Hello John and Andrea! Can we start our chat by asking how long your company has been established in the Costa Blanca?
We set up Dolphin Properties SL 15 years ago, having initially had a holiday home in the Costa Blanca area for 20 years and accumulating a lot of knowledge about the property market over that period. In addition to the immediate attraction of a better life in the sun, and both of us having real estate experience – myself in the UK and Andrea in Hungary – we saw the opportunity of creating a nice family business. We now own our offices here in Calle Richard Wagner (close to Captain Morgan's Bar).
Would you have done anything differently if you could start again?
John and Andrea:
Apart from not moving here sooner, no. We are now a well-established small family company that has been able to move with the times, in a good and popular location. We continue to enjoy challenges of working in an ever-changing market and love the lives we are able to lead in this sunny, friendly country!
How many staff members/offices does the company have at this moment?
John and Andrea:
We are a full time staff of four, all with extensive knowledge of the Spanish property market, laws and regulations, and of the local area, its attractions and benefits. Elaine, with 30 years' experience real estate both in London and Spain, and Paul with 20 years in London and Spain have amassed an amazing knowledge of living and working here. John and Andrea, with their young family in addition to their market knowledge here, the UK and Europe, are well placed to be able to advise on schooling, and healthcare, as well as the pros and cons for any young family planning to come to Spain to start a new life.
What do you think is the secret of your success?
Our success over the past 15 years is down solely to our honesty and transparency. The many recommendations we receive is testament to this – in addition to our believing that a 'no pressure' approach is the best way to build trust between buyers and sellers alike. Having been through the process of buying a property here ourselves, has helped us understand what a huge decision even thinking of buying a holiday home, can sometimes be – some of our current clients have clients were just looking 3-4 years ago. We also try to move with the times and target buyers from different countries by networking with agents along the coast who have the same approach to business, and standards, as ourselves – in particular, listening to our clients' needs.
Why did you choose your current location to start up your business? Why would you recommend that people should come here?
John and Andrea:
We are just 20 minutes south of Torrevieja, in Villamartin, a little less busy and close to four fantastic golf courses, many blue flag beaches, marinas, shopping malls, schools, health facilities, and lovely countryside. This area really has it all! Torrevieja, with its markets, marinas, nightlife, and great restaurants, and, further to the south, Pilar de la Horadada and the Mar Menor. We are perfectly placed for both, and can now offer properties on the Costa Calida, Mar Menor, La Manga and Murcia regions, from a new office in San Javier.
How do you see the property market moving in the foreseeable future?
The market here has seen dramatic changes over the last few years and is now moving in a steadily-rising direction. With new builds and sensibly-priced resale properties moving fast, we see this trend continuing for the next 4-6 years and proving good value for money. Prices are on the rise, with forecasts of 5-6 years' good capital growth ahead. With the easy accessibility to this area from most European countries, safety, healthcare and climate, it's hard to see why this should not be the case.
What do you see as the main challenges for Estate Agents in the next few years?
Challenges for agents will be, and have always been, to move with the times in terms of technology, and providing clear, transparent and honest options for clients, whilst targeting different nationalities at the right time, depending on a country's economic outlook. Competitive selling fees and the internet will always play a part, but as a starting point, clients still want to meet real people, in a real office, and know that they will receive a good after sales service long after they have purchased. I don't see that changing, agents who have been here for many years and survived the many changes and challenges have proved they can do all of the above, and will continue to be successful.
If there was one thing that you could say made you feel different to the hundreds of other Estate Agents in the Costa Blanca, what would that be?
John and Andrea:
As a small company we offer a very personal service to our clients. We try to get to know our clients personally to better understand their needs and ideas, meaning we can source properties that meet or indeed exceed their expectations. We treat our sellers in the same way, as they have many different reasons for selling and we can often find solutions that suit their needs too. Listening to the client has been one of the fundamental reasons for our success over the years.