In the ever-growing real estate market, it becomes a hectic task to find a property that suits your reasonable needs, whether commercial or residential. The constant fluctuation in the market brings up the critical issues in capital market risk, affordable housing, mortgages, so on and so forth.
KMC Savills Inc. is a Philippines-based firm that offers best-in-class services to help you find the perfect place according to your needs with market-leading expertise. Michael McCullough, Co-founder and Managing Director, and Cha Carbonell, Chief Operating Officer, are paving a successful path based on the committed value of delivering unique, localized services and unrivaled market expertise through their professional and international team.
In our venture to find the 10 Fastest-Growing Real Estate Companies in 2021, we crossed our paths with KMC Savills Inc. and in the following interview, we get a detailed insight into their journey thus far.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how the company is currently positioned as a leading player in the Real Estate market.
KMC Savills, Inc is an award-winning real estate Proptech firm in the Philippines. Founded by Gregory Kittelson, Amanda Rufino Carpo and me in 2009, KMC is now widely recognized as the Best Property Consultant in the Philippines and a leader in the local real estate industry. With our software and database backgrounds, we are able to use large datasets to generate better than market outcomes for our clients.
What other services does your company offer, and how are these making an impact on the industry and your clients?
We have a leading industrial team handling all logistic, data center, and warehousing requirements in the Philippines. With our innovative and tech-based approach, we continue to deliver the best & most optimum results to our clients.
Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on what impact have the adoption of modern technologies had on the Real Estate niche and what more could be expected in the future?
McCullough: We have always been early adopters of technology; virtual viewings, map-based search, and predictive pricing will all be expectations buyers and investors should expect. Also, algorithm-based purchases at scale using big datasets will happen in the rest of the world as the data quality gets better.
Carbonell: The impact on early adopters of technology creates a unique way of doing business. We live in exponential times, and we need to be able to quickly adopt these technologies that create operational efficiencies and aid faster data-based decision-making that has little room for error. For Real Estate specifically, faster ways of information sharing, data gathering, and data presentation layered with valuable data sets lead to better analysis and faster decision making of individuals, investors, and occupiers. Time saved by creating these efficiencies could translate to millions of pesos of revenue and profit.
Taking into consideration the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face, and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
McCullough: We were forced into full work from the home mode in what has been known as the longest (and strictest) lockdown in the world here in the Philippines. This put cash flow strains on every single player within our industry as many businesses were 100% paper-based and paid us in checks. We spent this lockdown time having nearly 400 hours of individual training courses, which we found relevant for the different teams.
Carbonell: Remote work, online banking, video conferencing, adhering to IATF guidelines in operating our office, and cloud-based working played a vital role in sustaining operations while ensuring the safety of our employees. We also streamlined our Work-from-Home Policy and made a tie-up with internet providers to ensure that our employees can work efficiently anywhere, anytime.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Real Estate industry?
McCullough: Real estate has generally been a stable asset class, but the demand drivers are changing drastically. There needs to be way more innovation in both the products and services in the real estate industry.
Carbonell: Follow the demand, create a strong service team or products, and invest/ make use/ take advantage of technology.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?
McCullough: We have made it a clear strategy to become the number one Industrial Leasing team, and we are nearly there. We handle 80% of the top 3PLs in the country and generally have a strong track record with other large locators. This strategy is just starting to pay off for us now that the economy is coming alive again.
Carbonell: One of the things that we have done quickly is to establish an Industrial team and identify a person who can take it on with full accountability and passion in the form of Karen Golez, our Senior Director for T&A and Industrial Services supported by our Information Data Management Team. We now have a total of 10.6m square meters of industrial lots and 1.9m square meters of industrial warehouse listings and growing – in a span of five months since we decided to take on the industrial sector. We also have a stronger Asset Management Team that can service a wide range of Real Estate asset classes from office, estates, residential portfolio of companies, and other mixed-use projects.
About the Leaders
KMC’s Executive Team is composed of one of the most diverse and talented individuals. KMC Group of Companies Co-Founder and Managing Director Michael McCullough had singlehandedly built these firms with his partners, Greg Kittelson and Amanda Rufino Carpo, 12 years ago. His inclination for innovation and technological expertise has inspired and produced an aggressive and creative pool of real estate professionals in the country.
Employee number 1 and now Chief Operating Officer, Cha Carbonell is one of the many homegrown talents of KMC. Prior to her appointment, she has skillfully interfaced and closed transactions with various local and multinational clients.
As KMC’s Executive Director for Transactions and Advisory Services, she has built and grown a strong Transactions & Advisory team, eventually securing a significant market share over her last several years of leadership.
Her success in her role and helping KMC Savills be a trusted brand in Corporate Real Estate has been pivotal in growing the business and allowed for further expansion. This level of professionalism was recognized when she was hailed a CoreNet Global Young Leader of the Year in 2017, where she also earned her Master’s in Corporate Real Estate.
Melo Porciuncula has been with the company for over 8 years and is leading the whole Investor Services team of KMC that includes key departments such as Asset Management, Property Management, Residential Services, Hotels & Leisure, Research, and Consultancy and Valuations. His expertise in sales and marketing allowed for effective assessment of opportunities and sale of high-net-worth properties.
This made Melo and his managed teams nationwide the top producer of revenue for the company. Under his decisive leadership as Executive Director, KMC is able to achieve long-term business viability and push for more groundbreaking innovation, making the firm one of the Philippines’ top real estate thought leaders.
Joining Carbonell as one of the few professionals with a Masters in Corporate Real Estate from CoreNet Global, Gerold Fernando has been instrumental in the success of KMC’s Transactions and Advisory Team specializing in corporate offshoring services. Now on a hybrid role, he has branched out and is now leading key Landlord Representation and Investments deals for the firm.
Finally, John Corpus has an impressive career of 14 years in real estate and has been an active member of the Business Process Outsourcing Association. John is well-versed in Real Estate Finance and Investment, Computer Application, and Information Science. With several international transactions to boot, he is now the head of KMC’s Transactions and Advisory’s Worldwide Occupier Services team.