Katariina Heinua, how did you end up working at Lakea?
I have been a sales negotiator at Lakea in the Vaasa area for a little over a year now. I’m a certified real estate agent. Before I came to Lakea, I’d been working as a real estate agent for over 10 years in Finland, and in my previous job, I also had the opportunity to get to know the real estate business in Spain. I applied for Lakea because I’ve always been especially interested in selling new apartments. I now have my dream job.
How is selling new apartments different from selling older properties?
There are several differences. When selling new homes, the apartments usually exist only on paper. The client and I have to get a feel of the apartment by just looking at illustrations or visiting the building site. Client relationship is also longer when selling new apartments. When the deal is done, it can take months before the client gets the keys and that touching moment, when they walk through the door of their new home for the first time. It’s an emotional moment and definitely one of the best things about this profession.
As a sales negotiator, I’m in contact with the client all through the process of buying an apartment, and that includes for instance choosing interior decoration materials. It’s one of my favourite parts as I’m also interested in decorating myself. I get excited about decorating alongside the client.
Are things busy at work?
Reasonably busy. At the moment, I’m selling this one big property in Vaasa, Lakeankulma. It has a total of 146 apartments. In addition, I’m selling the apartments of one Omaksi building. Our job is demanding, and our timetables adapt to clients’ timetables. We can’t always arrange meetings during office hours so I work during evenings, too. The showings are often held on weekends and thus, I also work on weekends.
How have the real estate business and housing markets changed during your career?
People have much more knowledge about the real estate business than they used to. Sometimes they are misinformed as there’s also incorrect information on the internet. People are hastier in what they do, more impatient. If real estate agent’s site loads up too slow or they don’t get an answer for an e-mail, they change the agent. Good service has become much more important in the business. I always try to provide the best possible service.
You are a sales negotiator in the Vaasa area. Do you provide service in Swedish as well?
Vaasa is a bilingual city and we do business in both Finnish and Swedish. There are also more English-speaking people in Vaasa than before. There’s a lot of technology industry in the city and people buying apartments are more international.
What do you do to counterbalance work?
I spend time with my lovely family. I live in Vaasa with my husband and two children, 6 and 9 years, in a new house that I have designed. I like to follow living trends also on my spare time.
Exercising is an important part of my week. When I’m out exercising I don’t think about work at all.