Vera Kretschmar: My Journey To Becoming A Real Estate Entrepreneur

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Vera Kretschmar

"There's never a good time to give up your day job and start living off nothing," says entrepreneur Vera Kretschmar, who happily admits she's had an unconventional career path. "But at some point every entrepreneur takes that step."

"When I was young, I did everything," she says. "I tended bar, I worked as a hostess at Formula One, I worked as a recruiter, I was a stockbroker ... I did so many things and it took me a long time to figure out what it is that I actually liked. I've had a PR company and worked for a jewelry brand ... What else? Plenty. I think it gave me a good idea of how different businesses work."

She also spent time in real estate.

"My mother was an architect and engineer, so I grew up on construction sites, and my grandfather had a real estate business in Shanghai, China. So I have always been around it.

"After university I worked for a real estate brokerage in Los Angeles, leasing our commercial space in a very male world, and then I joined CBRE Shanghai, working in the retail field placing fashion brands into space in greater China. I did some big deals in Shanghai including leasing at the domestic airport and D&K concepts on The Bund."

Vera started investing directly in real estate in 2015.

"I'm a Singapore resident but I got stuck in Bali during Covid, and I saw some really good opportunities," she says. "I started buying out leases and renovating properties and then just renting them out on a daily basis. Then I added some commercial spaces to my portfolio, which led on to my own property firm, Anaya Property Investments. Our vision is to establish a wide range of profitable real investments."

She sees opportunities everywhere. "There was a time when I would scout properties without any intention to buy, just so I could understand what works and what has value," she says. "It gave me a good grounding in what appeals to the market, and how to adapt locations and interiors that sell," she says.

Ultimately, real estate investment begins with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur, she says.

"I've always liked a side hustle, and real estate became that for me. I grew up with it, worked in it, and eventually I realized that's where I should be. The only question was committing to it, and leaving conventional thinking behind."

Conventional thinking can be the end of a new business before it has even begun, says Vera. "I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is to wait for the right time. Or they wait until they think it's a good time to start.

"But the fact is there's never a right time, or right situation, or a perfect alignment ... the only certainty is that there are going to be problems. The key is to recognise that. I think I'm now in a position where I'm comfortable knowing there's going to be a lot of problems, but I also know there's going to be a way to figure it out."

The thinking around funding is another barrier that can prevent someone deciding to become a real estate entrepreneur. "In the beginning I was a little cautious of starting my own business," she says, "because I didn't think I had the funds. Then I realized you don't need that much. You start the business and as you make money you pay your bills."

Confidence is key, she says, and no-one should be put off by the fact they are new to any business sector. "At one point I realized that you don't actually need to know exactly what to do or how a certain industry works specifically. Nobody has all the answers from the beginning. You get experience of how to run a company and how to start a business and later you multiply that."

Today Vera is also developing villas and restaurants in Bali, has founded a beauty clinic called Anaya Aesthetics, and is an investor in Vie - Live Life Better, which helps users set consistent habits, interprets daily moods, and encourages a better mental, emotional and physical wellbeing throughout the day. Vie delivers awareness and strategies to make your day better, says Vera.

"From waking to falling asleep, Vie acts to help you better organise your world as you feel it prompts you to take actions and make time for yourself. Especially at those times when we all forget to take care of ourselves."

Along the way she has leveraged her contacts in corporate and works as a Managing Director for Ivory Capital Asia, a boutique advisory firm handling real estate investments. "I handle investments and strategic collaborations for Ivory, and create introductions for large-scale mergers and acquisitions." With so much going on, the future looks bright for Vera Kretschmar.

This article was first published on December 14, 2023