Sitting by the waterfront gives me a sense of peace, even whilst reminiscing past pains or contemplating future goals..
Nicholas Dantes - Managing Director - Waterfront Real Estate Ltd
Waterfront Portfolio - A True Story
Where to begin?
As it happens I am sitting in a beautiful coffee house on the seafront along the famous Bosphorus Strait of Istanbul Turkey where I have traveled to meet an investor. I have a few hours before the client arrives and having already confirmed his itinerary decided to put pen to paper and make a start on our story, about how Waterfront Portfolio came to life and the challenges we overcame to become a Success !!!
The early days..
As a child I always remember feeling a sense of calm and excitement whenever I was next to a waterfront, whether it was exploring rock pools by the sea, fishing on the river or swimming in the local lake. I was fascinated by the many waterfront activities that could be enjoyed and the sense of peace that came with it.
This fascination still remains, I love to start my day with an early morning swim in the sea or a vigorous bicycle ride along the waterfront. Having the chance to spend my free time enjoying lunch in the marina, diving or discovering remote bays really makes me feel happy and acts as an escape away from the trials and tribulations that often arise from daily stresses at work or home.
In fact the waterfront lifestyle that I enjoy today is a dream away from my early days and in some way provides a balance to several years of hard times and perseverance. As a youngster my main passion was football, and from the age of 5 through to my late teens I did everything in my power to make it as a professional. After joining a premier league club I was on route to achieving my dream until injury forced me into changing direction away from sport and into studying higher education. Southampton University was the only location on my UCAS list with a marina, so at the time it made for a quick decision making process!
Irony would have it that even on my first day at University I mistakenly took a seat in the wrong lecture theater where a professor began explaining the delights of marine biology. I quickly realized that the content of both his and my excitement had nothing to do with the business investment degree that I had enrolled in, nevertheless I sat through the session with intrigue.
Why Real Estate?
Having graduated I was raring to go, my natural entrepreneurial flare had been lit and I was seeking out opportunities everywhere, I didn't quite know what I wanted, but I knew that I dreamed to be by the waterfront surrounded by the finer things that life had to offer. The audacity of youth! When I now look back all those years ago, I realize that this juncture was key to shaping my future. Whilst all of my close friends had found secure employment in top tier companies I was battling to keep my head above water, still deep down I always believed that my time would eventually come.
In 2002 my father had decided to buy a home overseas and had invested into a villa development in the Mediterranean, immediately I saw this as a new opportunity and it turned out to be my base for the next few years!
During a coffee with the developer of the project one afternoon I discovered that he had 30 more units for sale but zero marketing plan and without a sales strategy, so the next day decided to open the first professional property investment company in the area and advertise the villas to holiday makers. Within our first 5 month season we sold them all.
Over a six year period the company grew to opening 5 more offices with a head office in the United Kingdom and further branches within exciting international cities including London along with Istanbul a developing metropolis and leading location for Turkey real estate with abundant waterfronts with big potential.
Business was great, we had built a strong team and achieved many accolades, until 2008, we were in the middle of developing our first luxury villa project when the recession hit us hard. The bank closed in on loans and took everything we owned. It was a tough time which saw my once unbreakable bond with my father collapse, our relationship was already strained and our financial ruin combined to my returning back to the UK with nothing, the worst part of it was that it lead to me not speaking to my father for many years..
When it rains, it pours..
It took some time getting back to my feet, I had great support from close friends and family who willed me to get going again. I must admit it was a big fall from grace, a sudden change in lifestyle that hurt my pride as well as pocket, I felt that I had hit rock bottom, but little did I know that there was more to come.
I had found a job working for an international investment agency in London, managing sales and marketing but often felt that I was expendable, running the business while the directors enjoyed fancy waterfront holidays as I spent most of my time on the M25 getting to and from work opening and closing the office six days a week. On Sundays I would take a walk along the riverfront admiring the waterfront mansions spread along the Thames, dreaming of one day living a life by the water.
I often associated everything related to water as something that soothed me, but the constant rain and English weather was getting me down and as the old saying goes when it rains it pours. The events that followed took a sharp turn into motivating my fight for a better life through waterfront real estate.
