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What An Incident! – Albert & Michael – Saba Island Properties

What A Incident! - Albert & Michael - Saba Island Properties Blog


Entrepreneur and best selling author Seth Godin asks this question from his Akimbo podcast series:

“What’s your origin story? — What’s the incident that got you started on this path and what was the choice you made after the incident occurred? We’re all bathing in origin stories but too often we don’t realize that our origin story doesn’t have to match our destiny. We can change it. We can make a choice. With great power comes great responsibility.”

Here’s what happened

We were visiting St. Maarten to get away from the brutal, cold winter of New York City, seriously thinking about buying something on St. Maarten when we saw a boat that said – SABA. (A simple, ordinary, everyday incident that got us started on the path to Saba and real estate.)

We were so curious that we set our course for a two week Christmas vacation to Saba and what a gift! We totally fell in love with the island — the people, restaurants, stores, spellbinding beauty, no crowds or casinos, safe too. A perfect lifestyle for us. And before we left we bought property because we knew we were going to live there. We went back, sold our home in New York and moved to Saba.

Is it profitable?

From the moment we settled in we began looking at the businesses of Saba. Thinking —

  • What kind of business would work and succeed all year round on Saba?
  • What’s profitable here?
  • Who are the people that come to Saba and why?


We met local business merchants, talked to them, saw and studied their niche market, customers and understood why it worked for them (or didn’t) — hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, dive shops, painters, builders, car rentals, car washes, clothing stores, gardening, pool services, bakery, pharmacy, mailing and shipping services, mechanics, hardware stores, gift shops, real estate.

  • What is their value?
  • What do they contribute to peoples lives?
  • How does their work make life better on Saba?


Knock Knock

While renovating our house people would come by to ask questions about design and building because Albert was in the design business for years and knew an incredible amount about architecture, construction, selling and buying homes. They wanted to know what we thought their house was worth or the value of a piece of family land. We looked at rental and sale leases. We helped people redesign their shops, ordered furniture, worked on landscaping. It was good to be useful and also fun.

One day there was a knock at our front gate. Two men walked in and said they had been told in town that we were the only people on Saba who could sell their hotel propertyShearwater’ (which was a mammoth, white, concrete estate high up on the side of the hill near us.) Well, we talked it all through and said… why not try! As we closed the front gate, we looked at each other and said — “I guess we’re in the real estate business.”

In a flash we went from retirees to business owners. We changed our destiny (added to it actually) and the choice has been a winner.

Two years later we sold ‘Shearwater’ (something lots of people said was impossible). But, we had complete faith in our abilities that we would find a buyer. We feel that about every single property we represent.

Those were the two plain incidents that got us started on the path to real estate at — Saba Island Properties. A powerful leap, with lots of responsibility:

  • To the people who would entrust their homes and lands to us to sell on Saba
  • To the people looking to buy and invest in Saba 
  • To the benefit of the culture and community of Saba


Real estate takes real care

To be really successful you’ve got to have empathy for people. Understanding the changes people are looking for and dreaming about. Even worried about in both buying and selling. It takes emotional work and a genuine desire to know someone else and then… to walk in their shoes, to live in their skin and thoughts and heart. We’re talking about home. Where people live. Home is filled with love, values, memories, desires, security, belonging, family, the future. All these emotions and basic human needs come together in a home.
Empathy is crucial; the vital obligation of real estate.

On a small island, with about 2,000 people, we have a big obligation — to make peoples lives better through the work we do:

  • Teaching people about Saba
  • Helping people see if Saba is really for them
  • Caring about the beautiful environment and quality of life
  • Being trusted
  • Keeping our promises


It’s gratifying and powerful work. Work that matters to us every single day along with the many people we care about.

What do you believe in?

We believe in Saba’s extreme, natural beauty and — not to have Saba overrun with masses of people so when you hear the name Saba you don’t think –“You can’t go there anymore because it’s too popular.” 

The people who come to Saba are not most people following the herd of vacationers. Saba’s exclusive. Really special and ‘Saba’s tribes’ thrive here because they’re small and well connected. Divers, hikers, nature enthusiasts, retirees, expats, artists, athletes, students, nurses, doctors, government workers, teachers, families.

We’re not making a pun but, our ship came in when we saw that boat with Saba on it and also, a knock at our gate. Two ordinary incidents that led to new pathways in our lives. It’s an incredible voyage we’re on.

What’s your origin story about Saba?

  • What incident made you choose Saba?
  • What happened when you got here?
  • Where is Saba in your life today?


You can visit any other Caribbean island you want but Saba is remarkable. Maybe you don’t have a Saba origin story yet but why not see what unfolds for you and set your course for Saba. When you get here, please do knock knock at our front gate.

Albert & Michael Saba Island Propeties
Expats in Real Estate Making Your Life Better
Saba (+599) 416. 2777 / USA +1 . 631 . 604 . 4435 / Skype:
Emails:  or

(Here are some people and their incidents with us)

Albert Pensis

Connecting with the right person is crucial when looking to buy, sell or renovate a property because… this is your home.

Finding the perfect location, where you’ll be totally comfortable, is my ultimate goal for you.

My years of experience with Real Estate and Interior Design, will help guide you toward that positive result - be it a traditional Saban cottage - an impressive estate - a gorgeous piece of land or... investing in a business here on Saba.

We’ll find exactly what works for you; examine all the parameters of your future home, and I’ll do my utmost to put the pieces of the puzzle together for you.

Discovering the island of Saba was the change I was searching for. A change of lifestyle. Leaving the ridiculous, debilitating fast pace of New York City and financial stress behind.

I came to Saba to retire but soon learned that I was too active to sit around and had too much life knowledge and experience not to give back to other people. My work in real estate enables me to do that and much more - helping people live well, here on Saba.

My specialties are residential work - interior planning – contracting - purchasing furnishings, materials and all other resources - adept at space planning - keen ability with color selection - highly capable of working with every media and in a variety of styles.

Creativity and staying on budget are real priorities for me. Pulling it all together and making it easy for you, is what I do best. From Bermuda to France, throughout the United States; working with CEOs' of top global businesses, recent college grads, newlyweds. I’m here to make you feel completely at home.

Come to Saba. We’ll have fun making your wishes and plans a reality!

*I'm a graduate of Parsons School of Design and I was - Corporate Senior Vice President of Interior Design for W & J Sloane and - Corporate Design Director for the Bloomindale's stores. Then I opened my own company -- Pensis - Stolz Inc. / KPS - at The Design Center in New York City for over 35 years. What stories I have for you!

I worked with Givenchy - Leona Helmsley - the Chairman of Sony and The Museum Tower Apartment - The Four Seasons Hotels - Johnson & Johnson - Gloria Vanderbilt and more.

I was fortunate to have designed for the Vanderbilt show houses - Kips Bay - The Woolworth Estate - The Gould Mansion - The Gimble Estate -The Gold Coast of Long Island - the Scarsdale Country Club - The Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University - the King of Saudi Arabia - Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Everything from private train cars - planes - yachts - lobbies - and the joining together, designing and completely redecorating (from top to bottom) a double, four story townhouse in NYC. Wild and wonderful projects! I'm also proud to say I was a weekly contributor to the New York Times for many years.

I'm still working with private clients throughout the world and I absolutely love my work in real estate. I had no idea the people we would meet when we opened Saba Island Properties or the friendships we have made. We're connected all around the world. That's exciting, amazing and profoundly gratifying to me.

You can reach me by Email:

View My Profile on LinkedIN

Thanks - Albert