This month’s agency focus hones in on Aqua Estates, whose ethos is to offer a fresh approach to real estate by combining new technology with traditional values. The team at Aqua Estates is made up of a young, vibrant multi-national group of experienced agents who speak ten languages between them.
Interview by Victoria Wood
Founded by power couple Sebastian Jimenez and Lisa Bausch, and now with two offices on the Costa del Sol, Aqua Estates has grown rapidly since its launch in 2009 to become a successful, well-known, highly reputable agency.
Their aim has always been “to offer a direct and personalised bespoke service, always placing the clients needs and expectations at the forefront of our work”. We spoke to Managing Director Sebastian Jimenez about the industry, his path to success and what the future holds for the Marbella property market.
1) Your agency recently sold BRIGHT’s illustrious Villa Alcuzcuz, can you tell us your side of the story?
Absolutely, we were contacted by BRIGHT’s team to receive a presentation on Villa Alcuzcuz and Vista Lago Residences. After a concise and detailed professional presentation of Villa Alcuzcuz, including an on-site visit, it became clear to me what a unique property this was going to be.
As often happens, we have a number of existing clients that are all searching for their perfect home, so using the excellent marketing information provided by BRIGHT, as well as some of our own media, we started the process of finding a buyer.
Not surprisingly, we had a lot of interest for this villa from our clients and we are very happy that the eventual buyer chose to proceed with what I am sure will be one of the most exciting and unique homes in Europe.
2) What do you think sets you apart from other agencies; what is your unique selling point?
We are interested in establishing long lasting relationships with our clients, both buyers and vendors, many of which I am happy to say become friends and acquaintances.
We formed Aqua Estates twelve years ago and our aim was always to offer a direct and personalised bespoke service, always placing the clients needs and expectations at the forefront of our work.
Although we cover the entire Costa del Sol, we are a small, modern agency and take each client as a mission with the intention to find them the best possible options, offering them all our local and real estate knowledge.
We also try very hard to stay at the forefront of modern technologies, to be able to offer the best possible services like virtual tours, modern marketing techniques and much more.
Last, but certainly not least, I am proud to say that we have an excellent team with many decades of joint real estate experience, and they all bring that special something to the overall ethos of the company.
3) Where do the majority of your clients come from?
We mostly focus on foreign buyers, I would say mostly from northern European countries such as Belgium, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries.
We have however also noticed an increase in non-European buyers from countries such as the USA, Canada, Middle East and even further afield.
4) What is the most challenging part of your job?
I would say that being a realtor has many challenges, it is definitely not an easy job as we depend on many factors to be aligned in order to be successful. Since we are one of the few professionals that only charge on results, every realtor will know that sometimes entire days of work, or even more, can yield no result. Even if one endeavours to do their job to perfection, there are many factors out of our control that can make the difference between a client purchasing or not.
Having said that it is also an extremely rewarding job, since we get to encounter amazing clients and colleagues along the way and become involved in some of the best properties the world has to offer. If you love what you do it is hard not to enjoy it.
5) Do you think the current pandemic is deterring people from the idea of moving to Spain?
In short, no. I think it is certainly delaying many people’s decision to move over here, and has created a desire to wait and see how it plays out before making any major decisions. But in my case every client I have dealt with recently has either decided to buy or is on hold until restrictions are eased, mainly due to travel restraints.
I have been pleasantly surprised to see that this is more of a pause in people’s plans rather than a stop to them, so I fully expect to see them all return and we will welcome them with open arms, as always.
6) What do you think sets this area apart from other top European resorts?
The Costa del Sol, and Marbella in particular is a very special place, especially to me. I grew up here and have had some amazing life experiences thanks to everything the area has to offer.
The reasons why it is one of the top European resorts will always remain true, like the climate, the lifestyle and beauty and most importantly its people, they are the true heart and soul of the place, and anyone who has lived here for a certain amount of time can attest to it.
We have an international culture that makes Marbella and the Costa del Sol very special and unique. You can meet people from all around the globe and it creates a great multi-cultural synergy.
The simplest way to put it is ‘Quality Living’ which is the idea behind our by-line:
7) Do you think living in the countryside is becoming more of a sought- after lifestyle, or are people still generally leaning towards the coast?
I find that there is certainly an increase in demand for detached properties with some land and more space which I presume is a reaction to the lockdowns, as these types of properties offer more comfortable living when movement is restricted. However, outdoor space in southern Spain has always been important and we already have a very attractive offer on this aspect.
Having said that, I cannot say it is a drastic change, and we are still receiving all types of enquiries for both coastal and more inland locations.
We have also encountered various clients that have decided to move out of large European cities in favour of a more open style of living like we have here on the Costa del Sol.
8) BRIGHT’s Vista Lago Residences is located in the country club estate of Real de La Quinta – what do you think of this area and the Real de La Quinta project?
It’s a fantastic location and by far one of our favourites, for me it’s the best of everything, you have the stunning, panoramic, elevated views, some of the best onsite facilities, and only a short drive away from everything. When the area is developed we expect it to be one of the best places to live not only locally, but worldwide.
We are very excited to see it develop and are honoured to be one of the agencies chosen to share this fantastic area with the world.
9) What do you see for the imminent future of the property market in and around Marbella?
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 health crisis has affected the activity over the past year, however the positive side to it is that the demand has remained, albeit more restrained and perhaps at a slower rate. Sales have still been possible with many buyers deciding to make a permanent move over despite the situation, and this is very positive. I expect most of the clients that delayed their purchases last year to proceed in the near future, depending on how fast the restrictions are lifted in their respective countries. How long this will be is hard to tell, it could be a few months or a little longer, but I have no doubt it will happen and when it does it will be great for the area.
10) And longer term?
I have no doubt the future is bright for the Costa del Sol, like most places we have been through tough situations before, especially after the 2008 economic crisis. The area managed to thrive after that and all the reasons for that are still current today.
I am sure the area will continue to prosper in the long run and there are many exciting projects, large and small that are happening as we speak. Large hotel chains are planning to open luxurious resorts of the highest calibre, and this is happening despite the current situation.
At Aqua Estates we are all very excited and looking forward to the years to come in this very special place.
Likewise, the team at BRIGHT are excited to see how Aqua Estates continues to flourish, and look forward to working with them on future developments.