“THERE are so many dreamers, but we are simply trying to deliver them to those who dream of luxury,” explains the owner of one of inland Andalucia’s most experienced estate agents.
Just one quick look at Oscar Ernstsen’s website Villas and Fincas and you understand immediately what he means.
These are not your average run-of-the-mill country properties or costa villas… the homes for sale via his agency, based in Casares, are simply extraordinary.
Fortresses, palaces and castles, this is one website that has them all.
“I guess you could say we are very picky,” explains the erudite Dutchman, 63. “We know immediately what we are after and we know our clients well.”
His buyers are cultured and sophisticated buyers, mostly from northern Europe, who realise that they can get a lot more from their money inland.
“They also appreciate 1000-year-old oaks, 800-year-old monasteries and they know they get far better quality of food at better prices,” he adds.
His family business – including wife Anita, daughter Nienke and two co-workers Rebecca and Aurelia – is certainly doing something right having its best year in two decades.
And he’s expecting things to get better.
“We’ve sold dozens of homes this year, millions of euros worth of property,” he explains. “But we just can’t get enough places to sell.”
Despite marketing many beautiful homes from the Serrania de Ronda all the way to Jaen and Huelva, he is desperate for more.
“We have a lot of American, Dutch, Belgian, Scandinavian and increasingly British buyers,” he says. “In fact over the last few weeks the British market is really back. It is growing and growing.
“The Brits love Spain and they are so fed up with waiting and they are prepared to put up with two 90-day periods a year over here.”
While he has dozens of amazing places to buy around the Ronda mountains, including Gaucin, Casares and Grazalema, his agency also has some plum properties further afield.
“We have just sold a huge estate near Aracena, in Huelva, and a current favourite of mine is a 3200 hectare hunting estate for 16m euros, north of Cordoba.
“We travel as far as four hours away, but it is more than worth it as there are so many stunning haciendas, hunting estates and country properties within that area.”
He continues: “One thing for sure, if clients want those big 1000m square villas you find in Zagaleta, then there are not many that size inland. You really need to be prepared to travel.”
Ernstsen and his wife Anita set up in Spain in 2001 having worked for developers in Holland and Portugal.
Their business grew slowly and organically out of an office in Casares and they have built up many good friends around the region.
“We are now getting to the point where we are selling homes again for a second time and we have lots of good personal recommendations,” he concludes.
Above all, he is delighted that as he approaches retirement age, that his daughter looks set to take over the business.
Having grown up in Andalucia, Nienke is bi-lingual, but has a degree in Chinese philosophy and has recently relocated back to Spain from Holland.
“She loves it here and knows it well,” explains her father. “In fact she is the perfect person to explain the benefits of buying in inland Andalucia.”
For more information visit www.villasfincas.com
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