What are the main activities of Geneva’s régies? How are they developing in French-speaking Switzerland, particularly in the Lake Geneva region and the Valais? In simple terms, the prerogatives of an estate agent relate to transactions between landlords and tenants, as well as sellers and buyers. The real estate agent’s main function is to act as an intermediary and facilitate the meeting of supply and demand. But that’s not all: estate agents provide information and advice to their clients.
The business of managing real estate on behalf of clients owners is the core of the business. The second area of real estate agencies is in sales, i.e. brokerage. Agencies can also play a role in various sectors. Among them, such as promotion, real estate expertise, project management, project management assistance and corporate real estate. Finally, brand development and luxury real estate are handled by specialized departments. In varying proportions depending on the case, the agencies work with private and institutional clients.
The role of a management company’s stewardship service is to assist landlords in the management of their property(ies). The objective being an efficient and effective exploitation of the real estate assets. The property management companies are called upon to look for tenants and reduce vacancies in the long term. They can also be entrusted with the overall rental management of the property in question. A wide range of services is then offered to owners, to save them time and avoid many worries.
To find the right tenant, the property management company will, for example, draw up the advertisements, organise visits, select a candidate (in agreement with the landlord) and finally draw up the lease contract. In the case of full rental management of the property, the agency carries out various tasks. Among them: research and advice on insurance; inventory of fixtures for the selected tenant; obtaining rent and charges, etc. Finally, when there is a change of tenant, it is the managers who take care of the formalities at the end of the contract (notice, inventory of fixtures, return of the deposit, etc.). In principle, the management offers an internal “litigation” service. Its employees – often lawyers – are responsible for settling disputes between landlords and tenants, such as defaults and debt collection.
Finally, the property management is at the service of the clients for any kind of advice. For example, it informs them of regulatory or legislative changes that could impact rental returns. On a technical level, the property manager guarantees the longevity of the property. It proposes (and follows up on) any maintenance and renovation work that has been previously approved by the owner of the premises. In case of damage, the managers take care of the procedures with the insurer and ensure that the problem is solved.
In addition, the employees of the management service are respondents for the tenants. The latter generate requests for interventions during incidents (water damage, breakdowns, etc.). Accounting issues (invoices, payments) and administrative issues (e.g. lease contracts) are also the responsibility of managers.
Switzerland is not a landlord country. However, thanks to condominium ownership, the rate of home ownership has increased in recent decades. This legal form has enabled many – middle-class families – to acquire their own homes. In order to keep up with this trend, most real estate companies have integrated a sector dedicated to the property management of condominiums. The management of condominiums requires special knowledge and services. Indeed, any decision concerning the common parts – such as building entrances, stairwells, technical installations – is taken by all the co-owners. The PPE department is responsible for thea technical, administrative, legal and accounting management. The managers workwith co-owner clients, intervening companies, caretakers, authorities, etc.
Real estate agencies may also have a department specialising in the management of commercial areas and centres. Les Cygnes in Cornavin (Geneva), the Eaux-Vives shopping centre (Geneva) are important centres under Comptoir Immobilier management. The owner principals benefit from advice on their marketing strategy. The management companies are responsible for evaluating the rent to turnover ratio and ensuring that the commercial space remains as attractive as possible.
Agencies’ brokerage department is responsible for supporting the client fromthe listing to the signing. This includes estimating the “right” price according to various aspects (location, surface area, condition of the property, etc.) and according to the local market. Following this evaluation, the broker will perform the development of the property, marketing, negotiation and finally the sale. He will make the owner benefit from his customer portfolio (database of potential buyers).
Thebrokers are at the service of owners to advise them on technical, legal (e.g. energy standards) and tax matters. They also supporttheons steps, especially with the bank, the Land Registry and / or the notary. Brokers also have the mission to search for property for clients who want to find the gem. In this case, the broker uses his portfolio of property and can also extend his search to his network of professionals.
To meet the needs of a French-speaking clientele, Comptoir Immobilier is required to set up local branches outside the canton of Geneva. This presence is a definite advantage in terms of management. Owners deal with a close contact who is very familiar with the particularities of the market and whose advice helps them to optimise their assets. This is also an advantage for portfolios invested in several territories.
The Comptoir Immobilier company is looking for dynamic localities for its subsidiaries. This is the case of Nyon, Lausanne and Montreux on the Lake Geneva Arc. In the canton of Vaud, many agencies are being set up and well-known companies are being taken over by others to form a major real estate group. The company also tends to develop in the same way and to establish its reputation in Valais, in Monthey, Sion and Sierre for example, cities that are experiencing rapid growth.
In addition to management, these branches offer sales services. The employees on site – due to their good knowledge of the market – are able to estimate a property at its fair value taking into account all its aspects and the local specificities.
The main Geneva agencies have a long tradition – family, for some still – that goes back to the XIX e century (the Société des Régisseurs was created in 1879). Nowadays, they benefit from a quality system (ISO 9001) and professional ethics certified by labels from the Swiss Union of Real Estate Professionals (USPI).
The built environment accounts for nearly 50% of all energy consumption and real estate agencies are becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues. In order to concretize this commitment to sustainable development and to improve the energy performance of the buildings under management, Comptoir Immobilier works in collaboration with multiple specialists.
In the digital age, Comptoir Immobilier is developing management tools, some of which are offered free of charge online, such as rapid property estimates, purchase potential calculators or platforms dedicated to owners and tenants such as My-immo.ch
All of these digital tools allow Comptoir Immobilier to be even more efficient and close to its customers. A wide range of services is thus offered in real time, with a view to sustainable development. The company minimizes its impact on the environment by greatly reducing the production of paper. Le Comptoir Immobilier thus offers its services with speed, ease and efficiency.