A Greek-Canadian citizen, now living in Manhattan, NY decided that he will change the way Greeks and foreigners are buying and selling real estate in Greece. Less than a year ago George Stroumboulis used his marketing background and internet technology to create GreekPropertyExchange.com, a place where buying and selling is just a few clicks away. George has worked and studied in markets including Canada, Greece, Ireland, United Kingdom, France and the USA – strengthening his marketing, business and design abilities along the way.
How did you come up with the idea for GPE?
Over 2 years ago, I was interested in purchasing a small apartment in Kalamata, Greece. I got so discouraged with the buying process and so jaded with all the confusion surrounding the way foreigners even start searching for property in Greece. I wasted half of my vacation that summer searching for different apartments where most of the “for sale” information was found on yellow stickers on random telephone poles, buildings and shady alleys throughout the city – not an efficient way to start your dream property search. When I did manage to locate potential apartments, the process following that was overwhelming for a foreigner (Canadian-Greek) – I could only imagine how time consuming and complicated it would be for people without knowledge of the Greek language, understanding of the process or transparency with the politics and procedures.
How does GPE change the way people buy and advertise property in Greece?
GreekPropertyExchange.com (GPE) is a simplified real estate marketplace that unites buyers, sellers and those seeking to rent Greek real estate and property. GPE was created to help foreigners from around the world start their dream property search from the comfort of their home. The website focuses on marketing the services and property listings of Greek real estate agents, property developers and professionals to international visitors looking to buy, sell or rent. GPE also has a platform for independent property owners who have real estate in Greece (house, apartment or land) and are looking to put it on the market for sale or rent.
Please explain to us how it works…
GreekPropertyExchange.com is a simplified property advertising tool that is dedicated to the Greek and Cypriot real estate markets. Their platform allows property professionals and independent sellers to advertise their properties to the world. GPE has a number of useful selling tools that equips the advertiser and gives them greater flexibility with sharing their offerings and making it user-friendly to prospective purchasers and renters. It is playing a small part in helping revolutionize the way people broadcast their properties to the world – and helping to stimulate the real estate market during the challenging times currently faced as a nation. Agents, developers and independent property owners from around the world can register for free, manage their profile and start uploading their property details through a simplified step-by-step process. With just a few clicks, anybody can create their very own listing for Greek property they are looking to sell – immediately promoting it to a global audience all searching for the same thing – Greek real estate. How else could someone living in Vancouver, Canada or Melbourne, Australia get their property listing posted, drive traffic to it and potentially sell it, or at least get the process started, from their home nation? That is what we are helping agents and people do – and it is working.
“People looking to purchase in Greece are advised to do their research, stay informed and evaluate opportunities from many agents and developers before committing to investing”
When did you launch?
GPE launched its beta website less than a year ago after attending the Property 2010 show in Athens. They have been working closely with agents and developers in Greece to create this platform and give them the tools they need to better market their offerings. GPE will be attending the Property 2011 show in Athens this March – making it their official 1 year anniversary.
Success to date:
The website has been growing its popularity every month since they launched less than one year ago. GPE now has visitors from 104 countries around the world – reinforcing the fact that Greece is a popular destination for foreigners and Greek Diaspora alike. They have already registered 700+ real estate professionals from all over Greece and have in excess of 2,300+ property listings (residential, commercial, land) covering all areas of Greece. GPE also recently launched their Cyprus property platform to help real estate professionals in Cyprus market their properties to the world. Cyprus represents a popular destination and has adopted what GreekPropertyExchange.com is doing to strengthen their property sales.
“We hear success stories every day from agents around Greece, independent sellers from around the world and potential buyers looking for their dream property.” The most recent success came from an older Greek-Canadian woman who inherited property on a Greek island. After creating an account with GPE and uploading her property information, she made meaningful connections with an interested property-seeker from Russia. This is a small example with how GPE is quickly erasing borders and barriers and making it easier to connect globally.
What do you think of Greece’s Real Estate?
The state of the Greek economy is obviously not strong at the moment. The economy is severely hurting right now and the people of Greece are working hard to overcome this and stay afloat. With that said, there are also many opportunities that are starting to surface and will become more transparent in the next 12 – 36 months. Many Greek properties (residential, commercial and land) will be lost due to unmanageable debts, foreclosures and refinancing restrictions – making it more desirable to foreign investors looking for significant discounts in Greek real estate. Statistics show that properties will be discounted anywhere from 5-15%, making it a buyer’s market for the next 2 – 3 years. People looking to purchase in Greece are advised to do their research, stay informed and evaluate opportunities from many agents and developers before committing to investing. Many of the popular island destinations and key areas in mainland Greece are not feeling the effects yet and many analysts suggest that their property values will not dip as much as the rest of Greece.
What is your goal for GPE?
The goal of GPE is to continue developing our service platform for the Greek and Cypriot real estate market, become the leading website buyers and sellers turn to first when starting the process and to continue developing our brand awareness in key markets around the world.
Are you trying to find investors? How did you fund it?
GPE is 100% free for all users – professional and independent. It has been a self-funded project by Georgios for over 2 years. He has no immediate intentions of bringing on investors as he wants to remain committed and focused on executing the goals of GPE and to further develop the market channels. It is the financial goal to first create a service that the market needs and uses and then create a platform that helps cover the daily management, marketing and development costs.
Publicity and Advertising:
GPE is advertised in the top 20 Greek markets around the world. We team up with Greek-oriented media outlets to broadcast our message and inform Greek-nationals, Greek-Diaspora and friends of Greece about the incredible service we have developed. Canada, United States, Australia and Europe are highly targeted markets that GPE is currently working on developing. Later this year, GPE is planning a significant market development trip to Moscow to meet with leading property professionals and to further develop partnerships with players in the Russian market.
Georgios will be attending the Property 2011 trade show in Athens in March and will be hosting an event for Greek real estate agents, property developers, legal property professionals and GPE members. The event is intended to help strengthen the ties he has with the Greek agents and to create a think-tank forum on how they will further develop the service offerings to make the GreekPropertyExchange.com portal more robust for the growing and changing real estate needs.