We talked to Sandra Sofio, Managing Director and License Partner at Engel & Völkers Punta del Este in Uruguay about her job and life.
Punta del Este is famous for its glamorous beaches and festivals but it shouldn’t be forgotten that it is a truly beautiful place with countryside as well as coast. Our properties list includes a wide range of areas and properties, including exclusive apartments, plots in residential areas, detached houses and fields or seaside ranches (more commonly known as ‘fincas’ in Europe, that is substantial houses with a lot of land, and in our case, the land can measure from 5has to 200has or more). There are days when I spend more time in the city of Punta del Este taking on apartments in blocks or carrying out administration duties and others when I find myself in the middle of a field with lakes, rivers and stunning wildlife. We even make some visits on horseback if the access isn’t suitable for cars or 4x4s.
2. How did you manage your career?
I began working for EV in Pto Alcudia, Mallorca, in 2005 and after two months I was offered the post of Team Assistant which I happily accepted. After a few more months, I was asked to open a marketing department and four years later, I decided to buy the Punta del Este licence in Uruguay with some colleagues. It was a big decisión leaving my job as an employee of EV and moving to another continent where I didn’t have any contacts or much idea of the market to become a licence owner, but it ended up being the best decision I ever made. Along with my colleagues, I managed to establish a brand in a country where nobody knew us and to become one of the leading and most respected estate agencies in the area. I feel very proud of everything that we have achieved. In these ten years the company has given me my first contact in the working world, it has formed me and grown massively at a global level which is what for me differentiates it most from other estate agencies – our worldwide network really works and gives those of us who work within it open doors over many parts of the world.
3. What do you like most about your job?
Punta del Este is a very international destination which allows me to deal with clients of all nationalities which is what I like best – the opportunity to get to know people from all over the world. Apart from our working relationship, we often become great friends. In fact, the reason I came to Punta del Este from Mallorca was because of a client of EV in Pollensa who encouraged me to look into the market where he had bought a finca by the sea!
4. Could you describe the lifestyle of your region?
The season is very short but very, very intense. It lasts from Dec 15th to Feb 15th approx and during that summer period we have a wave of visitors and every day various events take place such as polo matches, fashion shows, art exhibitions, private parties, concerts, shows … numerous options to fill a social calendar. The rest of the year the area offers a peaceful lifestyle with plenty of quality of life where all types of sports can be practised including surfing, horse-riding, golf, sailing, and the wonderful nature that we have here in Uruguay can be enjoyed: the dunes with their extensive paradisiacal beaches where the river of La Plata joins the Atlantic Ocean, lakes, rivers, fields with gulleys and lush greenery with lovely wildlife and vegetation.