Investment insights with Silvia Samuelsson Waak

Propstreet investment insights

Entrepreneurial investor with “no risk, no reward” mindset

Silvia Samuelsson Waak, Owner at Fastighets AB Samuelsson & Waak

Tell us about you and why you started to work in the CRE industry

My career in the CRE industry began in 1998, a few years after my studies at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. At that time, my sister’s private landlord was recruiting an assistant and I decided to apply for the position. But already after six months, I was offered another job in the finance department at Ericsson and was just about to sign my resignation letter. The landlord however was exceptionally keen on keeping me in the company. He believed in me and my abilities and offered me a partnership ☺

That is where my journey began and already at the age of twenty-five, I had become partner in my first commercial property, centrally located in Gothenburg (Magasinsgatan 3). During my student years, I had saved SEK 250 000, but I needed another SEK 500 000 to get a 10 % ownership. I thought I could “just” take out a mortgage on my parent’s house. Which I did – without their knowledge. (A nerve-wrecking experience, until I could pay it all back…)

My journey in the real estate industry then continued as a private owner and as a real estate manager at Fabege (2008-2014). I bought my own properties in Eriksberg, Gothenburg, and together with my sister at Telefonplan 2012 and “Whitlockska huset” 2014 (Eriksbergsgatan 8A-B in central Stockholm).

We sold Filmstaden, Solna in 2020 and are now looking for new investment opportunities.

What are your company´s preferred markets and segments?

We are looking for commercial real estate in the suburbs close to the city, with development potential. I consider having vacancies as well as other challenges, in the actual building and the neighborhood, to be opportunities. I grew up in the suburbs and enjoy working there. We are looking within Stockholm as well as in Gothenburg since I grew up in Gothenburg. The location is key, not specific segments.

What are your competitive advantages in the market?

I value a close relationship with our tenants. My strength is, among other things, that I personally want to see & hear what is going on in and nearby the properties and build a close relationship. This way, you minimize unforeseen events and negative surprises while discovering new development opportunities. We value personal relationships and since we are a smaller real estate company, we can act fast. Highly appreciated by many companies and not least small and medium-sized entrepreneurial ones like us.

Additionally, I am a very unpretentious person. I can assist as a substitute janitor or clean the stairwells if needed. Even though I buy these external services it is important to be present and offer support on demand. I have never put too much value in having a certain job title.

What is the most inspiring part of being a real estate investor?

  • Having a vast number of opportunities, and that no day is the other alike.
  • You set your own agenda for the day and make it creative.
  • To build values that are calculable.

How do you become a successful investor?

My ability to take and manage risks. Like when I was twenty-five years old and decided to “risk” all my savings and my parent´s house ☺.

We have extensive market knowledge and can therefore make decisions quickly. When an investment opportunity appears, we can complete the transaction in a week. A great challenge for other companies, but an opportunity for us.

Most interesting market trends right now?

I do not pay too much attention to trends; I have a more “traditional” approach. Our properties shall always be equipped with modern technology and suitable floor plans. There is high demand for efficient and flexible spaces. We are good listeners and flexible when it comes to different types of modifications, depending on the conditions of the property.

How does technology change the investment landscape?

Modern technology is definitely needed in our industry and provides additional value to the existing businesses. For our company, new technologies and products open new possibilities to reduce operating costs, increase the value of the properties and to sign more profitable leases.

What advice would you give to a first-time buyer?

Dare to take risks. No risk, no reward. But at the same time, I would not want anyone to put their family’s savings on the line ☺ Trust your gut feeling, it has been invaluable in my career as a real estate investor. Visit and learn about the neighborhood you are going to invest in. Explore entrances, streets and take public transport there. Pay attention to movements and observe the people in the area.