The best salesperson is not the one who talks a lot, but the one who listens. The skillful balance of the seller, negotiator, lawyer and psychologist qualities determines the effectiveness of the real estate agent.
Quality: What advice would you give young people who are considering choosing their career path in the real estate sector?
RAFAŁ: First of all, I would recommend honestly answering the question whether I am ready for a non-standard, flexible working time, including weekends and a commission-based remuneration system? If yes, you can proceed to the process of self-improvement, preferably under the guidance of a trustworthy mentor. Another very important issue is choosing the right place to start your adventure. Places where, on the one hand, we will receive professional support in introducing us to the world of real estate, and on the other, space for development. I found such a place 7 years ago! Then all that’s left is hard work, honing skills, gathering experience, including taking to heart not to worry about failures, but to enjoy the victories.
Quality: Do you have a favorite district of Warsaw? Why this one?
RAFAŁ: There are many unique places in Warsaw, especially the unobvious and undiscovered ones. Saska Kępa is definitely my favorite district. The unique charm and atmosphere of this place mean that whenever I go there I feel calm as well as a surge of endorphins and positive energy. A feeling not easy to describe and define. The charm of Francuska Street with its multitude of cafes and restaurants, combined with the secrets of smaller, transverse streets and, finally, the greenery of Skaryszewski Park … It all adds up to the uniqueness of Saska Kępa. Maybe in the future I will live there again … The inhabitants of Kępa are a full social cross-section: young and old, many artists, people with various levels of wealth, not only yuppies from closed, guarded estates. I am an individualist and I appreciate places with a soul and character. Saska definitely has them.
Quality: How has the real estate market changed in the last year from your perspective?
RAFAŁ: Today’s real estate market is exceptionally hot. Certainly, based on my experience, I can say this about the Warsaw premium segment. The high level of inflation, low – almost negative – interest rates meant that the purchase of real estate is a way to protect capital, and even to multiply it in a time perspective. I observe a clear advantage of demand over supply. Customers who have several million zlotys at their disposal, who commission us to search for their dream apartment or house, more and more often believe that the choice and quality of available real estate is more and more limited.
Certainly, it is constantly growing and the importance of off-market offers, i.e. those that cannot be found on the Internet, will grow.
The help of a specialized broker is also invaluable, and there are not too many such experts in Warsaw, contrary to appearances. I cordially invite you to entrust me with the sale or rental of your real estate. I am also happy to carry out a dedicated search. Almost 10 years of industry experience in a particularly demanding market, supported by numerous achievements and hundreds of satisfied customers speak for themselves.