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Interview with Christopher Hara, Owner and Managing Director of Fine and Country Costa Blanca North

Fine and Country Costa Blanca Northis a Real Estate Agency that specializes in the sale of Luxury and Lifestyle properties around the world, and caters to a clientele of the most discerning variety, who seek only the most exclusive addresses around. 

The Luxury Lifestyle Awards TOP 100 Real Estate Brokers & Developers in the World for 2022 winner Fine and Country Costa Blanca North have made it their business to sell the dream of the Costa Blanca North lifestyle, with access to some of the most exclusive properties in the World. Offering clients, a holistic Real Estate service that includes resales, new builds bespoke state-of-the-art properties, and investment properties. 

High-end Real Estate is a niche market, with a particular set of demands from its customers, and Fine and Country Costa Blanca North has given us an opportunity to learn a bit more about what it takes to make it in the Costa Blanca North market, how they got started, and what the future holds for the Real-Estate giants.  

Luxury Lifestyle Awards: How did Fine and Country come about? 

Christopher Hara: Founded in the UK in 2002, Fine & Country was established with the sole intention of assisting independent estate agents in competing within the upper quartile of the property market. Thanks to the dedication of a strong, knowledgeable, and passionate team of marketing, tech and real estate professionals, Fine & Country is now a multi-award-winning luxury estate agency present in over 300 locations, spanning four continents. 

LLA: What are your clients looking for and what steps do you take to make sure you find them that perfect home? 

 CH: We cater for clients of all nationalities who are looking for in the main second homes or holiday/investment properties. 

The first step is to listen to our clients to determine their needs, what is the primary reason they are looking to buy a property here. 

The second step is their budget which is determined by their lifestyle needs as if they want to have sea views, be near a beach or south facing then we have to manage their expectations what they can get for their money. 

Thirdly is to match their lifestyle requirements, how often do they plan to use their property, do they want a property only to use during the summer months or is it for permanent living. 

The last step on the property search is making sure they are familiar with the areas and locations in our region to provide invaluable information about living, owning, and investing in the different types of property available and the specific lifestyle each location can offer. 

LLA: What separates you from other Real Estate Agencies, and how have you stayed at the top for so long? 

CH: With over 33 years’ experience in Sales & Marketing in Senior Management and then as a Director working with some of the world’s largest insurance groups and global leaders in Pensions, Investments and Life Assurance, I built a solid foundation of corporate partnerships with some of the UK’s leading Home Builders and Estate Agents. It was through my own personal experience of buying a property in Spain that I decided to become a Real Estate Agent which I have been for over 18 years, now living and working in the Costa Blanca North so I understand first hand the market here enabling me to provide invaluable information to clients looking to buy as I have been in their shoes. I have the experience and I have intimate knowledge of the area and a strong desire to make what is now my home, the home for my clients regardless as to whether that is for permanent or seasonal living.   

My business is built on dedication, communication and transparency and we have a second to none reputation for savvy negotiations, uncompromising integrity, and cutting-edge marketing strategies resulting in us winning consecutive property awards for Marketing & Exposure sponsored by The Telegraph, Best Office in Europe within the Fine & Country global network in addition to the Luxury Lifestyle award for two consecutive years as the Best Luxury Real Estate Agency in the Costa Blanca and the provinces of Alicante and Valencia.  More recently I have also become a founder member of the “Guild of Spanish Property Professionals” an association of professional property companies, sharing a strict code of conduct, who are fully dedicated to giving a highly personal, professional, and quality service to their buyers and sellers. 

LLA: Can you tell us a bit about the different types of properties you sell and the processes involved once you find a buyer? 

CH: We specialize in the marketing and sale of luxury and lifestyle properties that include resale, new builds, bespoke state of the art properties and investment opportunities. 

The process involved once you find a buyer for a property all depends on the type of property being purchased and we go through each stage of the process direct with our clients from the initial offer being made to being accepted and the buyer using an independent lawyer which we always recommend. 

LLA: What exciting new properties have you added to your portfolio? 

CH: We are constantly adding new properties to our portfolio bearing in mind that we only deal in quality not quantity.  We have a first-class range of properties from penthouse apartments to beach front villas to country estates.  Recently though we listed a unique investment property, a luxury country retreat currently used as a hotel, a private hidden hideaway with two helipads that has welcomed many a famous guests, Penelope Cruz among them. 

