“You have to fall in love with what you do.” Diana Magariu, award winning “Woman at Work Leadership”, “Middle East’s Woman Leaders”, and CEO of Key One Realty Group would always say. Her passion for real estate has since created a platform where new and seasoned investors receive the best services catered to their specific needs.
While most consider Sales Volume as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for growth, for Key One Realty Group, revenue is only a by-product of a much more important focus – quality customer service and experience.
Key One Realty Group is a premier real estate solutions provider in Dubai with a reputation for excellence. Understanding that customer experience has more value than the property itself, is the company’s primary focus. This is evident in Key One Realty Group’s core values first embodied by Diana who says, “Our clients are not just paying for the property, but also for the experience. Other companies may offer the same services, but the experience makes all the difference.”
Established in 2006 by Diana herself, the company started with only three brokers focusing on the sales and leasing of residential and commercial properties. The name ‘Key One’ was derived from the key to unlocking doors of opportunities for the company, its people, and clients with the vision to be recognized as number one in the Dubai real estate industry.
Today, nearing its 15th year anniversary, the company has expanded to over 60 people working on a variety of projects, servicing several clients in four divisions – Real Estate Brokerage, Property Management, Holiday Homes Rental, and Interior Design. Making sure that the six pillars of growth, vital to their continued success and growth, are embraced by old and new team members.
Development like this was most certainly not overlooked by the masses. In the recent Africa & Arabia Property Awards 2020 – 2021, Key One Realty Group received the title of “Best Real Estate Agency and Marketing” in Dubai. In the years before that, they were bestowed the award of “Middles East Most Promising Brand Award” in 2019 and “Award for Brand Excellence in Real Estate Sector” in 2020.
Of course, success did not come without difficulties for the company. With the unexpected downturn in 2009 that left many to choose to leave Dubai and several companies to close, and the threat the current pandemic poses to the real estate industry, Diana continues to persevere and keep the company to serve as a support for their investors, offering solutions to problems that arise during these difficult times. Thus, developing and understanding the importance of building relationships with clients through excellent customer service and experience.
Indeed, Key One Realty has achieved massive growth in the past 15 years in the Dubai real estate industry. Managing residential properties worth 3 billion USD in asset value, servicing over 1000 clients monthly both locally and abroad and having a portfolio of over 1500 units of managed properties and exclusively managed buildings. From the date of establishment, the company has had over 50,000 sales transactions for off-plan and secondary markets.
In addition, the interior design division which was launched only two years ago has successfully completed two huge interior and landscape design projects, with 10 other ongoing projects located in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, UAE, and Slovenia. Even with the onset of the pandemic, Key One Realty Group surpassed their sales target by 5%, proving that the team transcends what many refer to as a crisis.
Undoubtedly, the success of the company would not be made possible without the people behind the scenes. Diana Magariu believes that people are the greatest asset of Key One Realty Group and must be considered with the same importance as their clients.
With the aim to develop a familial relationship with her team, Diana says, “Our people spend more of their time in the office than at their own homes. Their experience in the company should be fulfilling and purposeful.”
She adds, “We hire with a long-term vision to build relationships. Many of our former employees are actually still connected with us; we watch their kids grow and even participate in some of their family gatherings.”
Diana also believes that having a clear vision as a leader who people can resonate with and follow is key to finding the right fit. “If they see your vision and accept it for themselves, they will have the willingness to work towards that goal because they believe in it, too.”
In fact, she has high regard for beginners who are willing to learn and make a difference in the real estate industry. She says, “I am not hiring to take advantage of their skills. Instead, I would like Key One Realty Group to grow with them.”
But what inspired Diana Magariu to become a pioneer in the Real Estate Sector?
The idea began forming out of her passion for real estate ever since she was young. Growing up in Italy, she was always fascinated with the architecture and interior design in the country, which sparked her interest in the real estate industry. Visiting different properties, Diana applauded the beauty and mastery of their craftsmanship, often imagining families and different individuals living in such beautifully designed homes.
Eventually, Diana moved to Dubai in the early 2000s and saw huge potential in the Dubai market. The industry was beginning to take shape in the country and more opportunities presented themselves with futuristic projects in the pipeline such as Dubai Marina, the Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Khalifa.
Diana was also deeply inspired by the clear vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to continuously develop the city for the future generations; Diana saw her own vision reflected in his. She grew to love Dubai and to her, it is the city of the future. With advanced technology and infrastructures that were seemingly pulled out from science fiction; there were just limitless possibilities!
All these became a catalyst to her decision to start contributing to the city by providing a platform that first gave a glimpse of how it feels to live in Dubai and eventually inviting them to stay and settle in what she believes as the future capital city of the world.
So where is Key One Realty Group heading from here?
According to Arabian Business (January 2021), Dubai property is set to decline by up to 8% in 2021 on oversupply. Due to faltering demand, prices of residential properties have continuously been driven down by more than 30%, which has been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. However, Key One Realty Group believes that the situation will not stop the real estate industry from adapting and thriving during these difficult times. The industry is still alive, discovering ways to flourish and offering new solutions integrating real estate to modern technology; thus, giving birth to Property Tech, or PropTech.
There are three solutions that Key One Realty Group have started exploring.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
With the increase of managed properties and clients, the team aims to ensure that everyone still experiences the same quality of attention and customer experience. Key One Realty Group is on the works to developing a mobile application that adapts and provides a platform for easy access to data for its clients. Among the benefits of this platform is the ability for landlords to be able to receive up-to-date statuses of their managed properties.
Exploring Digital Currencies in purchasing properties.
The world is headed to a paperless society. With the rise of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, it can be foreseen that cash could become an obsolete means to purchase real estate properties in the future. In fact, buy in Bitcoin and cash out is trending in the UAE real estate market according to Gulf News (January 2021).
Few can understand how digital currencies will work soon, but Key One Realty Group is ahead on their research in developing systems that can utilize these currencies in the sale and leasing of properties to enhance customer experience and transaction convenience.
Connecting people to properties in foreign markets.
The pandemic has quarantined the world, not only to their homes, but also into the digital space. The distance between two people is no longer important with advance online communication tools and cloud technology, people can transact at long distances.
Diana Magariu sees more possibilities in the market now more than ever before; the borders have expanded from local to international. Having established an excellent portfolio in bridging both local and foreign markets to the Dubai real estate properties, she now sees the possibility of utilizing technology to expand their array of properties – this time, connecting any market to properties located outside the UAE by the digital highway.
With emphasis on further enhancing customer experience, projects in the pipeline continue to position Key One Realty Group to building long term relationships and partnership with their clients in both the physical world and the digital space, offering a one-stop shop solution for their real estate needs – from consultation to post purchase. Diana takes pride in the fact that for nearly 15 long years, customers have returned and re-established relationship with Key One Realty Group.
For Diana, being aware that that the real estate industry is not an easy industry to work into is first and foremost. In fact, real estate ranked as the 5th most stressful industry in the UAE according to Gulf News in 2016. One must easily be able to adapt to the changes as well as be quick to learning new trends in the industry. Nonetheless, she points out that having a strong passion and a clear long-term vision will help overcome the difficulties that come with the real estate industry – or in any industry for that matter.
Finally, as Key One Realty Group nears their 15th anniversary in the UAE market, Diana aims to expand the company’s territory from the UAE to other parts of the world. With the current advancement of technology matched with her strong passion and long-term vision for the company, as well as her team’s high regard for providing excellent customer service and experience, the possibilities are endless. Key One Realty Group is indeed one of the companies to watch out for in 2021 and the coming years.