What does it say on your business card?
Marc Elliot, Independent Mortgage Consultant, Fluent Finance Abroad. But since the credit crunch I should add “Bank Credit Department Cheerleader/Animator”. I could include “Agony Aunt” at times too!
Where are you based?
Lucky for me Marbella on Spain’s Costa del Sol – they’d have to drag me kicking and screaming from such a lovely place. I actually live and work in Marbella’s Old Town, just a stone’s throw from the beach, where the tapas bars and narrow picture-postcard streets create such a relaxing atmosphere that sometimes it’s easy to lose track of time, especially in the open-til-late bars, but that’s Spain for you I guess.
What is your business?
Well I live and die by what the banks do, so therefore I have had to diversify into some unexpected and some not so pleasant areas. I now advise some clients on how best to deal with unaffordable mortgages and analyse what fantastic property buying opportunities can be had via my legal and banking contacts here on the Costa del Sol. My main concern and wish is to get back to my core business which is money lending and I am very pleased to say that 2012 has seen some kind of normality return to the market. I also arrange insurances for my clients.
How many people do you employ?
I currently have two partners specializing in other areas such as international pension transfers and general advice or guidance with Spanish beaurocracy. I do not directly employ either.
What about buying/mortgage trends?
As a money lender, I tend to deal with a large number of real estate experts based here and the feedback I get is that large numbers of people are still looking at picking up a holiday homes in Spain – this is good news. They seem to have larger deposits than before and are looking at longer term lifestyle purchases rather than purely investment deals which the banks, the banks have more time for this more realistic buying activity. Clients are not just buying the first thing that comes their way and are making various trips before they take the plunge, this of course makes the estate agents work harder which keeps them on their toes. Remember that if you bought property in Spain in the past and made use of it for holidays for family and friends, the “lifestyle returns” of your property investment are hard to quantify – even if the current cash value isn’t what you’d expected to date – and that will continue to be true in the future. The last trend is that Spain is certainly a far more transparent place in which to do business these days, this can only be a good thing and enhance confidence in the buyer.
How interested are you in property?
On a personal level my interest in property is not that great, I leave that to my girlfriend. Like most ladies she enjoys having a nose at what can be done creatively with a property to add something to it. On a purely business level, I do find property very interesting given these challenging market conditions.