A YEAR spent living on oil rigs off Scotland was enough to convince Scott Marshall that he would never leave the Costa del Sol again.
Having grown up in Benahavis, the estate agent from Propertiespain had moved to Scotland in a bid to find work having undertaken a degree in mechanical engineering.
“It was only after a spending a year in Aberdeen that I realised what a great quality of life we have here,” he explained.
So I came straight back out here and started working for a home cinema company, selling entertainment systems all over the coast, before going into real estate.
Now the proud owner of one of the Costa del Sol’s most thriving agencies, Scott’s love for his home town of Benahavis is clear.
“People always talk about Marbella and Estepona, but I think Benahavis is the real hidden gem of the coast,” he said.
“The town hall is the wealthiest per inhabitant in the whole of Spain, which means there are all sorts of subsidies here that just don’t exist anywhere else.”
So when the 39-year-old decided to set up a property business in 2009, there was no better place for it to be based.
“It was such an easy decision for me to set up here, because I have known all these areas since I was born and it’s where I’ve spent nearly all my life,” said Scott.
The son of well-known local sculptor David Marshall, Scott spent nine years managing three real estate businesses in Mijas Costa and Torrox, for a UK-based firm.
When the company folded in 2009, however, Scott decided that now was the time to go it alone.
“Everyone thought I was crazy setting up right in the middle of the financial crisis mess. But in the first year alone I made back everything I had invested, and since then we’ve more or less doubled our business year on year.
“It’s selling that I really enjoy, and when I was headhunted by a local real estate business I jumped at the chance. Through that opportunity I’ve now been able to set up my own company.”
Nestled in the mountainside only seven kilometres from the coast, Benahavis is home to nine golf courses and so many restaurants that it is often called the dining room of the Costa del Sol.
Propertiespain takes advantage of the region’s diverse geography to offer a huge variety of properties to their customers, from well-priced or luxury apartments to mountainside villas and mansions, and everything in between.
Benahavis’ location has protected it from the notorious overdevelopment of much of the Costa del Sol.
“You’re not in some souvenir town, it still feels like you’re in Spain. It’s still very traditional and authentically Spanish.”
In fact, Scott’s father David was one of the very first expats to arrive in the area, after moving out here from Scotland more than 50 years ago.
“When my father first arrived there was almost nothing here. But it has really flourished thanks to the work of my father and the old mayor Antonio Mena, who died a couple of weeks ago.
“Between the two of them, they’ve really put Benahavis on the map.
“Our office is actually in a development that my father built nearly 24 years ago, and people come here just to see the courtyard and the beautiful buildings.”
It is because of the work of people like David Marshall that Benahavis is now known for being home to some of the most desirable properties on the coast.
And Scott is adamant that it’s a buyer’s market right now.
“The property market has really picked up over the last couple of years, and now it’s extremely good.
“Most properties have dropped in price by about 40 or 50%, so you can pick up a property now for approximately what it would cost to build. In some cases they’re going for even less.”
People are coming to Benahavis to take advantage of that, and Propertiespain have sold to customers from all over the world, including Finland, Switzerland, Russia, Sweden and even further afield.
And with an office in the centre of the town, Propertiespain are well-placed to offer a range of customer support, including recommendations for builders, architects, lawyers and gardeners.
“That we’re a local company really makes a difference – we know everyone here, the sellers, the postman, the local butcher.
“We’re well established in the community which gives our customers confidence in us. They know we’re not going to disappear anywhere, and we’ll always be here to call on if they need us.”
Visit www.propertiespain.com or call 952 855 489