The woman that enters the luxury meeting room surprises me. I have seen her on photos yet I am caught off guard by her genuine warmth and femininity. Still, Silvia Veselinova is unapologetically successful in a male-dominated business, property development.
A graduate in marketing and finance, she began investing in property in 1998. What started as a small-scale venture took off, and in 2004 Silvia Veselinova established Idea Buildings, a company for property investment and development. The first project was a 1,500 sq.m residential building. Today, Idea Buildings has 27 finished buildings with total built area of 105,000 sq.m. The company specialises in residential property in Sofia and has become a byword for quality.
How did she achieved that? Silvia Veselinova believes that clients have the right of informed choice and that a good team is crucial for a work well-done.
How do you succeed in a male-dominated business?
In the end of the day, it is all a matter of character. Sometimes a woman can show a truly tough character to achieve what she wants.
What did you learn in the 15 years since you established Idea Buildings?
The main thing is universal for all fields of human and business activity. When you work hard and stay focused, no matter the difficulties you will experience on your way, it all will eventually pay out somehow in the future. When you put your heart and soul into what you do, you will surely reap the benefits.
What did you achieve in this period?
I found for myself the answers to some life questions. I managed to improve at least a little the quality of life of my loved ones and of the people in my team and my inner circle. For me it might be small, but I value it. I also managed to bring some more aesthetically pleasing architecture in Sofia. I hope that while doing that I made my clients happy.
How do you see yourself and Idea Buildings after 15 years?
I haven't thought in great detail about that. I would like my clients, both present ones and ones living in older projects of Idea Buildings, to preserve their good opinion about my work and the company. I hope that I will create some outstanding projects that will make me proud. For now, we focus on residential buildings. They are beautiful, but I think that we can do even better. I would like to create something that will really leave a mark.
Why do your clients prefer your projects?
Our buildings' beauty and classical architecture have timeless appeal. They will hardly go out of fashion. People also like the size of our buildings. They are not too big and their inhabitants develop a connection with their neighbours that make them feel as living in a true community, in one big family. They have a stronger feel of home and belonging.
What do you always do when you start developing a project?
My experience has taught me to always check everything. I rigorously check the ownership of the land I am about to purchase and the infrastructure. Looking for all the potential obstacles that could endanger the project has become second nature to me. Of course, I also pay attention to many other factors, both when I am buying the plot and when I am going to make a contract with the owner. Location is one, but my feel of the place is also very important. It has always been the leading one for me. If I answer positively to the question: 'Would I live here?,' I buy the plot. I always follow my intuition.
How do you guarantee the quality of construction of your projects?
I really dislike changing my contractors. I strongly prefer to work with people whom I know from previous projects and with whom we share a mutual trust. This feel of security only goes stronger with time.
The materials that we use are also tried and tested throughout the years. When you have used something before and you are aware of its strong and weak points, there would be few surprises during the construction process. Some new materials are advertised a lot and often look impressive, but until they haven't been tested with time and practice, I would rather stick to safer options.
I also work exclusively with people I trust. Sadly, as in many other fields in Bulgaria today, we suffer from a shortage of experienced workers and technical supervisory staff.
Why investment in real estate is a wise decision?
There are at least 10 ways to make good profit from property. The most popular one is buy to let, as it provides a good passive income. Another option is to buy prospective property and to sell it later for a higher price. Our clients do this a lot. They negotiate with us a good price off plan and when the building is finished, they sell it for a good profit. I know, it is speculation, but it is a fact and many people do it. Another way is to buy a property in a bad condition and to resell it after an overhaul.
Property is an instrument that allows you to preserve the value of your money and to profit. When the deal is well-thought over, there is no better option for investment at the moment.
What are the advantages of new construction?
The shared spaces are new and well-maintained, including elements such as lifts and stairs. Moreover, there is a heated competition among us, property developers, to offer to our clients the more luxurious and well-looking shared spaces possible. This cannot happen in older buildings. Another thing is that when buying a new apartment you can choose something that fits best your own needs and desires. The spaces around new projects also look different.
What are you currently working on?
Experience has taught me that when I speak about a project in its early stages of development something always goes wrong. So, for now, the only thing I would like to say is: check our website, www.idea-bg.net, regularly.