Our experience with Engel & Völkers: “A relationship built on trust and respect”

Back to the roots: When our client Jens Hinrichsen and his family returned to Germany after eight years in sunny California, the native Schleswig-Holsteiner and his wife decided to introduce their kids, who had grown up in the US, to North German culture. A holiday home on the island of Föhr seemed to present the perfect opportunity for this. But without sufficient knowledge of the market, searching for a suitable property soon became an extraordinary challenge: none of the homes they viewed were to their liking. It almost seemed that their search would be unsuccessful. Until the day that the Hinrichsen family met our real estate agent Thomas Müller during their last house viewing. 

Jointly, the family and the real estate agent searched for a suitable property on the island and finally found one. Read our experience report to learn more about the family’s home buying adventure, the challenges they faced and why the Hinrichsen family still visits the shop of Engel & Völkers Föhr on a regular basis: 

Hamburg - How satisfied are Engel & Völkers customers? In our experience report, our clients report on their home purchase experience with us.

Mr Hinrichsen, please tell us how you found out about Engel & Völkers.

J.H.: Without much preparation, I picked out five homes from the internet that were for sale on the island of Föhr and arranged viewings with the respective real estate agents. At this stage, the real estate agents themselves were not part of my consideration. I knew the island only from when I was a child and had never looked at it from the perspective of a home buyer. In retrospect, we were unprepared and somewhat naive just going to the island and hoping to find a suitable home. We quickly realised that the houses we had picked out did not meet our requirements.

Nevertheless, our last home viewing marked a turning point in our property search. This house was being marketed by Engel & Völkers. As soon as we got out of the car, the real estate agent, Thomas Müller, said with a smile on his face that, although delighted in the interest we had shown, he would be very much surprised if this house would really be what we were looking for. 

This was startling and a little disappointing because I had not expected a real estate agent to say something like this. But it quickly became evident that he was right. The property and location were great, but it was simply too small for five people. We then had a nice chat in the kitchen about what motivated us to come to Föhr, what we expected from a weekend and holiday home, what our children wanted and what our friends and family had to say about it.

Thomas Müller listened attentively and asked follow-up questions. As a result of our open and trusting conversation, it quickly became clear that we were probably seeking a different type of property to the ones we had found advertised on the internet up to now. Mr Müller invited us to a tour of the island and introduced us to a couple of properties he thought more suitable. 

When we saw the house in Midlum during the tour, we immediately knew that this was the right one for us. We sat together with Thomas Müller for many hours to discuss our impressions and then took the ferry back home. After all, we wanted to let everything sink in before making a decision. But at the same time, our interest in Thomas Müller and Engel & Völkers had been sparked.

Mr Müller, what was the main challenge during this property search from a real estate agent’s point of view?

T.M.: The main challenge was that the property the Hinrichsen family was interested in was furnished to an exceptionally high standard, but the price the seller was asking for was simply too high for this quiet location.

How did you overcome this challenge?

T.M.: Through regular reporting, we were able to convince the seller to adjust the asking price to the market situation. The sales offer was revised continuously, new photos were taken, texts were changed. As part of our service we kept the property well maintained. A caretaker service looked after the outdoor facilities and our own concierge service saw to it that the house was heated, aired and cleaned regularly during the marketing phase. 

Mr Hinrichsen, how did the purchase proceed from your point of view?

J.H.: We called Mr Müller regularly to clarify open questions and to compare the property with other properties on the market. We were given all the information we requested, promptly and duly prepared. Regardless of whether we wanted technical information about the house, legal statements about the residential street, information about Midlum or the infrastructure, everything was handled professionally and with charm. 

In the end, Mr Müller contacted the seller and arranged for me and my wife to ‘test’ the property and stay in the house for a weekend. This would allow us to familiarise ourselves with the house, the property, the neighbourhood and the village of Midlum. The service we received was perfect; we never had the feeling of being put under pressure. 

In the end, we decided to make an offer. In this phase of the house purchase, too, we had the feeling that our interests were being handled with much trust and respect. Even after the sale had gone through, Engel & Völkers stayed in contact. Thomas Müller and his team assisted us with everything. They even prepared and handled the registration for electricity, gas, water, etc.

How do you feel now that your mutual cooperation with regards to the house purchase is coming to an end? 

J.H.: Well, maybe this has something to do in particular with buying a holiday home on a small North Frisian island or with the service concept of Engel & Völkers and Thomas Müller and his team, but the cooperation does not end with the house purchase. The bond of trust remains, and thus so does our cooperation. There is always something to discuss or do. The house still needs to be managed and the island is small. There is hardly a weekend on Föhr when I don’t visit the office of Engel & Völkers, even if just for a cup of coffee.

T.M.: The Hinrichsen family continues to use our concierge service and drops by the shop regularly for a chat. I am pleased that we were able to find an oasis of tranquillity for the family far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city that they are used to. 

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