Norbert Verbuecheln: An Inspiring Leader Building a Local 360° Service for Real Estate Business

Top 10 Most Influential People in Real Estate, 2023

Norbert Verbuecheln, Founder, CEO and Managing Director of Mr. Lodge GmbH credits his values to growing up on his parent’s farm near Düsseldorf.

“This is where my roots are and where I made my first entrepreneurial experiences and learned from my parents how important it is to treat customers respectfully and well,” he states.

During his studies in agricultural economics and political economy, Norbert gained very valuable interdisciplinary experience in various university committees as a student representative.

A full-service real estate service provider with a 360° approach

Mr. Lodge GmbH has been active in the real estate industry for over 30 years. The company brokers approximately 2,500 properties annually. Its main business has traditionally been brokering fully furnished properties in the Munich area, the idea being that its tenant customers can rent an apartment or house, move in with their luggage, and begin living straight away.

Norbert notes that what makes Mr. Lodge GmbH unique in the German real estate sector is the 360° approach of a comprehensive service portfolio. The organization has a team of interior designers, construction and project managers, a complete craftsman service, and even an in-house carpentry unit. This allows them to satisfy every need of their clients, from partial and complete renovations to full home reconstructions.

Mr. Lodge GmbH offers an exceptional range of on-site services. Through its 360° Portfolio, the company provides both creativity and initiative. Properties are upgraded through home staging presentation, and for this, the company even invests a part of the subsequent commission. The properties are presented with high-quality photos, video, and 360° images in appealing exposés.

In addition, the properties are furnished with bed linen and towels, and more importantly, internet access, a service that has proved over the years to be extremely valuable for many customers arriving in the ever increasingly popular Munich and outer Munich areas.

“We have always seen ourselves as a full-service real estate service provider that develops its services along the needs of buyers and sellers. This includes, for example, home staging by our interior team or the technical service, which is increasingly in demand,” says Norbert.

Furthermore, in the course of increasing internationalisation, Mr. Lodge GmbH has adapted to an international buyer and seller clientele with a team speaking 16 languages. This enables the organisation to provide very customer-oriented advice and to accompany transactions in a professional and transparent manner.

“We are pleased that we were able to score points with this approach, particularly in the categories of service and process quality,” Norbert remarks.

Mr. Lodge GmbH is also proud to have added a sales department to its real estate portfolio, a department that was opened in 2015. In 2021, it opened an office in the popular town of Rottach Egern, located on the shores of Lake Tegernsee and stretching to the Austrian border, where it is also brokering furnished and unfurnished apartments and houses.

Driven by the values of honesty, transparency & customer satisfaction.

The core value that has always driven the team at Mr. Lodge GmbH is their honesty and transparency with both employees and customers. The property market they work in is extremely dynamic, which means they have to constantly update and keep their customers and employees abreast of developments.

Another core value for the team at Mr. Lodge GmbH is striving for total customer satisfaction, and they try to maintain a dialogue with their customer base. As a hands-on company, they pride themselves on being available for their customers, both tenants and property owners alike. They aim to give all their customers the feeling that they are supported and understood.

“What drives us is the desire to adapt our services to the ever-changing needs of our clients. Our activities go far beyond the spectrum of classic brokerage services such as search services, property valuation, presentation, viewing, contract drafting, and brokerage. We accompany prospective buyers and tenants in more than 2,500 transactions per year from the very beginning and support them with services such as furnishing advice, cleaning organization, or our technical service,” says Norbert.

Mr. Lodge GmbH also utilizes modern technological advancements in its business. As an example, they were the first company in Germany to advertise properties on the internet using photographs and property descriptions.

They also developed their own app for use during property handovers and handbacks, which allows their employees to protocol the properties’ condition and take relevant photographs to save and forward the handover protocol via mail, instead of printing on paper.

Giving employees a feeling of worth and respect

Norbert’s definition of success is leading the company through good times and bad, creating and securing employment, and giving his employees a feeling of worth and respect. “A company is only as good as each member of staff. The measure of my success I take from our customers and my employees’ feedback,” he observes.

With a diverse team that consists of 90 employees in 16 different languages, Norbert strives to make himself “accessible” to all. As Managing Director, he is the contact person for all senior staff and is available to all employees to provide support or assistance, especially in difficult cases where many years of experience can be very helpful.

“Within the company, we have an atmosphere of respect and honesty, and our employees are both honest and hardworking. Despite the levels of stress sometimes involved, all our employees are gracious and show each other and our loyal customers a high level of respect. I am very proud that this environment and atmosphere is predominant at Mr. Lodge,” declares Norbert.

With an eye on the future, an important field for him is thinking about how to shape and develop the future of the company. “Decisions about new hires are made together with the senior staff. Here I always want to get a picture of applicants with whom we want to shape the future,” he says.

Norbert notes that he is also involved in the operational side of the business almost daily, conducting consultations or even stepping in at all levels when there are bottlenecks. “In this way, I keep in touch with the grassroots, which is very important to me,” he insists.

In terms of maintaining a work-life balance, Norbert tries to give enough space and time to his family life, his wife, and his children. “I believe that it is very important in the company to always be a very good role model for the employees. A convincing work ethic and ethical behavior towards all people is the model I try to live by,” he states.

Building a forward-looking, resilient, and sustainable company

Norbert points out that there have been many setbacks along the journey, and notes that they have often had to deal with situations beyond their control, whether it be inflation, market crashes, and of late, a global virus that has completely changed the way they live and work.

“Even before the coronavirus, I began to realize the importance of flexibility for our employees, so we ensured that our employees were equipped with hardware to be able to work from home without any change in their working habits,” he says. “This paid enormous dividends once the coronavirus put us all into lockdown. Our staff were prepared and were able to carry out their tasks uninterrupted from the comfort of their own homes.”

As a forward-looking company, sustainability is a clear focus for Mr. Lodge GmbH. “How sustainable and resilient is our growth? In addition to increasing digitalization, we want to put personal service in the foreground. Here, people work for people,” Norbert affirms.

With Mr. Lodge GmbH’s interior design service, the company has set a goal of becoming a pacesetter in the sustainability of furnishings and fittings for flats and houses in the coming years, to set strong accents and also position itself more internationally.

In his parting message to aspiring business leaders, Norbert offers the following advice: “Always strive to be better than the competition. Always think about the people who work for the company and give their best in the job for success and the people for whom we provide our service day by day. Let’s try to think about the future generations and align our actions with them.”