Chapter 6 – Change in the Time of Crisis

We return to the beginning of 2020. Τhe company’s goals: growth!
Then, a Chinese man who decided to eat a bat that had kissed a pig (or something like that, don’t take my word for it), ruins our plans. What essentially happened next would shake the company up in the next year and a bit. This is what I’m going to elaborate on in the below chapter, where we’ll talk about existing during a crisis, specifically the coronavirus crisis.

Today I am going to talk about the indirect influence external affairs had on our company; how and what we changed in the wake of the coronavirus in order to adapt to the buyers’ and renters’ market of the coming years.
I’ll start by saying that human memory is very short: In the early 2000s, Apple started marketing a phone with the new “touch screen” technology. In the first few months, people who bought these phones were considered weird. Everyone thought it was a trend that wouldn’t work, that it had a lot of issues – one of which was that it was very fragile. Today, though, we don’t know how we used to live without a smartphone (if you can still call it just a phone with all the technology inside).
The same goes for the Twin Towers tragedy, which led to major changes in intelligence technologies and the security of flights around the world.
I could give many more examples.

What I’m saying is that the coronavirus will also pass. And, except for the things we will get used to, it will all be just a memory in two to three years.
Knowing this, and because we plan to sell our customers’ apartments by 2025 (at least according to the current projection), we need to fit the needs of the people that will still be influenced by the coronavirus crisis.

What did we decide to change? Two main things:
1. Regarding construction – we started to design slightly larger apartments where the main emphasis is on having as clear a separation as possible between the bedroom and living room. Even if it would be a studio, we would create a physical separation between the inner areas, in case of quarantine where our tenant stays in the house. It was important for us to take this into account and create this separation.
This led us to a complete change of our business plans: larger apartments meant fewer apartments on each floor, and this changed the costs of construction.

2. Regarding tenants – we would constantly do checks on the tenants, but during the coronavirus period, it became doubly important. We focused even more on bringing in as many essential workers as possible, checking the customers’ ability to pay, to receive guarantees, etc…
It is important to say, no matter how careful we were about it during the coronavirus period itself, we had to be a little less strict with the prices to fill the apartments. To compensate for that, we emphasize agreeing to as short a rent period as possible so as not to commit to long and cheap rental contracts.

These adjustments caused us to go through the coronavirus crisis reasonably well. At the same time, they produced the development and growth that we needed to adapt to the needs of the market in Thessaloniki. We were more ready than ever to face a world after the coronavirus!

I’ll see you in the next chapter,
Gal Rubin