A1 Interview

We interviewed Agnieszka Kijonka at a luxury villa in Vilamoura to find out more about her company A1 Algarve Real Estate and her experience as a realtor in the Algarve.

It’s a pleasure speaking with you today, can you tell us where we are?

We are in a beautiful property today which I would like to show you. It’s not a property for sale which we usually have. As you know A1 Algarve Real Estate has recently started expanding as a luxury rental company. I’m excited about this, it feels like my baby and the flagship of A1 luxury rentals, having worked on this project for the last four months. (insert link for the rental property – instagram). A very luxurious 8-bedroom/suite luxury property with an XXl heated pool. It has a lot of extras, the hammam, gym, super xxl family beds, specifically child friendly. The villa seats up to 20 people, whether that’s indoor or outdoor dining or seating. It features a state of the art wine cellar and wine bar as well as a 6 car garage. The villa is incredibly special with an amazing concierge service to the most discerning of guests. It really is a lovely property to holiday in.

What a journey the last year has been for A1, can you start from the beginning, explaining how the changes have impacted A1 and yourself?

During the last year we moved to the Regus offices and it was one of the best decisions I have made. We have a lot more privacy and discretion, which is far better suited for our clients to come into the office. It allows our clients to visit us without people knowing that they are considering selling or purchasing a property, completely private. More and more A1 are listing “discreet listings” and our office at Regus, which is away from prying eyes, allows us to do this. Clients come over with their lawyers, architects and nobody knows what business matters are taking place which allows for full integrity throughout the whole process of buying or selling your property. The move to Regus is cost-effective, we are not dependent on running a vanity show with large showrooms, which has significant costs and impacts marketing expenditure etc. Our affordable and practical office space allows us to be very proactive on social media and after all this is key in the promotion of selling a property or finding a suitable buyer for your property.

How did you get into Real Estate, what were your previous career positions and did they develop into your position in real estate and heading up your own agency?

I graduated from University as an Art Historian with my masters and had my own gallery in Munich, which provided a great experience. I then decided to move to Portugal some 25 years ago. However, at that time Portugal was unlike Germany and didn’t have places to showcase high end art and so I moved into the real estate agency and used my creative skills. I became very passionate about real estate all those years ago and I still am today.

What was your favourite selling experience?

I don’t think there is a specific one, every deal is individual. Each client has their individual specifics and the rhetoric of my company is to make them happy and to serve their needs implicitly. This then becomes my favourite selling experience, a voyage if you will, where each one is unique.

What’s the favourite part of owning your own real estate agency, and now your new addition in the form of the luxury rental agency?

Probably the best thing is that I’m a nonconformist, that I try to keep my authenticity in working how I want to. I like to “think out of the box” and to see things treated in a different way, not like everybody else does. I like to couple my own ideas with an incredibly personalised level of service. My creative experience was the key area which enabled the owner of our first luxury rental villa to bestow upon me the design for the villa in terms of making it “rental ready” from interior designs and furnishings. “If a client wants me to climb the ladder, then I will!”

Why should A1 be hired as an agent or broker?

Our reputation with discretion first and foremost, we do not market your property with your name. That is one of the most important things and I firmly believe as to why we gain a lot of VIP clients without people knowing it. I find it most refreshing when I read in the media “When the agency states that they sold a certain property to a well known celebrity”, when in fact it wasn’t and it was actually A1!

What’s the most important aspect of an individual ensuring their house is ready to sell?

Licence, you have to have your licence in place, you can stage your house, we can paint your house, you can have the most manicured gardens and the most beautiful view. However, if you don’t have a licence in place, you won’t be able to sell it.

What’s your opinion on 2023 market trends?

I love this question. This question comes up every year from somebody else and is very intriguing. Last year I previewed this crazy market with the prices climbing and so was already aware and prepared that there would be a shortage of available properties and so we started listing. But the demand for housing outweighed the actual properties available in the marketplace. I believe that in 2023 it will be very similar, with people demanding property, people stuck in inflation which doesn’t stop overnight. They want to spend their money and now we have more and more high net worth individuals wishing to spend. I believe that this trend will continue and the American / Canadian market is buoyant and they are flocking to buy in Portugal, primarily due to their insecurity with ways of life and aggression on their streets. They are moving to Europe to have their freedom and also peace. The war in Ukraine is impacting the European countries wanting to buy here too, from Germans, Belgium’s, Austrians and Swiss as they feel they are too near to the emerging situation. Probably the best prices will stabilise at some point, but I don’t believe they will drop either. Again, I just don’t see any reason why we will have more properties on the market for the time being.