Our agency focus this month is on Drumelia Real Estate, Marbella’s luxury property specialists.
Drumelia is an extremely successful boutique real estate agency in Marbella that has been in business since the early 2000s and is continuously going from strength to strength. The agency prides itself on its attention to detail, personalised client services and specialist property listings but most importantly the ‘human factor’ when getting to know their clients.
BRIGHT had the pleasure of interviewing founder and director Sergey Sinichkin to find out the story behind the success.
1) You moved to Marbella over 20 years ago, what was it that inspired the move?
When I first came to Marbella in August, 1997 I saw a booming summer in the area of Puerto Banús. At that time I didn’t plan to come here as I was working in real estate in St. Petersburg, then my boss at the time offered for me to help him develop a plot of land he had bought in Nueva Andalucía. I didn’t know the area, or Spain particularly well, at the time, just a little about Barcelona, Madrid, Paella and bullfighting! I was 25 years old and had no reason not to go. Our office back then was in Puerto Banús on the second line, and passing traffic meant plenty of business. By 2003 I felt I could do this myself which is when I established Drumelia Real Estate, Marbella. Since then I feel that Marbella has become my second home. Initially I did miss St. Petersburg a lot, but less and less over the years, though I still visit from time to time. I feel that Spain has become my second motherland – my two daughters were born here in Malaga, and I have been dealing in Real Estate here now for over 23 years. I am a registered chartered surveyor, as issued by the university in Barcelona, which means I can evaluate properties and their worth on an official basis. I love the Spanish people, Marbella, its climate, the cosy atmosphere and the cosmopolitan environment. I am constantly speaking to people of different nationalities and have never felt like a foreigner.
2) What is the primary business philosophy at Drumelia?
I always consider Drumelia as a boutique real estate agency. We treat all our clients (no matter their budget) as a unique person; the philosophy is that every client becomes our friend. You would never disappoint a friend and so we are always clear and tell the truth to our clients. We don’t aim to just sell the property, but more to open the doors and let them make their own decisions. I don’t ever insist or push clients to make a decision, I give an opinion gently based on a practical and economical basis as well as having closely analysed the client’s needs.
3) What do you think sets you apart from other agencies in the area?
There are many, many agencies in Marbella, it is difficult to say who is number one but I always say that we are number two. When people ask me who is number one I say there are many! I prefer to say that we are the solid, reliable second place. We are a young, dynamic, energetic team and I try to hire people not only on their professionalism but also their human abilities. It was very important to me that Drumelia became a small family, and we are great friends within the team. We spend more than 10 hours a day at work, then when we go out for a trip to Madrid, or an escape to Ronda or skydiving in Sevilla, we spend time together with positive good feeling and emotion. I would say the inner synergy between the employees is very positive. We speak many languages, have good skills and know Marbella as citizens of the city, and as I said – we are number two!
4) What is your favourite part of the job?
Every time I meet a new client I am absolutely delighted and very keen on discovering them as not only a potential buyer but as an individual. I love to know about them, their daily life, their hobbies, where they live, what their business is, what their kids are doing, and if it is a large deal – how did you make your first million? I love listening to the stories, and gaining more experience from this – I still think that my best day is still ahead of me so meeting clients and seeing them as normal people that I can help, not just to sell to, that is my favourite part. Getting satisfaction from the happiness and gratitude from the clients, words, gifts or invitation to house warming parties is a hugely satisfying part of the job. And of course receiving the commission in the bank is also rewarding!
5) How do you feel the pandemic has affected real estate in the area this year?
Obviously it was a very strange year, everyone was expecting good things for 2020 and suddenly we are at this stage when nobody knows how it is going to go. We felt a two-sided effect at Drumelia; on one hand the psychological effect on the client ’s feeling was to wait and see – some thought maybe it was the wrong time to invest, and maybe prices will fall further. On the other hand many people decided to purchase places with plenty of space, bigger land, big fincas, outside of the cities in more natural environments. Generally speaking what I see is that we are experiencing a variation in prices on the market – every deal we closed this year was at a discount of between 15-30% off the asking price. When the client feels they are getting a good price, they still go for it. My feeling is that this will be over very soon – the psychological, emotional condition of the prospective client is very important here on the Costa del Sol, they are buying their second third or fourth home – not a vital necessity, but after the pandemic people are feeling like life goes on and let’s spend some of our money on something we can use and enjoy – real estate here in Marbella; the climate and lifestyle – means just this. Deals are still happening on a big scale here.
