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Employee's Interview: David Forteza del Rey, Head of Residential Investment, Madrid

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Discussing his position as Head of Residential Investment in Madrid, David Forteza del Rey tells us about his career path, his achievements, and the importance of building trust with clients.

Can you tell us a bit about your role?

I work for BNP Paribas Real Estate Spain and for the past year I’ve been trying to channel part of the investments in the residential area of real estate, so that means value-up buildings as well income-producing buildings. We try to channel the investment especially from private equity and investment funds to buildings or portfolios of residential units.

Why did you choose a career working in the real estate sector?

You could say it’s a family business. My father worked as a real estate broker for his whole life, so ever since I was a little kid I learnt a lot from him. I think it was a natural path for me to end up working in real estate.

Why did you choose to work for BNP Paribas Real Estate?

I was working on my own from 2016-2017, and at the end of 2016 the general manager of BNP Paribas Real Estate called me and offered me a position in the residential investment department which wasn’t around at that time. It was a very interesting project, starting a whole new business line, working from the ground up. So it was a very challenging and very interesting opportunity for my career.

Can you tell us about your career path?

I graduated from University in Madrid, with a double degree in law and business administration. Apart from some trainee experience in import and export management, I also opened my own law firm for a year. While I was working there, I closed a couple of real estate deals and got offered my first position in another consultancy firm. It’s now been almost 14 years since I first started out.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?

The most challenging thing about my job is working with clients. The deals are objectively good, bad or average, but I really think that real estate is a personal business. You have to know and trust your client, and they have to know and trust you. It’s very personal, so to reach out to your client and to become someone trusted is the key to success in this business. It’s also the most difficult thing to achieve.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

I’ve been working for nine months on closing a deal that we closed recently. After nine months of work it was very rewarding to finally close the deal, also because the asset was a very complicated one. It was very rewarding to see that you can go from something very complicated to an income-producing asset in just nine months. I recall arriving at the office after closing and telling everyone that the deal was finally closed and everyone in the office started applauding, so that was very fun too.

What skills do you think someone needs to work in your department?

You have to be a very dedicated person, very patient, very outgoing, and very passionate about this business. If not, working nine months straight on one deal won’t work for you! Lately, we’re beginning to see that you have to have good interpersonal skills so that the client trusts you. It’s all about building trust.

What are you most proud of achieving in your career?

We began one year ago with nothing, or very little, except of course for the BNP Paribas Real Estate brand, and we’ve now come a long way. We’re beginning to see all our efforts come to fruition. Funds are beginning to call us and offer us exclusive deals, and we’re starting to see the benefits of all the trust that we developed last year. After one year of hard work, the deals are starting to come to us. I’m really proud of that because we started with a strong brand but it was still an unknown one, and through our work we've established BNP Paribas Real Estate in the Spanish real estate market.

How do you think you’ve got to where you are today?

It’s passion that drives me. I love the business. From the outside it may seem easy but there’s extensive work behind it. Real estate is a very simple business, but there’s a strange magic in putting all the variables together and trying to look for the best solution for your client. It’s hard work, but you get to meet so many people and learn so many things. It kind of hooks you in, knowing the prices, knowing that you have a strong deal that you may close. It’s actually quite addictive.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career similar to yours?

Being patient is key, no matter how dull you think something is. While things like market surveys or typing prices can be repetitive, after many years you know your prices and the market perfectly. And the first time that you come across a client and you can speak confidently about price and yield levels, you realise that all those years of hard work and repetitive tasks have paid off. So most importantly, be really patient.

What does success mean to you?

For me, success is my three-year old son. I love my career and my job, but three years with him in my life has changed a lot for me. Success is coming back home knowing that you’ve done your job and given your best at the office, and when you go home you know your son is waiting for you.

What memorable piece of advice have you been given in your career?

It may seem strange but the best piece of advice I received was to trust your gut. If you trust your gut when it comes to a deal, just go ahead with it. In the end, it really boils down to instinct. As with everything in life, the first years where you have to perform repetitive tasks are actually the things that give you the instinct to understand if a deal is good or not.

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