How to Turn a 100,000€ Property Into 200,000€


Can architecture and design increase property value?

At TOTE SER we get this question a lot. Many of our investors often doubt there is a way to further increase a property’s value solely relying on the design and architecture, saying that renovating and reconstructing are the only means of adding this said value. This was something that early on in our career was seen a challenge, that later became one of things we are known for the most. Our team of architects doesn’t just specialize in creating visually appealing places, but rather combining the 4 main components that define TOTE SER’s philosophy: well-being, profitability, aesthetics and functionality.

Across many types of properties, TOTE SER’s style goes beyond the traditional concept of architecture, meaning we have completely reimagined how an apartment or office should be. Combining these 4 factors result, in this way, into a change in perspective of how, what and why we see our homes and offices the way we do. We’ll give you an example:

Apartment in Lisbon for refurbishment

Apartment in Lisbon for refurbishment

Apartment in Lisbon refurbished

Apartment in Lisbon refurbished

Here we have an example of an old neglected apartment. After a quick analysis, most of us would conclude that not much can be done, or even that there is not much potential as a future apartment. This is where Architect’s Helder Coelho, Miguel Meira and Rita Ortiz come in. In their eyes, this was always a white canvas with an enormous potential, enabling structural freedom to create what would become a state-of-the-art apartment.

We spoke with Architect Helder Pereira Coelho so we could get a deep insight on what was going through his mind when coming across this apartment in Lisbon:

Architect Helder Pereira Coelho

Architect Helder Pereira Coelho

So, what is the secret Mr. Helder?

The secret is that there’s no real secret. There is, however, a very particular set of skills and perspectives acquired over the course of 30 years that we’ve been doing this, plus a very large communication basis with the final client to know precisely what his preferences are and an ever-growing attention for the current trends of Modus Vivendi. I’d say the most important thing is to put yourself in your investor’s/client’s shoes – finding out since the very first moment what people value most is crucial, solely because you can save time and resources by projecting exactly what they have in mind. Mind you, this is not particularly easy to do given the abundance and diversity of projects but developing this chemistry at an early stage provides a whole new sense of synergy and therefore better results.

What goes through your mind when you first see the project?

To give you an example, there was an investor who reached out to us regarding a building project in Lisbon’s prime location. The building was completely neglected and in need of serious renovation. At the very beginning of our conversation we immediately understood that we’re facing an investor focused on maximum profit, which is our expertise. We know exactly how this thought process works. I think our role here is to try and mitigate the investment’s price while scoring a highly profitable deal. We are then acting as a merging agent between the investor’s maximum profitability and the final client’s desire for maximum wellbeing derived from comfort, aesthetics and functionality – resulting in an increased Status level. Including the components of practicality, functionality and sophistication was therefore a must. By the end of the conversation we were already thinking about how to include home automation, which would provide an unprecedented comfort and wellbeing for the user.

What defines TOTE SER’s architecture?

TOTE SER is a culmination of philosophies – it embodies practicality, user well-being, functionality, harmony and quality. The thing sets us apart is the communication and togetherness with our clients and investors. We try and work as if we were doing the project to ourselves, which therefore perceives a higher attention to detail and overall quality. People often ask how it is possible to turn a 100,000€ apartment into a 200,000€ one, and the answer is simple: we apply our moto both in architecture and communication of all our client’s social status. We go the extra mile. How many times do you see an architect, day in and day out at the construction site, analyzing with incredible detail what is being done, promptly ready to solve any problems or issues that may appear? That is who we are, we turn obstacles into virtues, and we are “masters” in optimizing space and resources in our projects.