From New York to Prague
Text: Martina Hošková and M.Zisso; Photo: Archive
Originally from Prague 8, upon the completion of her studies Pavlína Prokešová decided to try her luck and explore new adventures in New York City. Twenty years later, and with a ton of experience and success in the Real Estate field of NYC under her belt, she returned home to Prague. During the two COVID-19 years, she was able to establish RealLocate, a successful Real Estate and Relocation firm here in Prague centre. Let’s see what she has learnt about her business in the two different capitals.
They say, if you make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. What brings you back from the Big Apple?
Well, for me it is very simple – coming home. After 20 years of running a successful Real Estate Brokerage and raising a family in Manhattan, it was time to find the right balance between work and family life.
Were you planning to open a Real Estate Company in Prague?
Funnily enough, my plan was to put real estate to sleep and find new career opportunities. As it turns out, real estate is my destiny. My real estate career started with a stroke of luck – a housing need and assistance request by a few international students at the Charles University Medical Faculty. As a mother and someone who relocated to a foreign country at a young age, I can understand the worries of the student’s parents for one, and the struggles and obstacles that lay ahead of such a move. Even though Prague is a cosmopolitan city, many real estate professionals still do not communicate in a foreign language, nor do they provide extra customer service, which is common abroad.
I realized that expat communities in Prague are missing a comprehensive service provider for their real estate needs, one with adequate customer service, a continuous relationship, and follow-up.
Which services do you offer to your clients? Do you work only with expats?
Over the past two years, I was able to build the boutique firm RealLocate with a professional team of brokers. We are a team of seven, speaking English, French, German, Hebrew, and Czech. We cover all aspects of real estate services relocation, rentals, sales, property management, student housing, and investments. Our portfolio includes many properties in the city centre, so we do work with many expats. We also offer buyer’s agent service, which has become more popular in the past year. But to answer your question – our doors are open to all customers; we provide services to all.
How is the Prague real estate market, compared to the one in New York?
Well, many people have asked me the exact same question. In its principle, it is the same. I find Prague to be a city with more opportunities (than New York), and a place where you can grow and bring forth innovation. The main place for improvement is definitely the customer service area. One of the biggest advantages, at least for me, is forming connections with property owners and developers; I am a strong believer that with positivity and hard work, the sky is the limit. It has always worked for me.
What is your strategy for the current market conditions?
Over the years, I have experienced the real estate market’s ups and downs. It is just a matter of time before the market corrects itself and goes back to normal. From the point of view of an agent, it is important not to put all of your eggs in one basket – specifically now when sales are downshift to rentals. I strongly believe in being a hybrid agent, meaning doing everything (rather than just one specific thing) in order to survive the storm when it hits. My recommendation to my clients is to hold on to their property if they can, and to not panic. To my investors – the current market condition is a great environment for new investments, especially with rental prices rising.
Since you are entering a market with already- established big players, what is your niche?
My main niche, I would say again, is the level of customer service. Understanding that our job does not end with the collection of the commission, but just begins. You can check our Google reviews. The fact that my company is a boutique and that overheads are low allows me to have very competitive pricing of our services in comparison to our competition. For me, it is about quality, not quantity.
What should we expect from RealLocate in 2023?
Our main focus is to secure and leave our mark on the Real Estate market. We were able to secure over 54,000m2 of residential leasing over the past two years. Our focus is BTR (“build to rent”) projects – projects with large amounts of units particularly for leasing only. We have a proven track record of effectively managing such projects. I believe that 2023 is a year of BTR, and we are ahead of the game. It is all about volume, and the technological optimization of the process.
Do you believe in giving back to the community?
Yes, I do! Life is all about balance. Every year we organize an event for new international students at Charles University. It’s comforting to already know someone on the first day of school. We are planning a few charity events this year to support a variety of organizations. The main purpose is to bring different business worlds together, and to do some good while networking. The next event will be supporting Agora7, an organization that takes care of and services senior citizens in need. This event will be held in March, and will also include art pieces of new and established artists in the form of an auction.
I heard whispers about “woman empowerment” – what does that mean to you?
As the daughter of a mother who has run a successful business for over 30 years, and the mother of two daughters, I want to lead by example. Women can do it all and enjoy the process while building their career and care for their families. I would also like to encourage women on maternity leave and stay-at-home moms who are looking to continue and grow their careers. Real estate is a platform that offers flexibility and financial Independence. I am always free for a coffee to discuss their options.