Of course, this will make a solid partnership with a local player even more essential, but De Bruine is convinced that Bouwinvest and vb&t have already forged a solid basis for future growth. “vb&t is my ears and my eyes in the market. They know this region like the back of their hands, and they have their ear to the ground for interesting opportunities.”
But what makes this partnership work in the long run is reciprocal trust, says Eric Prevoo, director of vb&t Vastgoedmanagement. “Like us, Bouwinvest has a long-term vision for this market. We trust each other, because we’re both very open and transparent about our goals and how we work. Very importantly, we’re both open to constructive criticism, as we’re always looking to improve.”
Bouwinvest’s tenant satisfaction scores are already above the industry benchmark, but neither company is content to stop there. “We want our homes and service levels to constantly exceed our tenants’ expectations. That’s a tall order for any property manager,” De Bruine says. Bouwinvest is demanding, Prevoo adds, but they are also open to new ideas. “It’s great to work with a partner who takes your ideas seriously and helps make them happen. For instance, we’re talking to tenants about fitting solar panels, and we’re working together to build trust and increase buy-in for the scheme.”
Increasing the sustainability of its homes is a major priority for Bouwinvest and new developments will take this to the next level. “Blok 61 in Eindhoven – a development of 96 loft apartments – will be state of the art on so many fronts, including sustainability. They will come fitted with solar panels and fibre optic network,” says De Bruine. “Our job then is to match that with equally high-quality services. We need to constantly respond to, or even anticipate, new tenant requirements and wishes. There’s no standing still in this market. Challenging each other to be better and keeping each other focused helps to keep us ahead of the game, ” Prevoo concludes.