Friday, February 5, 2021

We had a chat with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Marbella to get their view on the current market

Jonas Krumnikl and Luca Tamburello are the Co-founders and managing directors of the Marbella branch of the global real estate agency of Warren Buffet, one of the worlds most reputable investors.

Thank you for doing this interview with us. We are excited to present you to our audience of clients and investors in Scandinavia. 

Let us start with your company name, (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Marbella) which I think is quite well known to most investors from around the globe as it has a direct connection with one of the world’s most high profiled investors, Warren Buffet. Give us the background to that please: 

Formerly known as Value Added Property, founded by partners Luca Tamburello and Jonas Krumnikl, the company has joined one of America’s fastest-growing real estate brokerage networks, with 52,000+ agents and nearly 1,500 offices worldwide since its launch in September 2013. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Marbella is a property consultancy agency offering a unique product and services mix in the luxury residential and commercial space performing full brokerage and transaction management functions. With over 10 years experience in providing unparalleled services in high-end luxury properties, villas and apartments, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Marbella perform the full range of professional investment advice on all aspects of purchasing a property in Marbella. Our value proposition revolves around the principle of simplifying and streamlining our clients’ bespoke property investment strategies, all done so with the utmost confidentiality. 

The operation in Marbella from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices comes a year after the firm made its debut in the Spanish real estate market. Like in other markets, Buffett’s real estate agency chose to ally itself with a local and established partner in Madrid, in this case, the chosen firm was Larvia, a real estate consultancy founded in 2012 by the Rabassa family, owner of the property developer Petrus. After landing offices in Madrid and Barcelona, the priority was to open the market in Marbella. The American firm analysed thoroughly the market to buy out a new partner. After extensive research and due diligence, the Management Team from the former Value Added Property were chosen to represent the international brand locally. There is an ambitious expansion plan to open more offices not only across the Costa del Sol but also at a national level in the top locations such as Ibiza, Costa Brava and the Canary Islands. With a clearly defined international expansion plan, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is now operating in London, Milan, Berlin, Dubai and Madrid with more offices to be opened in the near future across Europe and Worldwide. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was recognised as “Real Estate Agency Brand of Year” and “Most Trusted Real Estate Brand” in the 2018 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study and was awarded no.3 spot in the 2019 Fortune’s 10 most admired companies in the World, just behind Apple and Amazon. 

How has life as an estate agent in Marbella changes since you became a part of Berkshire Hathaway? 

The reputation of the brand generated tremendous interest in our local market. Both local and international media published extensive coverage back in June 2020 when it was announced Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was entering the Marbella market. Even though the human team is the same with some minor additions, the firm is now among the few organisations entrusted to use the world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway name and is set to customise and deliver a refined home buying and selling experience distinguished by the highest standards of integrity, expertise, and sophistication. Despite the current market turmoil and global uncertainty due to the COVID pandemic, we have been overwhelmed by the positive reaction of the market and the enormous interest the brand is able to generate. We have had an important influx of new business and opportunities coming our way simply because of the brand and what it represents. This has translated into powerful alliances with collaborators and developers, capturing exclusive listings and of course closing important transactions. 

You are both raised in Marbella and have been in real estate for many years. How has the Marbella market changed in the last 10 years? 

We were best friends from childhood and school mates from Marbella. Despite living abroad at the time, we founded the company Value Added Property in 2009 with a vision to offer a very personalised serviced and tailor-made property solutions for our clients. Our personal relationship with clients goes beyond the sale to meet their property needs at all levels, offering a wide range of management services. We work hard to exceed clients’ expectations always striving to combine integrity and energy with expertise. We believe in providing professional investment advice with a spirit that is both fresh and productive. A unique combination of local market knowledge and entrepreneurial flair gives our clients access to exclusive opportunities. When we started back in 2009 there was a huge global recession because of the banking crisis, which had a meaningful negative impact on the Spanish real estate market, as well as Marbella. It was a fun time because we had to establish ourselves, create our network and make a name for ourselves. Back then there were many deals to pick up for investors and oversupply of properties on the market. There was an ever focus on representing qualified buyers. Now it's a different ball game. Competition is fierce, the market has been on the uprise since 2010, there are many new developers who have entered the market both national and international. On the contrary, there has been a lot of demand for luxury properties ready to move in at all levels and supply has been scarce. With prices ever increasing it has been difficult to find good opportunities and there has been a shift on the market towards securing good quality listings. 

How would you compare the crisis caused by the corona pandemic to the financial crisis that played out in 2008 and the years that followed?

In spite of this historic shock to the world’s economies and the expected economic recession, banks appear to be in a relatively strong position, as well as many, if not most, of the property developers. 

