What should I think about for when I choose an Estate Agent in Spain?
By Christofer Fogelberg, Partner Agent StartGroup and registered Spanish Estate Agent GIPE no 3726
StartGroup recently celebrated 15 years in business! When we founded the company in 2003 we had already worked for a few years in one of the largest estate agencies in Spain, but found that we wanted to go further in customer care and service to our clients after the purchase. Today we are proud to say that we are still in contact with many clients from years ago that we help with things – both related to their property but also with everyday ordinary things that are not always easy for a non resident. As one of the few agents that have successfully gone through a mayor crisis in the property market, our concept has shown to be a success. We can also proudly state that we are registered Estate Agents by GIPE and all our staff goes through an independent certification in Andalusian property law, data protection and AML- every year. That way we ensure that all our staff meets the highest standard of qualifications in order to give the correct advice to our clients.
When we started, I dare say, there were more Estate Agents on the Costa del Sol than any other type of business. Between 2007 and 2010 more than half of the Estate Agents closed down, which cleaned out the market place in a Darwinistic way, or maybe by plain market forces. The result was that only companies with proper know-how and quality service survived.
Now, in 2018, we see much of the same. Since the market turned upwards in 2015 the opening of new estate agents started again, and there are now clearly too many. Unfortunately, since the year 2000, it is not necessary to have any kind of license to work as an Estate Agent. This has created a problem since there are lots of “Estate Agents” that have no qualifications and, many of them, do not even speak Spanish. This is obviously creates big problems for clients looking for a professional Estate Agency – how can you know who to trust?
So what shall you look out for when you look for an Estate Agent to SELL your property?
When you decide to sell your property the first point of contact is normally an Estate Agency.
It is highly recommend that you to do a bit of research on the agencies before you make the first appointment.
Have they an established office? Do they speak several languages? Have they a good track record, good reviews on Facebook and Google? Are they a registered Estate Agent with a license? Have they got a liability insurance?
When making your decision you will contact one, or more, agencies to come and value your property.
You will have a number of questions that needs answering. The most common questions that we answer our clients in the first meeting are:
How much is my property worth?
The agent should give you a professional valuation based on similar properties sold in your area.
What taxes do I have to pay when I sell?
The agent should explain all the taxes you have to pay and make a calculation of plusvalía tax and the capital gains tax. This way you know how much is left after all taxes and fees are paid.
What will you as an agent do to market and sell my property?
This is of course very important! The agent must show you where your property will be advertised and how. At StartGroup we have a big advertisement budget that covers several countries, and for our exclusive listings we state by contract special advertisements and campaigns. We advertise our properties in several languages, with 3d virtual tours and our own magazine. All free of charge for the vendor – we only charge a commission when we successfully sell your property!
What legal documentation do I need to provide to the Estate Agent?
According to the Andalusian property law the Estate Agent needs copies of the relevant documentation of the property. That being copies of the title deed (or nota simple), tax receipts (IBI), rubbish tax receipt (tasa de basura), community fees, Energy Efficiency Certificate. It is also convenient to give a copy of the first occupancy license (LPO). If you don’t have some of the documents a good estate agent will be able to help you in getting it from the town hall and property registry.
When my property is sold; What will the agent do for me in terms of aftersales? Will I need a lawyer?
If you want a lawyer to act for you it is always convenient as they will do independent checks and can sign on your behalf with a Power of Attorney. But strictly speaking it is not necessary if you have a professional estate agent. The estate agent can draw up contracts and prepare the new deed to be signed at the notary, as well as assuring that all payments are correctly done and paid out.
However the estate agent will normally not do your tax returns so for that you will need an accountant or if you chose to use a lawyer the tax returns are normally included in their fees.
What should I look for in an Estate Agent when I BUY a property?
Try to find an agency that have a good track record and is well established in the area you are interested in. They will have specific knowledge that has been gathered over years of hard work and experience. All of that knowledge is to your benefit!
If an agency has been established in the same location for a long time it is normally a sign that they are doing things properly.
Try to find an agency with a lot of their own listings that have gone though their quality control in accordance of the Andalusian property law D. 218/2015.
A well established agency will be able to find the right property for you quicker and better than anyone else. It is common that an established agency finds buyers for property before they go on the open market – so some of the best deals and distressed sales are only offered to their direct clients and investors.
What should I try to avoid when selling or buying?
Try to avoid un-licensed agents that do not have an office or their own properties for sale. If you, for example, meet an agent that does not want to meet in an office and only show you properties where another agent opens the door, stay away! Most likely they have nothing to offer you in terms of service and it will be very difficult to get help later on if you need it. Most clients need help both during the sales process and after.
A last piece of advice!
If you need finance please get you agent to help you to do a proper calculation of all the costs involved. A holiday home should be fun and something to look forward to go to – never a burden! If you get help to find the right finance options and the right type of property your journey will be a lot more pleasant. Get help from experienced property professionals!