On the occasion of Women’s History Month, we tell the story of Kerstin Bachmann and 56Paris Real Estate.

Find out how our founder became a realtor in Paris, and read about the all-woman team here in our office on the rue de Verneuil, in the heart of the French capital.

Women’s History Month 2023

Highlighting the contributions of women in history and contemporary society, Women’s History Day – later amended to Women’s History Month – emerged in the late 1970s. 

The roots of this celebration trace back to California, but have spread internationally in the years since.

Its enduring goal is to recognize and celebrate women’s authentic contributions to the world.

Kerstin Bachmann and 56Paris Real Estate operate a successful real estate business, staffed entirely by women. 

We catch up with our founder and Managing Director about her challenges, successes, and future goals.

An interview with Kerstin Bachmann and 56Paris Real Estate

How and when did you become a realtor in Paris?

Kerstin Bachmann: I used to work in international corporate finance in France and Germany. As part of my job in Cash Management, I helped large multinational companies optimize their treasury. After a successful 16-year career, I was looking for yet another professional challenge. This was the mid-2000s. My aim was to be self-employed while building on my professional experience and personal skills as a German expat in Paris. 

In 2008, the stars finally aligned, and I dared to cut loose from the safety net of a regular salary and benefits. I set up my own company as a Parisian buyers’ agent. 

This service continues to be an important part of 56Paris today.

Looking back, I feel that I am exactly at the place where I wanted to be – my job allows me to advise smart investors on making a solid purchase – while conveying my local knowledge and love of Parisian lifestyle and culture. 

Was it difficult to obtain the necessary certification? 

Kerstin Bachmann: In France, a law from 1970 called the ‘Loi Hoguet’ regulates all real estate matters. It specifies that one must adhere to strict professional standards to obtain and hold a broker’s license. In my case, I qualified thanks to my European university degree, recognized by France. 

In addition to that, you need to own the majority shares of a French company, have a financial guarantor, the appropriate professional liability insurance, and comply with many other regulations. 

Setting all of this up was quite a journey, and keeping compliant with the stringent regulations is a work in progress. However, this is for a good reason: to provide greater transparency, professionalism, and consumer protection in the industry.

Becoming a real estate entrepreneur

What was it like making that transition from corporate life into entrepreneurship? 

Kerstin Bachmann: You need to have a safety net to fall back on, because it takes some time before you finalize your first purchase. In my case, the challenge was even harder – one month after starting the search for my first client, the sub-prime crisis hit the western economies. It didn’t have a catastrophic impact on the Parisian real estate market as some had predicted. However, it took even longer than usual before I earned my first commission.

Do you have any regrets?

Kerstin Bachmann: It’s not always easy, when switching from the stability of corporate life to the unpredictability of running your own company. It has been especially challenging over the past decade, when the French real estate market has had to deal with the effects of political and economic uncertainties.

However, my life as an entrepreneur offers me the freedom of making strategic decisions in terms of company values and deontology. They reflect who I am and what I stand for, and the constant recognition and appreciation from our clients is worth all the safety of a company. So no, I don’t! I wouldn’t trade back my current life for working in the corporate world. 

Women working in the industry

Have you encountered specific challenges as a woman? 

Kerstin Bachmann: Contrary to my work in finance, the beauty of working in residential real estate is that women have just as much credibility as men. That’s probably because our innate skills are perfectly suited to the industry: a strong sense of teamwork, the ability to actively listen, empathize with others, and work to find common ground, leading to the best results in real estate.

Why do you have an all-women’s team at 56Paris? 

Kerstin Bachmann: This was not intentional – the wonderful ladies I was lucky enough to find were just the most competent candidates. For years, we had a terrific male colleague who recently moved to the US. It was great to work with him and to have his particular perspective and energy. 

However, I thoroughly enjoy having a team that consists entirely of women. They tend to find creative solutions and are very attentive to the needs and preferences of our clients.