A company over a hundred years old, with about 40 employees, Burnier & Cie practices all real estate trades, namely administration, joint ownership management (syndicate), brokerage and development management. Its director, Guillaume Châtelain, answers our questions.
What support do you provide?
Our goal is always to be able to answer “yes” when asked. Our clients are almost exclusively private individuals, we work very little with institutions. I’m used to talking about “grandfather management”: Burnier offers personalized service, it’s real estate made to measure.
The real estate market in our area has taken off, compared to what can be seen in the Paris area. First, for immigration reasons: Greater Geneva is very attractive from an economic point of view. Many people move there every year and need housing. The extremely low vacancy rate is logically stressing the market.
Our role as a consultant, thanks to our deep knowledge of the market, is to help these individuals make the best choice in their real estate project.
What about ecology?
As a federal state, Switzerland is divided into cantons. Food recently released a large envelope to promote its energy improvement business, giving tangible expression to the political momentum delivered a few years ago. These energy improvements relate to both the building envelope (windows and insulation) and the interior, eg upgrading/replacing the heating system.
Government subsidies can be as high as 30%. Clear goals are set by the federation. As professionals, we need to take this seriously, and point people in this direction. This gives us an argument to push the owners to take advantage of this moment to carry out the work.
We find ourselves in a virtuous circle that must be preserved and encouraged.
How did the explosion in raw material prices affect your activity?
A year ago, commodity prices increased by almost 20%. What upset all the financial plans made until then! Many operations have been postponed or cancelled.
These cancellations are putting more pressure on the market. In the Lake Geneva region, there is a shortage of several thousand homes each year. With this increase in costs, the deficit increases.
We return to this state of shortage, which raises prices.
Doesn’t this tense situation make Bernier a more important role?
We train our staff with the aim of providing high quality advice to our clients. We know the market and our business to guide our clients in the right direction.
What values does Burnier hold?
First and foremost, ethics: this is part of our DNA, and its values are linked to the body of the company. This is especially important in real estate, which suffers from a sulfuric, even negative, picture.
My goal is to get as strongly as possible away from this image. It occurs to me every week to give generous tips to our clients that are however against the interests of our company. “Managing your assets as if they were our own” is one of our guiding principles: all of our employees respect this commitment without discrimination.
Our second core value is professionalism. This is embodied, for example, in the training of our employees or through our long experience.
Finally, I would like to mention rigor. There is nothing left to guess: we work meticulously and rigorously.