Queen of the castle

Hendrich Real Estate Ltd

Evelyn Hendrich is an estate agent who specialises in the very grandest of homes – the castles, palaces and chateaux of Europe

Many people dream of living in a castle of their very own. Making that vision became a reality for a handful of fortunate individuals is one of the great pleasures of Evelyn Hendrich’s life. She is the founder of Hendrich Real Estate Ltd, an Austria-based real-estate company that works with a range of luxury properties including villas and penthouses. But Evelyn’s business is the only one in the country also specialising in castles and palaces.

Dealing with such complex and storied properties is a privilege, but it can also be a particularly demanding process, one that requires unique skills and abilities. Even then, it can take several years for a sale to be completed.

“It requires a lot of competence, patience and passion,” she says. “Working with these buildings and these partners is more complex than normal real estate, but I enjoy it because it is very interesting and challenging. What we do with castles is unique and we have knowledge and experience that nobody can match. Other companies don’t want to focus on this area as it is a slow, niche market with only a few properties on sale at once. But I wanted to work with quality rather than quantity, and it combines perfectly with our other luxury real estate. We have wealthy clients who buy or sell villas and penthouses, as well as castles.”

Evelyn started the company 11 years ago when she was given the opportunity to sell two castles that had been inherited by two sisters. She rapidly became absorbed in the history of these great buildings, relishing their beauty as well as the specific challenges and complexities, and so decided to specialise in this unusual area of luxury real estate. Although based in Austria, she operates across western, central and southern Europe, in particular in sought-after places in France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. She has ambitions to extend even further – one day, she says, she would love to facilitate the sale of a Caribbean island. Her ideal situation would be to also act as the broker for a small number of ultra-high-net-worth families, where she could use her skills and knowledge to forward several international transactions each year.

Although her profession is a luxury real-estate broker, the Austrian businesswoman sometimes sees herself as more of a detective. She prides herself on a canny ability to identify the real desires of her customers, discovering precisely what they are looking for and discerning the difference between what they want and what they think they want. Couples, in particular, can enter discussions with very different ideas about what they wish to buy, something that can only be resolved through honest conversation and genuine, mutually satisfying compromise. “With couples especially, you need to talk to them and find the compromise or the perfect solution. I relish the chance to solve these problems,” says Evelyn.

“We provide a high level of attention to our customers,” she adds. “One client said to me, ‘You are really listening!’ Sometimes I am like an investigator, trying to find the truth, and I will then search the whole market until I find the right answer. I always include all of the family in these conversations as I want to understand the individual situation. They all need to be happy. There is no amount of money that will overcome a poor compromise.”