AFTER more than 40 years of business, Kristina Szekely has more than made her mark on the Costa Del Sol.
Her real estate empire has a distinctly cosmopolitan flavour, with German, Spanish, and Swiss employees giving her Puerto Banús office the feel of a mini Europe.
She explains: “A client here will almost certainly be able to speak their native tongue to one of us”.
Kristina herself speaks seven languages, having been brought up in Budapest and Sweden, before moving to Spain where she learnt English, Swedish, German and French.
The key to her success is her love of meeting people.
“My clients are my friends and my friends often become my clients,” she says.
The business also has offices in Marbella, Sotogrande, and Gibraltar.
Kristina tells me Gibraltar has been a safe haven for investment over the past decade, and it has become a real battleground for buyers as its desirability continues to go up.
“The appeal is obvious, it has great health care, an airport, and beautiful views everywhere”, she says.
They are not just confined to selling homes either, having more recently delved into the restaurant and hotel market.
Her contacts extend far beyond Spanish borders, she even tells me she is currently working on a site in Miami.
“I like to get to know the people, I still meet some of my old clients who I first sold to 40 years ago.”
Her breadth of knowledge of Andalucia is obvious, in a recent meeting with a client, she even recommended a school for her kids. In fact she is more than happy to make any other recommendation that the client needs to feel comfortable.
Above all, her love of Spain and Spanish culture is the driving force behind her work.
“Everytime I go abroad, I feel something is missing, and when I return to Spain, I feel completely content again,” she says.
Though much of the business has migrated online, Kristina says that there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings to get to know the client.
Her office is open most hours of the day and in summer it closes at midnight, such is her belief in the value of business with a handshake rather than an email.
Coronavirus seems to have had a minimal impact on the running of business, nevertheless everyone around them and within the office team has had to regularly pass the COVID test.
“I think, that having had three vaccines, I will be immune for a long time,” she adds, saying that a safe working environment is a priority.
“We only closed our office for two months, then everyone was back in the office, with strict health protocols in place.
As a Member of the Marbella Rotary Club, past President of the female Association for professional ladies, AMPREM, Kristina actively supports local charities.
Little wonder then that business is booming.
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