East Algarve Magazine interview - September 2020

New Beginnings For Some Familiar Faces....


At the beginning of July 2020, a brand new real estate company opened its doors in the East Algarve, just 300 metres from the “Sail” roundabout at the entrance to Tavira. Compass Property Sales is a fully licensed and independent real estate company focusing on residential property sales in the East Algarve and the Central Algarve. We sent our roving reporter to speak with one of the owners, Sandra Swoboda, to find out a little more about the new company.


Good morning Sandra. So, my first question is how many people do you have working at Compass Property Sales?

Good morning and welcome to our new office. Currently we have three full time people working including myself, Paul Greenhalgh – my business partner and Tanja Hellmund who has worked side by side with me in the Algarve throughout my real estate career.


You obviously have many different nationalities buying and selling property in the Algarve, so how many different languages are spoken at Compass?

Yes as we all know the Algarve is very cosmopolitan and fortunately we speak four languages between us fluently including English, German, Portuguese and French.


Most real estate agents in the Algarve tend to concentrate on one region so why have you decide to focus on both the East Algarve and the Central Algarve?

My real estate career started in Tavira and it is where my heart is. Having sold properties in Tavira and throughout the region for 14 years, I know the area and the property market extremely well and it is where we decided we wanted the main office to be. Paul, however, has sold real estate throughout the Central Algarve since 2000 so when we set the company up we also wanted to capitalize on his experience and passion for selling properties in that area and so we agreed that the areas in and around Loule, Almancil, Sao Bras de Alportel, Santa Barbara de Nexe and Estoi would also be a focus for the company. 


You mention Tavira is your main office. Do you have another one?

Yes we do. It is based in Loule but it is purely an administrational office. It is used primarily to allow us to coordinate quickly and efficiently with our customers and clients in the Central Algarve.  


Most Real Estate offices in Tavira seem to be located downtown so why did you choose this location near the “Sail” roundabout for your main office?

To be honest we did look in downtown Tavira initially but the offices and shops available were quite small and we were adamant that we wanted a much more modern looking and spacious office to accommodate our plans to grow the company. We found this empty unit, saw the potential in it and set about renovating and furnishing it into the offices you see now.


Have you finished all the works in the office that you want to do?

Almost. We have a few more ideas we want to implement internally in the coming months and we are still waiting for our large external company signs to be made. Currently we only have the fixed banners on the office windows and office doors showing the company name so of course the outside signage is very important. 


You do seem to have a lot of passing traffic here?

Yes we do as it is one of the main roads out of Tavira. Due to the large sales area we cover, we also wanted an office location that was easy to access not just for our East Algarve clients but also for our Central Algarve clients. As you realised when you arrived, one of the biggest advantages we have is the fact that visitors to Compass can park directly outside the office.


So apart from passing traffic, how else are you attracting business?         

At every available opportunity we are pushing our recently launched, daily updated and very easy to use website at www.compasspropertysales.com , which showcases the property listings we have for sale directly from the owners. At the same time we are increasing the exposure of our properties by having them listed on several high profile and international property portals including Zoopla and PrimeLocation. In addition to internet based marketing, we also recognize the importance of advertising in local newspapers and magazines and so we will continue to spread the name of Compass Property Sales and advertise our properties for sale in these publications. In September we will be organising our first of many invitation only coffee mornings (or wine afternoon´s – we haven’t decided yet 😊) when we invite a small group of people from the local community to our office for an informal get together to chat about Tavira, what´s new and any property related matters that arise in the hope that this will also help bring in new business from time to time. Up until now, however, it has been the positive reaction we have received due to word of mouth that is helping our business the most and we are so grateful for this. Reputation is hugely important to Paul and myself and having worked in the Algarve real estate industry for 20 and 14 years respectively, we are lucky that we have met many people over the years who are keen to recommend us to clients looking to buy and sell property.


So were you apprehensive about opening Compass Property Sales with everything that is going on with Covid19 and Brexit?

Well when we decided to open Compass, Covid19 had not hit the headlines so it didn’t have any bearing on the timing and we have been dealing with Brexit for 4 years now so we are used to the issues that that raises. Whenever you open a new company there are bound to be challenges to face but as a team we have the experience, the knowledge and the determination to make sure that Compass is successful. 


What do you think the affect will be on property sales due to the ongoing Covid19 and Brexit issues?

During the coronavirus lockdown of course this meant fewer visitors arrived in the Algarve and naturally this had an impact on property sales. However we know sales continued through this period and more reassuringly, the quantity of sales transactions has continued to increase. However, if there is a second wave of Covid19 within Europe and without knowing the severity or the reaction of the various governments, then it is difficult to predict the affect that this will have on property prices and sales in the future. As far as the issues surrounding Brexit, we feel that people have now made their peace with the impact of the decision. Of course Brexit may put off some British from buying properties within Europe that would have previously considered it but I do not think it will be many.


And finally is there anything you would like to say to the readers in order to try and help your business?

Well, yes absolutely. Whilst we have a good quantity of under construction properties for sale in our portfolio we currently have a number of active buyers that are looking for completed properties either new or re-sale. We are therefore searching for all property types for sale in and around Tavira and other coastal towns as well as for villas, houses and quintas in more countryside locations anywhere in the East Algarve. At Compass Property Sales we offer a completely free, no obligation property assessment so if there are any of your readers considering selling their properties, then please contact using the email or telephone number below and we will happily discuss how best we can assist you. Alternatively our office hours are weekdays 9.00am to 5.30pm so if you are passing by, please feel free to come in for a coffee and a chat.


Sandra Swoboda

Managing Partner

Compass Property Sales

Rua de Santo Estevão, Nº 25A, 8800-386 Tavira


Tel: +351 281 323 876