One afternoon in the office I was engaged into a heated argument with the owners of the real estate company that I was managing, they had tried to hoodwink the team into marketing an overseas project that had underlying problems, unbeknownst to them I had researched and discovered the truth via my independent contacts, I was furious.
The thought of anyone trying to gain financially through the loss of others brought chills down my spine. After having lost what you have worked so hard for you become more compassionate and responsible with other people's investments. Needless to say I quit on the spot and walked out, as I reached the car park my telephone rang and I went from hot to cold in seconds.. it was a macmillan nurse on the line explaining that my father had been diagnosed with cancer and was living alone in desperate need of assistance. This news shocked me as I had not spoken to my father in years. After scribbling down his address I drove in a daze until I found his apartment building, I remember the fear before pressing the intercom call button and hearing his voice, I could only mutter three words 'it's your son'.
Our road to recovery
For the next three years I dedicated my time to looking after my father, I would to take him to his chemotherapy cycles at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea, experts in the fight against cancer. We always enjoyed driving over Battersea bridge to "take a look over the water" as my father would say, even then we found some solace on the waterfront watching the river boats merry around.
In the hospital one day I was deliberating my future whilst my father took his chemo, with little energy he looked at me and said "son it is time for you to take destiny into your own hands, be true to yourself and make us proud" he wanted me to utilize all of my hard earned experience by starting my own overseas property company, I understood immediately that he was right and the following day on September 7th 2010, I incorporated Waterfront Real Estate Ltd.
Most of the early months were spent designing the website and collaborating a trusted network of overseas investment specialists, real estate experts and legal gurus. I worked hard to position myself at the top of the industry by affiliating with like minded professionals with experience, integrity and a can do attitude to ensure that all clients receive unparalleled support each step of the way to finding their dream new waterfront property, retirement home, business premises or investment acquisition. Luckily I was already very well connected to reputable property developers and leading industry professionals world-wide that I had worked with over the years in other ventures which helped tremendously.
Initially my office was the hospital canteen or fathers bedside and although unpractical it brought us closer together again, discussing potential deals and challenges, I felt that we were at some level on the road to recovery. I still remember driving to collect my first commission cheque and the excitement when I closed my first sale.
Sadly on September the 3rd 2013 my father passed away, he was in peace laying in his hospital bed. As he took his last breath he was holding my hand and smiling, just two days earlier we had celebrated my companies first hotel sale in the Caribbean a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life..I had made my father proud.
Today, Waterfront Portfolio now actively operates in over 20 luxury overseas territories world-wide, expanding into new emerging markets such as Indonesia whilst also offering major coverage in mature destinations like the Caribbean Italy Spain Turkey and the UK.
Over the last seven years we have established affiliations with many of the biggest names in real estate and have co-brokered deals with the likes of Christies, Sotheby's, Knight Frank. We have also supported large multinational companies as well as affluent private investors in achieving their investment targets. Our successful mediation has worked on many complex deals including complicated commercial acquisitions, JV projects and assisting foreign investors enter into challenging new investment markets.
We have also proudly been involved with helping many families, couples and small investors secure their new holiday home, retirement property or relocation to the waterfront location of their dreams!
I myself now live happily on the waterfront enjoying the peace that my lifestyle provides, and my passion for sourcing the right waterfront investments for our clients drives me daily in helping to achieve their ambitions too. Whether it be a vacation home, private Island, retirement plan, new office or commercial investment I can guarantee 100% dedication in our expert service and professional teams ability to meeting clients expectations.
I wouldn't yet consider myself being rich unlike much of our client base today which now includes; Royalty, Celebrities, Sports Stars and High Profile business people, also average Jo's like me, but there lays the beauty in having the ability to enjoy a life on the waterfront, even if it's just to escape the winter cold for a few weeks out of the year there are many fabulous waterfront investments for sale all over the world to suit most budgets.
However, if you are lucky enough to have a few million spare then our Waterfront Portfolio contains some of the most stunning properties for sale close to beaches, lakes and rivers in quality of life locations world-wide.
Either way, we would love to become a part of your story and are ready to help you in every way that we can. Get in touch with us today!