When you make the decision to buy property in Spain, you need some help in finding it. Just under half of Spanish buyers choose to use the services of an agent, a proportion that rises considerably among foreigners purchasing property in Spain. In this article, we look at the role of a real estate agency in Spain – what you can expect them to do (and what you can’t).
Choosing a real estate agency in Spain
In most large towns and cities you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to real estate agencies. Along with the small brokers, you’ll also find branches of nationwide agencies as well as offices that are part of international property concerns.
Over the last couple of years in tandem with the general recovery in the Spanish property market, real estate agencies have started to pop up all over the country. They join the stalwart who set up before or during the pre-2007 boom and who have managed to survive the economic crisis.
Not all real estate agencies are good and not all reputable. To find the right one to act for you:
- Check their credentials (they should be registered as a company with fiscal number)
- Take a look at the real estate agency’s website. Does it inspire trust and confidence? Does the “About Us” section give you enough information?
- Ask around and check online (Google the agency’s name).
What you should expect from a real estate agency in Spain
Specialists – an agency should be an expert in the local market and be able to share detailed knowledge on price trends and the best area to suit your requirements as well as have some idea of short-term trends.
Range of property – a good real estate agency should have a wide choice of properties on their books. Some have more than others, especially those who belong to so-called multi-listing services (MLS).
Market price knowledge – a real estate agent who knows their stuff should be able to give you good advice on whether a property is priced fairly or not and advise you on making an offer.
What you should not expect from a real estate agency in Spain
All available properties – although you’d expect an agency to offer a wide portfolio, few agents have access to all that’s available. In addition, few agents hear about off-market properties (sold privately) or those about to enter the market.
Representation of your interests alone – while an agent wants a sale to go through, they ultimately represent the seller and so may not always defend your interests.
Complete transparency on commission – real estate agencies on the Costa del Sol charge between 5 and 8% of the purchase price as commission. On paper, they are paid by the seller, but in practice, their commission comes from the money you pay for the purchase.
Legal expertise – some real estate agents profess to be experts in the legalities behind buying a property in Spain. They may well have a knowledge of the basics, but they’re not qualified to give legal advice and don’t have professional indemnity insurance as lawyers. By all means, listen to what they have to say regarding the legal side of the purchase but only act on advice offered by your lawyer.
Transparency on exclusivity – some vendors prefer to sell their property through one agent only and sign an exclusivity agreement to this effect. Commission on such sales tends to be higher (up to 8%) than a property sold through a multi-agent listing and agents may be keener for you to view properties on exclusive sales-contracts than others.