Work is currently underway to refurbish a prime location office in Praia do Carvoeiro for a Fine & Country brokerage, one of the world’s leading brands in luxury real estate.
Business partners Zoie Hawker and Richard Lamberth recently formed their company, Fino Propriedades Lda, and the agency will start trading in August ahead of the official opening in early September.
Managing partner Zoie Hawker is well known as an estate agent in Carvoeiro, having worked for the last six years at Winkworth estate agents and living in the area for over 30 years. Her father Brian Thompson, now retired, was also an estate agent in the town for over 25 years.
Fellow director and business partner Richard Lamberth will be less hands on in the company, spreading his time as he does between the Algarve and the UK, where he is a partner in prominent businesses such as Click4Quote.com, a major online insurance provider and Call Assist Ltd, the UK’s fourth largest vehicle recovery company, as well as operating his own business consultancy agency. Richard also has a background in real estate having started his career at Strutt and Parker in Essex and Devon.
The partners identified what they consider to be a gap in the local real estate market, in spite of the tough economic climate. “There has been a natural filtration of real estate businesses in the Algarve over the last few years,” said Zoie. “But we know that those who continue to be proactive, staying ahead of the game and tapping into niche markets continue to be very successful.
“A solid example is Fine & Country Cascais, a fellow member of the network who we will be working closely with. They recently reported over 25 million euros of business from Chinese investors over the last few months,” she added. But Zoie is quick to point out that the main market for Carvoeiro will always be the Brits and other traditional European markets.
“I was recently at the Portugal Property Conference in London talking to many industry professionals, and the fact is that over 50% of second home or retirement property sold here in the Algarve is still to the British.
“Non-traditional buyers such as the Chinese and the Russians are unlikely to ever equate to more than 20% of the market, and whilst we will be targeting these important niches most of our effort will be focused on the UK and other core markets.
“Fine & Country offers agents an unrivalled set of tools to tap into the top end of the market in the UK, and we plan to make full use of them,” she said.
In London, at Fine & Country’s Park Lane headquarters, there is a team of specialised marketing and PR experts who work closely with the UK press helping member agents to achieve maximum media exposure. The exclusive Park Lane address is also available to members to use for special events and property launches.
“The days when estate agents could sit back and wait for clients are over,” said Zoie. “We will offer a proactive marketing approach to our vendors and have no intention of seeing properties languish on our books for years on end.”
Richard Lamberth is equally excited about the opportunities presented by the business: “I have invested in a number of exciting business opportunities over the years and now I am very pleased to be investing in this promising new estate agency business focused on the quality market in the Algarve.”