The market is nowhere near overheating, as it was in the years prior to 2008. Prices in the Marbella area (except for prime and ultra-prime properties) have not reached pre-2008 highs. Many have earned and saved a lot of money since the last crisis. Wealthy buyers will seed a demand, in most cases, for very well-priced properties. Although opportunity seekers have plenty of cash and are ready to pounce, many of them will be disappointed, since Marbella has a tremendous number of well-off owners who are in no rush to sell at drastically reduced prices. The main reasons for buying a property in Marbella, namely the beautiful climate and lifestyle, have become even more important to people now than ever before the coronavirus crisis began. Tourism has stopped dead in its tracks, creating the biggest immediate challenge to our industry However important to highlight that some new properties under construction will see developers being squeezed by the banks so have no other option to reduce their prices. This is especially true in the mid to lower end of the spectrum of the market. 

In what areas and for what type of properties do you see the most demand in the last 12 months? 

Prime locations are holding out strong. Golden Mile, Sierra Blanca, El Paraiso and Golf Valley, Nueva Andalucia and beachside across the coast. There will be more buyers wanting gardens with pools and properties with large terraces, after so many weeks of being confined to the walls of their homes. After all, life in Marbella has always been about inside/ outside living, and there will be those who decide that their present homes are unsatisfactory, and now is the time to change. The result of the lockdowns around the world could well be that many more people will feel more comfortable with the idea of working remotely in the future and give increased urgency to their lifestyle goals. As a result, we have no doubt that many will make major lifestyle changes quickly and decide to buy a second residence or semi-permanent home in our lovely low-density, garden-city of Marbella with its unique lifestyle which has made this area so popular for more than six decades. 

Marbella has been a playground for the wealthy for many years going back to the '70s and it´s not uncommon to see famous athletes, movie stars and high profiled tech entrepreneurs on the streets. But it´s also a lot of "regular people" from across the globe that find their way to Marbella because of the climate and high quality of life. How would you describe the mix of home buyers that you help finding a new home?

€10bn was poured into Spanish real estate over the course of last year. Foreign investors accounted for 68% of that total. Cash buyers mainly from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Middle East. While Marbella property was once the focus of retired British golfers and internationally successful business owners looking for second or third residencies abroad, we are seeing a shift: We’re seeing lots of entrepreneurs and business owners who are either looking to relocate or spend part of the year in and around Marbella as they can commute to their home countries once or twice a month to conduct face to face business via Malaga international airport. Big online companies have moved their businesses and workforce to the Costa del Sol, as the same work can be done over the cloud from sunny Marbella. 

According to your outlook, what will Marbella look like in 5 years? 

Spain is one of the very best places in the world to retire offering unparalleled quality of life. In the prestigious Forbes list on the topic, Spain has no fewer than three destinations in the global top-ten, and we as people who have lived and worked here for a long time, think we have a good idea why. Marbella will continue to be a hotspot for buyers from all over the world. It will come back stronger than ever after the pandemic is over. In the near future, it could become a small city with an ever-growing younger international business community. 

So, if you would have, let's say €3 000 000 to invest in Marbella real estate today, what would you look for? 

We would look for a well-located renovation project to flip. The trend is that people like turnkey properties and buyers are looking for ready to move-in homes which are comfortable and practicable with all the modern demands. Outdoor living space with ample terraces or garden space, flex spaces/home offices, home automation and modern style with open concept. Very little tolerance for outdated designs and features, even in situations where the construction is relatively new. They view the place where they live as playing a critical role in promoting their overall sense of wellness- Spas, pools, and gyms are becoming ubiquitous. Environmentally conscious: Energy efficiency, lighting quality, and the flow of air and water have become important considerations as wealthy buyers increasingly expect buildings to be eco-sensitive.

Finally, what is an interview about Marbella if we don't at least touch on the topic of quality of life? For some, life quality is to spend a quiet weekend in the mountains, others find new energy on the golf course. How do you prefer to spend a weekend in Marbella? 

Those who come in search of a free, healthy outdoor life where they can watch their children grow up safely are attracted not only by the climate and good educational and sporting facilities but also by the active social scene and a Spanish society still very much focused on family and community. If ever there was a pan-European community it is along this coast, with its international schools, multilingual businesses and the amazing variety of cuisines on offer in Marbella, where you can find fine restaurants catering to anything from the familiar to the exotic. The city is becoming ever more health-conscious and with many outdoor activities and different sports available for its residents, from hiking and trail running & mountain biking to the recent ironman events, the tennis culture and none but not least home to over 100 courses on the coast. There are endless day trips from Marbella across the coast, from charming Andalusian villages such as Ronda, Vejer, Tarifa etc, to the white sandy beaches of Cadiz, the incredible skiing experience of Sierra Nevada, visits to cultural cities such as Sevilla, Granada and Cordoba. None but not least it's capital of Malaga which has become a cosmopolitan city full of entertainment, culture & art with one of the most important airports in Spain with international direct flights across the globe.

To read more ambout Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Marbella, visit their website:

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