Interview With Mary Dunne; MP Dunne Properties
Having co-hosted the widely acclaimed UK Home Channel television programme “Marbella Mansions” as one of the most recognised real estate agents on the coast, Mary Dunne shares her experience as a real estate agent in Spain for the last 18 years.
Originally from Ireland, she moved to Spain where she took her Real Estate Diploma at Barcelona University. From there she has built up a very successful career, working as Sales Director in one of the top Marbella real estate agencies before opening MP Dunne Properties in 2010.
Mary, you earned an MBA in Real Estate Management, would you say this has contributed to your success?
Yes, definitely, when I first started in real estate we did all the contracts ourselves, so I really learned everything from the ground up. In 1995 I got my GIPE licence (Gestor Intermediario en Promociones de Edificaciones) which was particularly beneficial as it gave me all the basics and prepared the way for my MBA later. I did a lot of property developing and was on the Board of Directors for two major projects, Finca San Antonio in Mijas and Aloha Hill Club in Marbella, so what the MBA did was to give me a lot of urbanistic knowledge to help with the project planning, as well as the skills needed to run a business and, in particular, a real estate business.
What’s been the biggest influence behind your career?
My late husband, Sven Lindahl, was the person who got me involved with property in the first instance. He was originally from Sweden and, as a Building Engineer, had a passion for real estate and property development. He taught me all the ”ins and outs” of the industry that no book could ever teach you, and he also instilled in me his passion and great attention to detail. Thanks to him, I was able to develop both my technical knowledge and sales skills.
What are your greatest strengths?
Knowledge and experience. I’ve literally sold thousands of properties throughout my career, and that’s the only way to gain experience. I know the Marbella area inside-out and, of course, extensive product knowledge is a must if you want to be successful here. Only time in the business can give you that. Negotiating is my greatest strength, I always strive to reach a win-win situation for both clients, and can act well as the middle-man, taking the negotiations to the next level in order to secure the “impossible” deals. But, although essential, I am convinced that none of this can bring success in this business unless it goes hand-in-hand with honesty and integrity: I try to tell it how it is, tactfully of course, and as a “people person” I try to make time spent with clients both informative and enjoyable!!!
Your offices are right on the Golden Mile, opposite the Marbella Club Hotel. What made you choose this location?
Office location is an extremely important factor to success. We opened here in 2010 and although it was a big investment for us, and ultimately a big gamble, I am glad to say that it is paying off!! It was always my dream to have something open and accessible to the public, so these premises fit the bill perfectly. But the location of the office alone means nothing without the people in it!! It has taken a long time to pull together such a strong team of professionals to cover the sales and admin sides of the business. Both are equally important and must complement each other in order to work efficiently and move in the same direction. It´s not just about sales: you need a strong support team to keep things running well in the office, one that makes sure that everyone and everything is in the right place at the right time!! They are all fantastic and I am extremely grateful to each and every one for their hard work and dedication.
Is the Internet an important tool for you?
Our website is huge, and is still growing!! It is in four languages and we’ve rebranded everything this year. The site is very sophisticated, technically speaking, which makes it totally user-friendly, interactive and mobile. Mobile apps are an important tool in today’s market, with more and more people using them every day. You have to stay current and the Internet allows us to put reliable information at the fingertips of users quickly, no matter where they are. Our market is global so this helps us to communicate and keep in touch internationally, not only through our website and company blog, but through our presence on the Social Networks as well.
You said in your blog that you’ve had lots of interest from Russian clients recently. Is this where the majority of business is coming from just now?
The 4 main client groups are British, Russian, Scandinavian and French speaking, with the British still in the No.1 spot, followed by the Russians. I have long-standing business relations and experience with the Russian market, having first visited Moscow for work reasons in 1996, so when they started showing interest in Marbella again, we did not hesitate to create a Russian department, with Russian speaking staff to serve their needs, as they represent an important client base for us now.
What challenges do you face as a company?
Getting good listings at the right asking price. Every house has a buyer regardless of where it is, but the secret is in getting the price right. We didn’t want to do repossessions initially, but we have clients who only want bank properties, and we have to cater for what people want. In today´s market there are buyers at every level, and they know that prices are currently at an all-time low. We have reached the point where it is possible to purchase a house today for less than it actually cost to build. BUT it will only sell if the buyer perceives it to be well priced and he is getting excellent value for money.
What advice do you have for people who are looking to buy just now?
Do your research, and rather than running around with loads of agents, pick one who will do all the running for you!! USE your agent: use their local knowledge, their product knowledge, and their professional network, through which they should have access to all properties. Even if they do not have your ideal property on their books, they should be able to source it for you through their network of collaborating agents. And be truthful with your agent, about your reality and your wish list: it will save everybody a lot of time and reduce frustration levels.
What are your plans for next year?
To take MP Dunne Properties into the top 5 real estate agencies in Marbella. I want people to say “I’m going to use Mary” either to help them find the house of their dreams or when thinking of putting their property up for sale. I want to be known as one of the best here, not necessarily the No.1, but definitely one of the top 5, and I think this is more than achievable with the exceptional team of professionals that I have working alongside me.
MP Dunne Properties, Centro Expo Loc.11-12, Blvd. Alfonso Hohenlohe, 29602 Marbella, Tel (+34) 952 866 072