Twenty-six years ago, Yann-Olivier Bricombert was working as a journalist in his native Martinique, a French overseas territory in the Caribbean. In his writing, he sought to capture the delicate beauty of life on the island – the soft ocean wind, the rugged landscape, and the blend of French and West Indian heritages that has given Martinique the moniker ‘Paris of the Lesser Antilles’.
Ironically, it was the effort of translating the sensations of island life into literature that pulled him out of journalism and thrust him into the world of real estate. One day, the young reporter was invited to a friend’s home. When he arrived, he beheld a villa unlike any other structure around. It was sprawling yet meticulously designed to the last inch. It even had an elevator.
The villa seemed to Yann-Olivier too magnificent for words, and his failure to articulate what he saw awakened a curiosity within him about how to incorporate this profound feeling of comfort and awe into his own life. He decided to devote himself to mastering the art of real estate investment.
Nearly three decades later, Yann-Olivier works in Paris (the real Paris) as Chairman and Founder of his eponymously named firm YANN OLIVIER, which has served more than 3,000 clients since 2015.
“We provide a very specific service that is all-inclusive and allows our clients to invest in high-yield real estate without doing anything themselves,” Yann-Olivier says. “We take care of everything, from the beginning to the end. This means identifying high-return properties, doing renovations, financing and then managing the properties so that our clients have rent coming in without spending their own time on it.”
He tells clients they can expect a 10–15% net annual return on an investment of at least €2 million, and they won’t even need to visit any properties. The YANN OLIVIER service appeals to a particular type of client, whom Yann-Olivier describes on his website as professionals, politicians and celebrities who have “already had a remarkable career” and want to “take the next step in their personal growth”.
“Time is paramount for our clients,” he explains. “They are very, very busy. They don’t have time to manage the entire process. I believe they should be spending what little free time they have with the people who are the most important, like family, friends or charities. We strive to help our investors stay focused on life’s priceless moments.”
“The most important thing is to be committed. When you say you will help, you must do what it takes to get results.”
These philosophies are summarised in the company’s motto: ‘Real estate should not take any more than one hour away from your life.’
Opportunities are everywhere
The key to ensuring the highest returns on his clients’ investments, Yann-Olivier says, is having a wide network and a mind that is open to diverse sources of opportunity. “Many investors think there is some secret, some trick, or some secret location that will guarantee them profits. The truth is that there are great properties everywhere – in your own country, your own region, your own city. The important thing is to have a network of people offering opportunities and the skill to identify the best ones.”
In its early days, the company focused on properties around France. It has since expanded to more than 20 cities around the world. “The most important thing to consider in real estate is location, location, location – but it is not the only thing to consider,” Yann-Olivier says.
“Our team utilises hundreds of data points, as well as intuition developed through years of experience to determine whether a certain property is a good investment or not. We can do this within a matter of hours, which is crucial because the market changes quickly, and seizing an opportunity requires quick action.”
He recalls a moment when a friend and client of his asked him to find a beachfront villa with a string of unusual specifications – a particular number of bedrooms, a very specific location, a second house on the same property to accommodate a security team – and he was asked to find it immediately.
The fact that it was around Christmas time made the request even more difficult to fill. However, after about 10 minutes of phone calls, Yann-Olivier had found his friend the exact cottage he wanted to invest in.
“To be honest, I don’t know how I found the place. I was just as shocked as the client was. But it taught me that the most important thing is to be committed. When you say you will help, you must do what it takes to get results. Next time, it might take me weeks to find the right property. This took only 10 minutes, but either way, I can say my team and I are offering 100% commitment,” Yann-Olivier says.
The perks of being fully present
While some aspects of Yann-Olivier’s work demand speed, others demand patience. When it comes to building relationships with clients, he takes his time. “I always tell my investors not to think of Yann Olivier as a one-stop shop. I want to help them build something that lasts for generations. This can only succeed with relationships based on trust.”
Building trust with clients is a skill every leader of a company must learn, and Yann-Olivier is no exception. His method is based on his belief that each of his clients is someone who has a lesson to teach and a story to tell.
“The key is to be genuinely curious. My clients are talented, accomplished people. I always ask myself: How did he or she get to this point? It’s all about connecting. It’s all about people,” he says, adding: “It’s important to never be fake. To be interesting, you need to be truly interested.”
“It’s important to never be fake. To be interesting, you need to be truly interested.”
Being interested in his clients’ lives allows Yann-Olivier to be fully present when dealing with them. “Quality service is all about the small details,” he says.
“How you talk to people, how much time you spend with them, how present you are during a meeting, what environment you create – these small gestures give clients the assurance that I am here to help them help themselves.”
To Yann-Olivier, this is the greatest reward of his work. Every new client is an opportunity to embark on a lifelong journey with a trusted companion toward the common goal of owning a dream property and turning a profit without losing valuable time.
“One day, my dream house will be in Martinique,” he says. “I imagine myself lying on the lanai for hours, listening to the birds and the sea. Life won’t be about fancy things. It will be about having the space to spend priceless moments with friends and family.”