ON a key strategic corner of central Marbella, an elegantly-dressed lady holds court, surrounded by half a dozen men.

“Hola Guapa,” shouts another from across the street, while a pair of bankers in pinstripe suits and ties sit patiently waiting for her in the conference room.

Welcome to Kristina Szekely Sotheby’s Realty’s brand new agency.

Wall to wall glass, travertine marble floors and the distinctive navy blue signs, this is exactly what you would expect for one of Spain’s most experienced expat agents.

Now in four separate bases along the coast, including Puerto Banus, Sevilla, Gibraltar and Sotogrande, the agency, closely allied to Sotheby’s in the UK, is clearly doing well.

It certainly looks this way at the new office, where a team of agents beaver away on phones and writing emails, while a pretty receptionist smiles and offers everyone tea and biscuits.

It only opened last month and is a good barometer of the year ahead for the company, believes Kristina, who has lived in Spain for over four decades.

“It’s strategic to cover the central Marbella area and great for listings,” she explains.

“I spotted it available on a Saturday, and again the next morning. It really got me thinking. Then when I drove past it again on Sunday evening, I decided I better stop and get the number to make an enquiry.”

Within a few days she had acquired the excellent location just a Golden Mile villa’s length from Marbella’s famous Alameda gardens and right opposite the entrance to the historic old town.

“It’s proved to be very positive, with so many friends and former clients popping in since we opened,” she continues.

“There are plenty of people round there who have known me for 20 to 30 years and some families, who I have worked for for three generations.

“One came in and told me I had sold his mother’s house and really recognised the effort I had put in some decades back,” she continues. “Hopefully he will use us when he comes to sell his home.”

A far more intelligent woman than many give credit for, she is a clever operator who understands the market better than most.

“We have had various people coming in looking for hotels, car parks, even petrol stations. They know the returns in Marbella are easily 5% per year, compared to much less in other areas.”

She continues: “Ricardo Soriano is also the nerve centre for lawyers and many other businesses. This is the financial district of Marbella and important to be seen here.”

Visit the new office at Calle Ricardo Soriano, 5, Marbella, or contact the team via www.ksmarbella.com or 952772000

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