From opera to real estate: an Interview with Giuseppe Di Iorio

Born in Naples, studied in London, worked in Paris, Tokyo and Milan - to say that Giuseppe Di Iorio has travelled a lot in his life would be a gross understatement. The latest career stop for the Italian-born artist: the beautiful city of Lisbon in Portugal. Although Mr Di Iorio originally worked in the world's opera houses, he is now very successfully marketing real estate for Engel & Völkers Lisbon here. In this interview, the real estate agent reveals what prompted him to make this career change, how he experienced his beginnings in the industry and how he used the Corona crisis as an opportunity to grow beyond himself: 

Hamburg - From opera to real estate agency: an interview with Giuseppe Di Iorio

E&V: Hello Mr. Di Iorio, please tell us what you did before working in the real estate business. 

G.I.: After completing my high school studies I moved to London in search of independence and to explore my creative talent. I joined the Guildhall School of music and drama and started a career as a professional lighting designer that has taken me to realise projects for interiors as well as live performances of various kinds. Over the years, I specialised in opera and site specific with my work being seen in theatre like La Scala in Milan, Royal opera house in London, Chatelet in Paris, Buikakaican in Tokyo, Lyric Opera in Chicago and special projects for the culture Olympic in the UK amongst others. 

 E&V: Sounds like a decent career, so why did you decide to join E&V? 

G.I.: Let’s go back to 2006 for a moment; I joined an interesting project with the São Carlo opera house in Lisbon to produce a unique mise en scene of the Wagner’s Ring Cycle. This experience was a catalyst for me to move over to Portugal and make Lisbon my home since 2010.

After 10 years in this vibrant city here comes March 2020 and my artistic life is wiped off overnight by the arrival of the COVID pandemic. I found myself with no work and no immediate perspective of resuming soon. At this point as I was wondering what could be my next move in life an advert of recruitment for real estate consultants with Engel and Völkers took my attention. I already had some dealing with the brand that seemed to conjugate my passion for design and interiors and my interest in real estate. I joined the training on the internet while we were all asked to keep indoors, I was really excited to take part in life again through this amazing opportunity.

E&V: How did you experience the Corona period in Portugal from a broker's perspective?

G.I.: Here in Portugal thanks to an early lock down and a high civic attitude of its population we were able to reopen the Market Center and start farming on the streets in June. By July with my first 2 properties in the portfolio I was able to define my geographic area of town, the municipality of Beato, and started receiving Clients leads to start accompanying them in accomplishing their life changing experience of finding their first or new home. Until now I have felt this to be a very rewarding experience given my social and language skills.

E&V: Did the pandemic have a lasting impact on the way you work? 

G.I.: Clearly the pandemic has changed the way brokering works. With many activities happening remotely online, we have already experienced investors buying after virtual visits or after consulting our amazing Matterport 3D simulator. Furthermore, showing our properties on social media is providing new clients and increasing the awareness of our brand and its unique way of working worldwide. I like the idea that we also deal with yachting and private aviation so that the concept of real estate assumes new modern meanings. 

E&V: Has the pandemic shifted the nature of contact requests, e.g. to social media?

G.I.: At the moment I have started a page on Instagram to further explore the possibilities offered by the social media and I already have clients visiting properties after contacting me via the platform. 

E&V: You work in beautiful Lisbon. Which neighbourhoods should potential property buyers definitely take a closer look at? 

G.I.: Lisbon is an amazing city with a great variety of real estate investment for all budgets and types. The Area I’m specialising in is one of the most vibrant close to the river and still in development. It was urbanised at the end of the 18th century as a result of the industrial revolution. It has a high density of warehouses being converted into offices for startups, art galleries like the famous Underdogs gallery, street artists like Vhils and Bordalo II amongst its residents and a quick access to the new river walkway and gardens.

We also find many historic properties, museums, churches and palaces like the Palacete de Xabregas that we are brokering currently. It also has vast green areas and parks giving the feeling of being out of town without actually leaving the city. On the basis of all these characteristics I would say this area is really worth looking at for any motivated investor.

E&V: How do you think the market in Lisbon will develop in the future?

G.I.: Given the pandemic, the wish for cities with human proportions and the search for better quality of life I think Lisbon’s property market will continue to grow strong and provide investors with what they are looking for. I would welcome any questions clients might have about properties and life in this city. 

E&V: Thank you for the interview.

Are you interested in the attractive opportunities offered by Lisbon as a real estate location? Then you are welcome to contact Guiseppe Di Iori and his team at Engel & Völkers Lisbon - either online or directly on site in the shop. 

Are you interested in a career change in the real estate industry? Then visit our career portal. We look forward to your contact request!

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