We talk to the “Queen of Marbella Property” about her career, social life, what changes are happening right now, and her tips for buying property.
Article by Victoria Wood
Kristina is the name synonymous with real estate in and around Marbella and has been for over 35 years; anyone who is anyone in property has heard of Kristina Szekely. She knows more about the market in this region than most, and her agency is one of the most renowned in Marbella, the longevity of which has developed a global network of customers, as well as linking Kristina Szekely with Sotheby’s International Realty and real estate offices all over the world.
Just in case there are any readers that haven’t heard about Kristina, we asked her to sum up what her real estate agency is all about: “Kristina Szekely, the real estate agency that I founded, bears my name, my personal brand, not for reasons of vanity but as a testimony that the same principles that govern my life apply to my company, honesty, rigour and closeness. Both in business and in my personal life, I have always liked to meet people, find common ground with which to tune in and build a lasting relationship. In line with all this, my conception of the real estate business involves a personal approach to the most human of desires: helping others to realise their dreams.”
Marbella is back in fashion…
Kristina’s sees the real estate market in Marbella and the surrounding area to be booming. Her clients are particularly seeking out new builds, and everything is modern, modern, modern.
The pandemic is not the centre of the conversation anymore and business is very good. A sentiment that is backed up by every agent we have spoken to in the last few months.
Despite, or perhaps due to, the pandemic, the property market in Marbella is without question on an upward curve. Buyers are predominantly Europeans: Dutch, Belgian and Scandinavian. “There do seem to be less British around lately due to quarantine requirements and therefore the reluctance to travel, but they are definitely still in the market for new homes here. There are also a fair few more Americans buying as well”.
“I think owning a property in Marbella is back in fashion again,” Kristina says. “It’s lovely to be meeting young people who are looking for property here whose parents were also my clients years ago!”
The social aspect…
Kristina Szekely has been an integral part of the scene in Marbella since the seventies and her popularity and networking skills have made her one of the most recognisable faces in the area. Over the years her worldwide web has spread from Andalucía to Madrid, Gibraltar, the Middle East, NY, Paris, London, South Africa and beyond. Her passion for the business is relentless, as well as admirable, as is her energy for socialising and connecting with clients and local businesses.
“I do enjoy the social aspect of the business tremendously as I am always learning about all my different clients. So many varying cultures, traditions, ways of socialising – everyone has their own unique life. I get to know the people and often the first meeting is one of the most important ones. Working out what their dreams are and specific needs. Often clients will become friends, sometimes even for life. Having an office in Puerto Banús, which is where I usually base, is also a very sociable location – it’s easy for people to pop in for a chat.”
The pandemic and technology…
Even though the pandemic is not the topic of conversation we did discuss how sales performed during lockdown and Kristina noted that it has been incredible to experience people buying property in Marbella without ever having physically visited it. “They are given advice from someone on the ground, but otherwise they have just seen the property on video and in pictures. It is exciting to see what technology has brought to the business”.
The challenges of real estate…
We talked about the challenges of working in real estate. “Every client I meet is a new challenge! You have to please each party – the children, the parents and even the grandparents. It isn’t generally just one person involved in buying a house, and you have to work out a way to please them all”.
Top tips to consider when buying property, according to Kristina Szekely…
Location, location, location
“Where the property is located is the most important factor. Buying a piece of land in a less desirable place, for example, and building a beautiful house on it, will never have as much value as it would if the land were in a top location. The investment will always be much better if you buy in the best area”.
Kristina’s advice is to really consider personal habits, likes and dislikes and lifestyle. “Do you want access to golf, to shopping centres, to the beaches, to hikes in the countryside? Positioning is everything. Do you want sea views? Do you want to be able to walk into town? These things are all extremely important when considering which property to purchase.”
Go with a pro
“There are many people who think they are in the business, but don’t know about the financial and professional side. It is always worth using someone who knows what they are doing. Our agency can help with every aspect of buying a house, and we are quick! We can organise lawyers, banks, notary…all within 24 hours. We can advise on flexibility of payments, time frame of repayments, financing, even a NIE number, anything really – we can help to get all services arranged rapidly as a one-stop advisory service. You should absolutely choose an agency with experience when buying here. And I have more experience than required! But I like it too much to retire.”
The Next big thing…
We talked about the region as a whole and Kristina sees the area west of Marbella – Estepona, the New Golden Mile and Sotogrande as the growth areas. “Sotogrande, for example, has a big future due to it being quiet, more family orientated, with golf, polo, the marina. There are many holiday homes here but more and more people are becoming full time”.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to talk to Kristina. Pop into her Puerto Banús office for a chat one day, she will be delighted to share her knowledge with you.
Kristina Szekely Sotheby’s International Realty
Puerto Banús office
Calle Muelle Ribera – Casa G. Local 39
29660 Puerto Banús
+34 952 81 40 40
Calle Ricardo Soriano 5
+34 952 772 000
Plaza del Agua Edif. D Local 1-2
11310 Puerto Sotogrande (San Roque)
+34 956 79 04 90