Following the visit to Greece Sotheby’s International Realty new Offices by Michael Valdes, Global Vice President of International Servicing for Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, it was a great opportunity to discuss with both Michael Valdes and Savvas Savvaidis about the recent acquisition of Greece Sotheby’s International Realty and its positive impact to the high end real estate market in Greece.

Mr Savvaidis, Sotheby’s International Realty in Greece! Can you please tell more about it?

Savvas Savvaidis: We are delighted, as after more than three years of contacts, our company has acquired the international brand Sotheby’s International Realty for Greece. By trading as Greece Sotheby’s International Realty we are now fully immersed in the world’s finest luxury real estate network.

Sotheby’s International Realty is at the very top of the real estate profession, with 900 offices in the most prestigious locations in 65 countries, 19,000 property consultants and a sales volume in excess of 80 billion euros a year.

This is an exciting development not just for us, but also for the whole country. The presence of Sotheby’s International Realty puts Greece firmly on the map of premium real estate worldwide, showcasing our country to the highest category of buyers and real estate investors. The main characteristic of this category of buyers, is not just financial standing but also significant influence on a wider social scale, including lifestyle and tourism. High quality tourism and distinguished real estate are directly connected.

Having visited the most important real estate destinations worldwide, I believe that many locations in Greece have the potential to acquire a unique identity as five stars destinations in the Med. With more than 2000 islands, lapped in brilliant blue waters and rich beauty Greece is a true paradise for both holidays or relocation.

What is the relationship between the famous Sotheby’s auction house and Sotheby’s real estate?

Savvas Savvaidis: Sotheby’s Auction House was founded in London in 1774 initially for books and later for art. It soon became known for reliability at the highest level and the name Sotheby’s quickly became established as the ultimate luxury brand in the world. The Auction House is known for the sale of high value works of art such as for example The Scream by Edward Munch, which was sold in 2012 at auction in London for USD 119.9 million, a record price for the company.

In 1973, the move into real estate came as a natural step. It is said that at one time such was the size of clients private art collections that it became necessary to find an additional home or space to accommodate them! Sotheby’s International Realty is currently the largest luxury real estate company in the world. Just a month ago Sotheby’s International Realty finalised one of the largest property sales in the world. This was for the sale of the Waggoner Ranch comparable in size to New York State. Although the price has not been officially announced, the media speculation is that the price was around $700 million.

Mr Valdes what does the presence of Sotheby’s International Realty on Greece mean to you?

Firstly I want to say how happy we are to have found Savvas, who is not only one of the most reputable and experienced professionals in the world of real estate in Greece, with countless international awards and a consecutive sales record in the second home market, but more importantly a company with family traditions and values.

Secondly, Greece is a special place to me as it is one of the most exciting countries in the world and the experiences it offers give a unique impetus to people from all over the world to visit. The unique natural beauty amazes me everytime I visit Greece. This is, in fact, the competitive advantage of your country. It offers the ideal conditions for someone to buy a house in which to spend their holidays.

Over the coming months, and in collaboration with the Marketing Department of Sotheby’s International Realty, we will be promoting the country with articles and presentations in the international press to create a spotlight on Greece. There will be international events organised together with Sotheby’s Auction House.

How are properties marketed in the international markets?

Savvas Savvaidis: For the last 12 months our team has worked intensively to get the on-line interface platform up and running to connect the 900 offices of the Sotheby’s Realty network, which allows us to showcase in real time selected properties from our portfolio in all branch offices (EGallery system), we also receive on a 24 hour basis inter-office enquiries from potential clients with an interest in the Greece’s property market.

Sothebysrealty.com receives around 2 million unique visits per month and our property portfolio is advertised with the most influential world media: News York Times, International New York Times, Mansion Global, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Country Life, London Times, Economic Times, Financial Times, James Edition, Juwai.com. There is no doubt that buyers and vendors alike will see an impressive advancement in the services we now offer. For the first time our local property owners can see their home advertised for sale to an elite worldwide audience.

At the same time we are progressing with advertising our properties in our Affiliates’ Offices in areas such as New York, London, Paris, Milan, Geneva, Brussels, Monaco, Frankfurt, Berlin, Moscow, Dubai, Peking and Tel Aviv.

Should we expect to see only high value properties for sale with Sotheby’s International Realty?

Savvas Savvaidis: Although our starting price tag is one million euro, price is not the only criteria when we list a property to our portfolio; quality, design and location are also very much considered. On a daily basis we evaluate client’s property without cost to the client and accept those that we consider to be a match to our clients needs. We also offer free advice to clients, as to how, with little expense, they can upgrade their home to greatly improve the chances of reaching a sale.

In comparison with Spain and Portugal, what do you think Greece offers more?

Michael Valdes: An element that certainly makes Greece stand out is its unique culture and history, which offers something different to its visitors. Looking back on the past of Greece and the lifestyle, in my opinion, Greece is one of the most interesting places on the planet.

How do you think that people perceive Greece as a luxury real estate destination at a global level?

Michael Valdes: I think there are specific places in Greece that are brands on their own. When one thinks of Mykonos or Corfu island – which are internationally identified- understands the power of these names in the international Luxury Real Estate market. I think they give a stimulus to all of us to discover even more places in Greece, such as the Hydra, which I have visited and I find wonderful.

Which is the first amenity that a foreign investor is asking for in Luxury Real Estate?

Michael Valdes: It depends on the origin of the potential buyer.
Some people are looking for security, some others anonymity, privacy … in some cases they are only interested in the experience.

How can people contact you?

Savvas Savvaidis: Our Office are located in the heart of Athens, at 11 Voukourestiou and Panepistimou st. open daily from 10:00 – 17:00. The easiest way is via email at info@sothebysrealty.gr