Founded in 2003 by Jorge Benjumea and Jaime Lacasa, ELIX is a real estate agency that was born with the aim to kickstart a new sector trend through the purchasing and restoring of old buildings in the centre of Barcelona and Madrid to create charming living spaces.
Business has not always been plain-sailing for ELIX. The bursting of the housing bubble in 2007 led to a complete decimation of the real estate sector, with only a few of the larger, traditional companies surviving along with a few smaller promoters who, like ELIX, did not get dragged into debt.
Curiously, it was in 200, at the time of the first iPhone launch, that the seed was planted for the industry’s newest challenge and opportunity - the digital consumer - who's buying habits were and are bound to the use of new technologies.
To know how ELIX perceives and responds to this new customer, as well as to find out how the company values today’s commercial climate, we interviewed ELIX founder, Jaime Lacasa.
This interview is also available in Spanish.
ELIX, the digital real estate company
Interviewing Jaime Lacasa, founder and partner
1. Signaturit: 2007 was a year that heralded the start of a new digitized society, as well as the financial crisis that brought with it intense global socioeconomic change. Practically all businesses that survived this period are continuing to adapt to current changes, be they social, economic and now digital. Based on your knowledge and from experience, what do you think are the key factors allowing the real estate sector to make sense of these shifts and successfully adapt to them?
Jaime Lacasa: We’ve found the key to be a promoting a low-debt culture and constantly analyzing products in terms of their commercial viability and profitability.
J.L.: At ELIX, the digital client is without a doubt one of our potential customers and as a result we have made it our goal to be competitive in terms of the technology we use. Our business has been adapted in such a way that we’re able to communicate quickly and easily with clients, providing accessible online services, making it possible to get in touch with us from a wide range of digital channels and projecting an image of being both transparent and technologically advanced.
3. S.: With regards to the client, it’s clear that what distinguishes ELIX from similar businesses is its commitment to refurbishing charming properties, respecting the building’s original materials and creating welcoming living spaces with elegant furnishings. But behind closed doors, what is your company’s organizational secret that allows you to grow so profitably?
J.L.: We have a team of over 40 professionals who are all specialized in each area of the business and who work together with common goals.
4. S.: Your team is currently split into 10 departments and in total you have over 40 employees from a variety of backgrounds. In theory, you should be starting to harness the efficiency that characterizes smaller companies. How have you managed to coordinate your company’s departments to ensure they continue to operate at maximum levels of efficiency?
J.L.: By using a detailed action plan that encompasses all our work processes and having constant communication between departments thanks to the management software that we’ve created in-house.
5. S.: As is already the case in many other sectors, the real estate industry is undergoing a digital transformation, that is to say, incorporating digital tools and processes that help save time and money in the planning and executing of projects, as well as reducing risk during the decision-making process. What approach is ELIX taking regarding its digitization?
J.L.: We are continuously on the lookout for tools that allow us to improve our internal runnings, optimizing our delivery times and fulfilling our pledge of being environmentally friendly. For example, we digitize all of our documentation, use online tools and digital management software.
6. S.: Looking at the typical style of your listed apartments, we’d hazard a guess that they’re at the forefront of Spain’s interior design trends. Going back to the digitization of your work processes, the fact that ELIX are pioneers in the use of electronic signatures also give us a clue as to how you’ve managed to make your internal runnings increasingly efficient. What other types of digital resources do you use on a daily basis that make your work life easier?
Jaime Lacasa: We use several digital tools including ones for email marketing, social media, multi-platform storage in the cloud, tools for analytics, etc.
7. S.: Why did you consider it worthwhile to invest in Signaturit and how is it helping your business?
J.L.: By using Signaturit we fulfil our pledge to be environmentally friendly, reduce running times and costs associated with the manual signing of documents. It also allows us to manage all contracts from the same dashboard.
If you are interested in knowing more about how electronic signatures can contribute to the digitization of your real estate company’s contract management and make the signing process easier, you can download the following whitepaper for free. You can also take a free 14-day trial to test out Signaturit’s features without needing to register and see first-hand how electronic signatures can significantly benefit your business.
This interview is also available in Spanish.
- Millennial challenge: what real estate agents need to know about this generation of digital consumers.
- Technologies to transform the relationship between businesses and consumers.
- Benefits of the cloud: how the use of cloud services increases efficiency.