6) To give us a ball park figure, how many luxury properties has Drumelia sold this year compared to last year?
I must say that 2020 – despite the fact it was a strange year for all of us socially, with quarantine, lockdown, restrictions, less eating out, less parties and dancing, and life outside of the home – lots of developers felt it was a good time to purchase plots and plan developments with the view that once they are completed the market will be back to normal again. This year we sold more houses than last year, and in the range of €10-€20 million we sold double this year compared to last.
7) How do you see the property market in the South of Spain in 2021?
Very difficult to say, nobody really knows, but my opinion is that it will still be a difficult year, still a time of stabilisation. I am not sure if it may depend on the medical side as the vaccine comes into play and perhaps this will help. There may be more or less restrictions, we cannot tell, but my intuition is that luxury sector will remain alive, people will be looking for discount deals and I would say that if the client gets from anything 20-30% discount, the deal will be made. Also I feel that 2021 will be more of an emotionally, psychologically important year – possibly a negative development or a new, positive perspective. Either way real estate is always a very solid investment, as Mark Twain said – “Gentlemen buy land; they’re not making it anymore.” I feel that people will still invest in land as it the best bank whatsoever – a land bank. So I am looking positively at 2021, because as agents the levels of property we are selling is not important, it is the movement that counts. So we keep our fingers crossed.
8) Where do the majority of your clients come from?
Drumelia Real Estate is very much tuned for an international clientele, previously, say ten years ago the majority of our clients were Russian. Nowadays, that is reduced to around 40% with the rest coming from the UK, USA, Canada, and Northern Europe. We are getting more and more enquiries form all over the world, which is why we are pushing and promoting our YouTube channel of our listings available here in Marbella. We have over 200 videos of beautiful properties and recently launched our new programme of video tours which gathered over a million viewings. A long time ago we worked mainly on a word of mouth basis but nowadays the internet helps us to find clients all over the globe, showing that Marbella stays very cosmopolitan and we depend on macro-economic factors throughout the whole world, not only the economy of Spain.
9) What three things would you say best describe why Drumelia is so successful?
I feel that any business depends on the human factor – the most important thing in my opinion. As I said previously we have a fantastic team of hard workers but if we get down to the nitty gritty – three things; first is emotional intellect, we try to identify the client as not only a source of income but as a person, which helps to convey the deals in a very human manner based on professional knowledge. Second, we have very professional management in our team, everyone knows what they are doing and we have a strong leadership with a friendly manner. Thirdly we have a strong work ethic at Drumelia; we don’t look at the time of day or what day it is – we work when we have to work.
10) And finally, could you tell us why you’re opting to work alongside BRIGHT?
BRIGHT has a very bright vision of what they are doing and we love the product they are creating, love their approach to real estate, for example, Vista Lago residences – something different on the market, fantastic architecture, location, views, concept, excellent product. And Villa Alcuzcuz, for example, is something we would be delighted to make a video tour about – I am sure it would gain millions of viewings as this is a particularly excellent villa – the type of product we are really proud to present to our clients and sits perfectly alongside our philosophy in real estate.
I wish you all good luck and that 2021 will be much happier and more successful, but more importantly that we are here doing our jobs, moving forwards and enjoy every day and every moment of our work and life.
Head over to their website, to see their luxury movie-style tour of Villa Cullinan and you’ll get a glimpse of the scale of properties they deal in as well as a nod to their dedication to the client. Their videos feature incredible footage of the luxury lifestyle that this area has to offer with Puerto Banus as a backdrop, luxury yachts as standard, and anything you could wish for on your doorstep. Follow Artur Loginov, Sales Director, as he swiftly glides his Lamborghini into the garage and takes you on a tour of some of the most epic, sexy and dramatic listings that Marbella has to offer!