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An Interview with Ekaterina Topaloglu, Business Development Manager for W Estates, Turkey!

Her Expat Life spoke with Ekaterina Topaloglu, the Business Development Manager for W Estates, a leading real estate brokerage company to gain more insight into the real estate market for expat buyers in Turkey.

1: Congratulations on becoming the business development manager of W Estates! What has been the most impactful work you have done over your career?

Thank you so much! I am super grateful that my career has been fruitful throughout the years, but I can say that the most impactful work I have taken a part of is when I was able to land a job as an assistant manager of the logistic department in one of the oldest construction companies in Dubai. It was quite a challenge since it was a “man job”, where I had to supervise 15,000 construction workers, but that was what made it so impactful. It was not a desk job at all, I was mostly on site, and I was the only woman who was allowed to supervise the project sites.

2: Tell us about W Estates; what advice do you have for prospective expats looking to buy a property? What is the Real Estate market like in Turkey? What do you need to secure property, especially if you are an expat?

I can proudly say that W E states is a leading real estate brokerage company based in Istanbul, with dedicated and highly qualified sales professionals who are committed to providing a service above and beyond expectations of our clients. We aim to make the real estate market in Turkey a win-win for the client with our multifarious services. We want to be honest and leave a good mark in the market, hence honesty is our number one priority, and to be completely honest here, one big advice we give to expats looking to buy a property, is to search for proper and educated real estate professionals that will turn your desire into reality based on your preferences, budgets, and future plans, not just anyone who wants to sell you a house then forget about you 3 days later. To secure your ideal and problem-free property, make sure to have professional real estate agents and lawyers by your side and through all the processes!

3: You've lived in Egypt, Dubai and now Turkey, what have been your highlights and challenges of living in these countries as an expat?

All three of them have a special place in my heart, as I grew and learned a lot in all of them quite uniquely and differently. Safe to say that it has been a rollercoaster!

One of the highlights were being able to adventure and learn about the different cultures, meet new people and expand my connections, and also try amazing foods and dishes, of course! I was definitely challenged here and there, like when I had to face the huge weather differences, and also language barrier was a big hassle for me. Not everyone speaks English in Turkey and Egypt.

4: What advice do you have for aspiring women looking for a career abroad? Do you have any tips for getting hired abroad?

One thing woman nowadays need to know and keep in mind is: SHOW UP! That’s it. There’s something magical about showing up confidently to any event you come across that you think is helpful. That alone can broaden your vision and bolster your networks. Nevertheless, it would put you out there and give you a vision of what careers can look like through the connections you build. Who knows? You might bump into the CEO of your dream company! Or their assistant. Or their friend. This also makes you more articulate and easygoing when meeting new people, hence once you land an interview abroad, you are already ready for it because of all the people you met from different cultures and backgrounds.

5: Do you know much about the Turkish Visa requirements? Do you have to obtain citizenship for Real Estate?

On the contrary. Everyone with a foreign passport is most welcome. In fact, over 115 countries can enter Turkey visa free. You can actually obtain the Turkish Citizenship from investing in Turkish real estate. That happens when you put your money into a minimum of 400k US dollars investment in Turkey.

6: Where do you see the Turkish Real Estate Market going in the future? Is it stable for expats to invest in for the long term?

Turkey is an emergency market with 83 million population, and if we look at the buying power in real estate, we see 94% of the purchases have been done by local Turkish investors, which keep the market always hot regardless of the foreign investment interest. The annual real estate transactions is about 1.5 million units, and so if you are an expat buying property in Turkey, you will always find a buyer in the local market. Also, real estate investors get benefit of capital appreciation approximately 25% annually on US dollar base, and in 2021, we have seen 59% growth in the same US dollar base.

7: What is the culture like in Turkey?

Family oriented is how I can describe the Turkish culture. Even if you weren’t Turkish, they will still consider you as one of them. There is a strong belief that people should maintain ties with their relatives and care for their parents and elders into their old age. Turkish people are also very expressive, they are not afraid to express their emotions, to speak loudly, to shout in the market, and to show love for their children and others. In two words – they are very emotional and expressive. You will definitely feel like home in Turkey, maybe even better.

8: Your investor's guide/package is impressive. Can you tell us more about what you offer investors? And also, first-time Real Estate buyers.

Investors are our number one priority, especially first-timers, hence why we make sure to provide them with various offers that will help them have a successful buying process. Services like conducting an innovative investment consultancy to investors to maximize profit and minimize cost and effort for the best, as well as property management where we provide a hassle free service to landlords for any kind of request of leasing , resell, or maintenance related to their properties. It doesn’t stop here, as we also listen to your needs and help you discover your unique home style, which will cater to your lifestyle and taste with our designers and architects. Not to forget the part where we dedicate a full legal team to your real estate transactions to satisfy all matters related to real estate ownership, residency or obtaining Turkish citizenship!

9: What are your top tips for expats buying in a foreign land?

Expats should be quite attentive when it comes to do their research. My top tip is to find professional service providers and lawyers who will guide you through all the process from A to Z. Luckily, you can find this at W Estates!


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