The Right Move with Cris Barbi

by Susannah Grant posted on 29 February 2024

Italian- born Cris Barbi, an experienced estate agent talks to us about the property market in Madrid and her passion for photography

What do most expats look for in a house or an apartment here in the suburbs of Madrid?

Most clients are interested in light, space and proximity to their children’s school. Outside space is also an important attribute such as a terrace for an apartment and a swimming pool for a house.  These are also key reasons why many clients prefer the outskirts of the city, in addition to getting a bigger bang for their buck in the city centre.

Maxing out at Remax

Do you specialise more in sales or rentals?

I do both. My clients are both Spanish and Expats and as an expat myself I appreciate how hard the leasing process is here in Spain. I also help a lot of foreign buyers to understand the sales process here with all the legislative foibles there are this jungle market, ensuring they don´t fall into the wrong hands.

Family time

How did you first get into the real estate business?

I´ve been an Expat for more than 20 years and although I have dealt with some good real estate agents, I’ve never found one that I´ve been 100% happy with. I wanted to be that agent I never had. I started in Brazil in January 2016 and continued on my return to Madrid later on the same year.

Daredevil Cris at Iguassu Falls

Which nationalities are the most and least demanding clients?

Americans are used to professional service, transparency, modern and well-maintained houses, none of which is easy to find here.

Overseas clients coming from troubled areas are often happy to overlook some of a particular house´s issues and to sacrifice some of their requirements in order to settle here quickly.

Spacious living

What is the key to a successful estate agent?

Listen, listen and listen some more and apply oodles of patience. Good negotiation skills go a long way too!

You lived in Curitiba for 10 years, how do your Madrileño customers differ from the Brazilian ones?

Brazil is closer to the American Real Estate market in so far as you need a licence to work in this field, unlike in Madrid, where anybody can start up in this industry with no experience whatsoever and this is often reflected in the poor image that Spanish property owners have of my profession.

Iconic Ipanema

How did you get into photography and how has it shaped your life?

I have always loved photography as a way to capture a detail that trigger an emotion ten years from now. I like photos that tell a story. I´d love to incorporate a bio-engineered camera in my eyes!

Cris captures the essence of Camburiu

What trends do you see in the real estate business in Madrid in general?

Some say that AI will take over even in Real Estate and some Companies are already using impersonal online sites to list properties, charging a fixed minimum amount. However, I still feel that buying a house is such an emotional process which must be taken into account. For example, some people have to downsize for heartfelt reasons. I work with people, not bricks. AI wouldn´t know the difference….at least for the time being.

Blue sky living

Where would you buy a flat or a house if you could choose, budget aside?

As an investment maybe Tetuán, Embajadores or Pacífico…although prices are already going up.

 Otherwise, I love Chamberí, Justicia, Lista and some parts of Hortaleza and Charmartín as they are quieter than the more touristic areas such as Recoletos. In terms of the suburbs, both Pozuelo and Majadahonda tick my boxes.


Tel  – 34 636 47 58 29

Relaxing in Sicily
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