Immobiliare Porta Parma was founded in 2002 by Sebastiano, who after several years of experience as a real estate agent decided to set up his own agency. Thus, last December (2022), Immobiliare Porta Parma turned 20 years old. In this interview, Sebastiano talks about why he started this business and reveals the most interesting but also the most difficult aspects of his job.
Face to face with the owner of Immobiliare Porta Parma
Tell us about how you started this job: why did you decide to be an estate agent?
It just happened: during a dinner with classmates, a friend of mine suggested I go to work with his father as a real estate agent. The father, an old-school surveyor, had started the business for his son, who however had other interests. In fact, today he has become a biologist. So my friend’s father became my boss, a very precise and scrupulous man to whom I owe so much, especially for everything related to the technical side of this job.
When did you realise that the property market would be your path?
From the first sale! I enjoyed selling houses right from the start.
How did you approach selling?
I gave it a try. I was 27 years old and until then I had been working in the commercial world. So I already knew the basics of selling.
Can a good salesman sell everything?
Yes, but one must know the product, believe in what one is selling and be able to read the needs of the buyers. If I do not believe in the product, I cannot sell it. If I think I have a nice house, I can sell it.
What do you like most about your job?
I meet so many people with so many different realities and lives. Everyone tells me their story, gives me their point of view on everything, always leaving me something. I always try to take the best from everything and everyone and make it my own.
Is there anything about your work that you don’t like or that you like less?
Mmmmh… (he thinks about it a little). No. There isn’t. I like my work, I really do. What I perhaps like less is the speed with which we have to keep up with social media and the internet. There is no longer the close contact with the customer that there was 10 years ago. Nowadays, online presence is more important and buying and selling contracts are faster. You get straight to the point. Also, the market used to be slower and changes took place over years. Now, everything is faster and there can be a sudden turnaround even within months.
How do you think the real estate market will change in the future? What are the big challenges?
Society is changing. There is no demographic policy in Italy. Not having any more children will lead to a significant housing stock. In 2050 there will be 54,000 Italians – says ISTAT (read the report). Today, about 80 percent of Italians live in a house; this means that heirs already own a house. If we do not have more children, more houses will be sold to immigrant foreigners settling in Italy (but this is a negligible number) or to foreigners buying as holiday homes, i.e. as second homes abroad.
What were the hardest moments in your work?
The hardest time was in 2014. In that year, we had a 50 per cent drop in buying and selling. I simply had to wait for that moment to pass. It lasted about a year and then sales gradually increased.
In your opinion, what will the challenges be for the future?
My challenge is to attract as many foreign customers as possible to our area to make our territory and its beauty known. After all, our region has always been a tourist destination for many people from different countries.
Is that why Italy Dream Homes was born?
Yes, I thought of this project in 2019. Then with the arrival of the covid we stopped, but this year we are almost back to normal and so I took the project up again. I created a real team to launch this project, which for me represents the future for the reasons I explained earlier.