Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Thinking Outside of the Box in Barcelona

It’s amazing to think that I am now one month into my internship here at Casamona International SL. On my first day, everything seemed knew to me – the country, the streets, the languages…everything. At first it took me a little while to start responding in Spanish automatically and I would even get nervous speaking to clients on the phone in Spanish. In my first 2 weeks, I only found 4 properties and had a 12% success rate in contacting owners, but with good organization skills and use of all resources I quickly improved. After one month I feel very adjusted to the changes. Since I have to speak Spanish everyday while I am working I am definitely more comfortable speaking the language at any time. My office is very international, and here there are many people that speak other languages, like Catalan and French. I have the opportunity to improve in those languages as well, although the most common languages spoken in the office are English and Spanish.

A typically work day for me starts at 10:00 and ends at 18:00. Usually I am in the office much later, because it is very important to me that I am keeping up with the daily goals that I create for myself. My main task in Casamona is to find new properties in Barcelona for rent and for sale. It may sound simple, but there is a whole chain of activities that occur just to acquire a property. Allow me to explain: once I know what I am looking for (for example, a studio apartment located in the trendy neighborhood of El Born selling for less than 350.000,00 eur or renting for less than 1.000,00 eur per month) I begin to search through various portals, newspapers, and forums to sort out properties that meet this criteria. An example of something I will find would look like this:

In addition, on the Casamona site the property would look like this after I enter all the info and write a description.

Then I directly contact the owners (called particulares) by calling them to ask more about their property. Then I arrange a meeting with them to view the property, take professional fotos, and fill in contracts and basic information about their properties. Typically I am traveling all over Barcelona which is pretty exciting, but it can easily be tiring going from one end of the city to another. This is when it pays off to be extremely organized.

Finally, once the visit is complete and the contract is signed, I head back to the office to enter the property into DezRez, a real estate database, and publish the information on the company’s website. Next, I have to market the property on real estate portals and notify my coworkers of the new property.

As of two days ago, I have been paired with a specific sales agent to find properties for her specific clients. Prior to that, I would accept specific “flat finding challenges” sent out by all the sales and rentals agents. This definitely helps me to stay focused when I am filtering through a continuous list of possibilities in Barcelona. On a normal day I will usually have about 2-3 or more visits with property owners. To stay organized, I pretty much turn every surface into a whiteboard…which works since I am a very visual person.