I would do everything for love (and a sale)

With decades of real estate experience on the Rock, the Olive Press’ new columnist, the ‘Secret Agent’ has more than a few tales up his/her sleeve. Welcome to the first column, where one customer is looking for more than just a house, school, cars and a boat for his family...

LAST UPDATED: 18 Oct, 2015 @ 15:21

YEARS ago, long before starting a career in property, I remember thinking… ‘Real estate, how hard can it be?’

secret-agentAs it turns out, not so hard, just as long as you are a qualified psychologist, tax adviser, lawyer, accountant, relocation expert, interior designer, marriage counsellor and, very often, a good friend.

I thought women were the only ones who could multitask but estate agents are something else entirely.

Let me give you an example:

This month a wealthy, open-minded, English-educated entrepreneur became a client insisting Gibraltar was the place for him and his young family.

But while finding the perfect home to match his very specific criteria, the word ‘compromise’ kept creeping into my vocabulary. Gib is a very small place, after all, and we are limited by space!

I quickly knew I would have to be inventive – especially having discovered that husband and wife both had completely disparate and conflicting requirements.

“I want to renovate and improve,” stated the rather geeky husband.

“I want something new and shiny,” responded the chic, stylish wife.

A session of marriage counselling over, we compromise, and went off to find the (nearly) perfect house.

Next up, I was asked to explain the benefits of the state schooling system in Gibraltar versus international schools in Spain and boarding schools in the UK.

While interviewing the children, I felt I was no longer an estate agent but a Gabbitas education expert.

Finally, as if by magic, the possibility of being educated in a well-renowned private school right on their doorstep prevailed. “I had a mate who went to a school at Prior Park, in Bath,” he exclaimed excitedly. “He turned out to be a great cricketer,” he added.

Bravo! I thought. One less thing to worry about.

“Can they attend university in Gibraltar?” he asked, almost the day the lovely new university had its official opening here. Things were getting better and better (and making my job easier).

So quick update: House found, school sourced, the potential of a uni on your doorstep, money parked and deposit paid.

Job over? Not yet. Next they need two cars AND a boat, and after 10 minutes of research I am a people-carrier expert, helped by a mate, a car aficionado, who was able to rattle off the CO2 emission levels.

My knowledge of water transport had previously been limited to Dolphin Safari,  but within 24 hours of research I was soon an expert on the luxury boat market.

So happy times, I have helped him in all of his endeavours and, I think, exceeded his expectations.

After all, everything really is possible in a small place like Gibraltar; home, school, university, decoration, cars and boat.

Finally, when pen has been put to paper, a celebratory dinner is in order after 10 days of 24/7 service.

The client and I head for a sundowner at La Sala when I’m requested to do one last thing…

“You couldn’t discretely house my mistress somewhere close; could you?” he whispered.

You couldn’t make it up.

• Send your ideas and thoughts for our secret agent at [email protected]

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