Bringing Americans in real estate to Poland

Renata Osiecka, Managing Partner AXI IMMO
President of SIOR in Europe, Renata Osiecka, talks to Poland Today about the organisation’s aims and its upcoming conference in Warsaw.

How did it come about that you are European President of SIOR?

I joined a few years ago because I saw opportunities for me and my company. SIOR has a strong business background. As well as the importance of standards, there is also a strong emphasis on networking and relationships. I became quite active in the organisation and was then chosen to be President of SIOR in Europe, which was an honour. It’s a two-year term and this is my second year. It’s traditionally the privilege of the President to choose the location of the annual SIOR European conference in the second year, and of course I chose Warsaw.

What have you learnt about SIOR – and the American way of doing business in real estate – from your trips to SIOR events in the US?

I travel twice a year to the US to participate in SIOR conferences so I see how the organisation works up close. It’s an established institution – over 70 years old – and it’s built on relationships, in a way that is much stronger than in Europe, where organisations are often driven by company policy and by procedures. There’s a strong emphasis on ethics and experience– you need to be recommended by two existing members, who verify that you are reliable and ethical – and can handle large deals. In the US you have to personally handle a minimum of USD 250,000 of deals each year. So I would say that in America it’s a case of: if you trust someone, you work with them – to a much greater degree than in Europe. I like that way of doing business.

What are SIOR’s aims in Europe?

Our US members work with large corporations who are present in Europe so they want to be able to recommend their clients to people with the same standards and attitudes as them. They want a strong network of members in Europe.

What can membership of SIOR bring you?

It’s mainly about the networking and referrals from other members.

What do you hope that the American attendees to the SIOR conference in Europe will take away from the Warsaw conference?

Well, to start with, it’s a very strong programme with great content. We’ll have dedicated panels for each segment on the market and additionally, one of the panels will feature ten brokers from ten different countries, the theme being: how to make deals in your market. It will include a broker from Germany, the UK, Belgium, Italy, France and US and so on. So participants will have a very interesting programme to take part in. But I also want them to go back to America – and to the other European countries, as many are coming from across Europe – with a great impression of Warsaw, of the city’s market and opportunities across the whole country. The market in Poland is in great shape at the moment – I want them to see that. Members from the US can also talk to European members about their markets, which is very useful for them as their perception might be  different to the reality. And of course we hope they will refer their clients to come to Poland – we want Poland to be mentioned when talking about business opportunities in Europe.

What kind of feedback are you picking up from your US members as they prepare to come to Poland?

They are all very excited about coming. We’re getting many different questions. Some are looking for ancestors – and not only in Poland, but also from surrounding countries. Some are interested in history of World War II in Poland. Others want to know where to go for holidays after the conference – as many of them are coming with their spouses and families. There is a lot of interest – they’re traveling a long way, so they want to get the most out of the trip.

SIOR recently announced a partnership with RICS. What does that bring to SIOR?

We have a great relationship with RICS and because we don’t compete with each other, we actually complement each other. We want to promote the possibility for RICS members to become SIOR members and vice versa. Also, SIOR only covers the office and industrial sectors. RICS is more diverse. SIOR is more about deals and the manner you run business.

Delegate places for SIOR’s Warsaw conference start from €495 for SIOR, CCIM & RICS members and €695 for non-members. Visit SIOR Europe’s website to find further information on tickets, travel advice, a list of confirmed speakers and the full detailed programme.

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Written by: Richard Stephens