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ADVECS Real Estate Corporation

Russians on the brink of a real estate revolution

08.11.1992

Russians on the brink of a real estate revolution

The Press-Enterprise, 08.11.1992

Alexander Romanenko of St. Petersburg, Russia, is taking real estate classes at Riverside Community College.St. Petersburg man in U.S. learning about buying and selling property

To the citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States, words like escrow, mortgage, and foreclosure mean little. Until 1990, private ownership of property in the former Soviet Union was illegal, so there was no need for real estate agents, mortgage lenders, title or escrow companies.But with perestroika came privatization — the right to own property and to sell it or transfer title by will or gift.

"For the first time in their lives, people can buy and sell properties freely. But there is no system for this," said Alexander Romanenko, a 36-year-old native of St. Petersburg, Russia.And that's where the challenge and the frustration set in.

Romanenko is a partner with Riverside resident Daniel Corcoran and Nikolaia Semenov, also of St. Petersburg, in an American corporation that has established real estate offices in St. Petersburg.

InterOccidental Inc. has about 100 real estate agents, a support staff of 50 and is closing between eight and 10 real estate sales a week since opening in St. Petersburg earlier this year, said Corcoran, InterOccidental's president.

Romanenko has yet to see those offices. He has been in Riverside since December, studying real estate at Riverside Community College and working at InterOccidental's small office on Brockton Avenue.

Corcoran, meanwhile, has spent much of 1992 in Russia, establishing InterOccidental and attempting to work with St. Petersburg officials on a system for recording real estate transactions.

Corcoran, a real estate broker, was the founder of CoMont Information Systems Inc., a real estate management company that opened in Riverside in 1979. Later, the company began collecting and computerizing real estate sales data from public records for later resale in a variety of formats to financial institutions, title insurance companies and other firms.

Corcoran sold the business to TRW Inc. in 1987, which combined it with its own real estate information services. (TRW's real estate information operation is now called TRW REDI Property Data and is based in Riverside).

The idea to establish InterOccidental came after Corcoran had met Romanenko during the Russian's first visit to Riverside in 1990, while Romanenko was enrolled in the Advanced Management Program in the Graduate School.

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