There is also a new development of energy efficient luxury apartments created for 21st century living and with an innovative design approach allowing residents to live within a community environment to enhance wellness and enrich lives with communal areas where you can do your daily workout in the fully equipped gym, enjoy swimming in the pool and relaxing afterwards in garden areas and where you can meet up to hang out with fellow residents in the designated social club area.  These apartments are being sold for permanent living and for holiday investment purposes as a car is not required to enjoy the beach and amenities. 

We also have some fabulous new build opportunities offering all year-round resort living with the most amazing sea views in a private enclave with bespoke designs, according to each client’s tastes and requirements, in an environment where luxury prevails, with security, private access for owners with access control. A resort that includes a shopping center, supermarket, hairdresser, chemist, bars and restaurants, tennis and Padel courts, hiking trails, international school, horse riding school, beach, and coves and one that is proving very popular with our American clients. 

LLA: What are a few specific things you look for in a property? 

CH: When dealing with luxury and lifestyle properties, first most of all is about a desirable location and amazing views.  A property that has been or is going to be built to the highest standard with exclusive features not normally associated with a more traditional house such as large open plan multi-functional living areas, gourmet kitchens, entertainment areas, indoor spas with heated pools, gymnasiums/fitness areas, home cinema rooms, games rooms, vinotheques, separate guest accommodation for visitors, ample garaging for several vehicles, the list could go on. However, since covid and how our lifestyles have changed dramatically luxury properties can be classed as those properties that give clients a fully accessible lifestyle, real places that allow them to live fuller lives. So, when looking at property specifics now we also look at walkable amenitized properties that allow clients to live fuller lives without the need for a car so they can transition from one segment of their lifestyle requirements to another by walking, bicycling and enjoying that freedom. 

LLA: What are some of the best things to do in Costa Blanca North and what draws so many ex-pats to the area? 

CH: Where do I start… the Region allows you to dine in fine dining and Michelin-starred restaurants, play golf in 5-star golf resorts, charter luxury yachts to sail along the coastline or to the nearby islands of Ibiza and Formentera, stroll around chic marinas and promenades, chill-out out in trendy cocktail bars and clubs or relax on an array of blue flag beaches since the coastline of the Costa Blanca North belongs to the provinces of Valencia and Alicante in the Comunidad Valenciana (Valencian Community) in Spain and the Valencian Community has the most blue flags than anywhere else in Spain, 158 in total.  

And of course, one of the main draws to our Region in addition to the alfresco lifestyle and abundance of activities and sports you can enjoy, on offer all year round is the excellent Mediterranean climate with over 320 days of sunshine. 

LLA: What tips would you give to prospective buyers in the area? 

CH: Make sure that the Real Estate Agent you use is a legally registered SL company and one that does not advocate an in-house legal team to ensure the lawyer is not working in the best interests of the agent only.   

If you are unfamiliar with the area, then make sure you are shown all the locations to find the one that best suits your lifestyle and requirements. If you are looking for a property for permanent living, then perhaps consider renting first to give you an idea. 

Spend time re-visiting the property to check for orientation of the sun at different times for those looking for a property with winter sun.  

Make sure your agent listens and understands your requirements and has the necessary experience. 

In the case of a resale ensure that your lawyer checks there are no debts on the property and that all the paperwork is legal and correct. 

LLA: What does the Luxury Lifestyle Awards TOP 100 award mean to you and the team? 

CH:  We are extremely proud to receive this distinguished award from the Luxury Lifestyle Awards.  As an existing LLA winner for the past two consecutive years which has allowed us to be put forward and then selected as one of the winners in the category of TOP 100 REAL ESTATE BROKERS AND DEVELOPERS is testament to the dedication, professionalism and commitment of our team who constantly strive to provide a unique and bespoke real estate experience for our clients whilst representing the Fine & Country brand. A brand that has been forged from mutual entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to revolutionizing the real estate industry. 

LLA: What does the future hold for Fine and Country Costa Blanca North? 

CH: Fine & Country Costa Blanca North will remain a family owned and run business and although it is part of a global brand, as a company, we will continue to retain our family values at the core of our business ethos.  As brand ambassador for Fine & Country Spain, facilitated by a powerful combination of innovative marketing, technology, and most of all the passion of our team we are determined to become the No.1 choice for clients in Spain, proudly flying the Fine & Country flag as the premium brand of choice for clients around the world. 

For more information, visit https://www.fineandcountry.es/en/costa-blanca-north-estate-agents  



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