Finding a good Estate Agent

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Anonymous Anonymous 4 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #56893
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello, my first post but have found this board useful for a fair bit of info

    We are taking our first steps and considering moving. This is driven be forced early retirement (laid off and can’t find a job) and the need to downsize to release funds but the lifestyle we would be left with if we do it here is quite unappealing. Having seen the “value” in Spanish property (not for financial gain as recognise may yet be more price reduction, but just to have a decent place to live) we are seriously considering the move, although we’ve yet to fully weigh up all the financial implications.

    Our first step is to visit and we are planning on coming down in September and heading for the region south of Valencia around Denia/Javea. Ideally we’d like to contact one perhaps two agents and give them our requirements and ask them to find the 4 or 5 most suitable properties and show us around. Having read quite a lot about unscrupulous agents and without any knowledge at all I wonder if anyone could either give us recommendations or any tips on how we establish that we have a good (or otherwise) agent

  • #110028
    Profile photo of angie
    angie
    Spectator

    There must be some reliable agents but how you find them is anyone’s guess, word of mouth if it’s trustworthy. Do you know of others who’ve moved there who had a good agent? Maybe ask Mark on here if he knows of someone.

    Take everything the agents tell you with a big pinch of salt, they are very believable when they get going, (they want their large commission), don’t think you can make a profit quickly if you need to sell, weigh up the extortionate completion costs 10-11%, remember the agent’s commission is paid by the buyer as it’s included in the price, (these 2 factors alone can amount to 15 -20% of the purchase price so what is the true value of the property?), how many other look-a-like properties are there should you need to re-sell, what prices are they on for, is the property legal, what are the community and other charges, make sure the contract is accurately translated into English or language you know, if you’re told nothing will be built to obscure your views then it will be built one day, check for barking dogs around the area, check the build quality which can be dreadful, little soundproofing, check the crime stats., there are so many people trying to sell now, exchange rate for Brits is not what it once was despite the property price drops so buying is still costly in Sterling terms, there will be lots more to consider which others on here may warn you of, but be very cautious! 😉

    Remember, the Spanish property market is basically unregulated, legal redress can take 5 years or more, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is 🙄

  • #110029
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @Culzean wrote:

    Hello, my first post but have found this board useful for a fair bit of info

    We are taking our first steps and considering moving. This is driven be forced early retirement (laid off and can’t find a job) and the need to downsize to release funds but the lifestyle we would be left with if we do it here is quite unappealing. Having seen the “value” in Spanish property (not for financial gain as recognise may yet be more price reduction, but just to have a decent place to live) we are seriously considering the move, although we’ve yet to fully weigh up all the financial implications.

    Our first step is to visit and we are planning on coming down in September and heading for the region south of Valencia around Denia/Javea. Ideally we’d like to contact one perhaps two agents and give them our requirements and ask them to find the 4 or 5 most suitable properties and show us around. Having read quite a lot about unscrupulous agents and without any knowledge at all I wonder if anyone could either give us recommendations or any tips on how we establish that we have a good (or otherwise) agent

    I know this gets said a lot on here, but it is said for a reason: please, please, please just rent before buying. Buying in Spain is expensive and most people only get one crack at it, so you’ve got to get it right first time. I’ve been to Javea and Denia a few times and am keeping an eye open for property there as well, and I know that some areas get very cold and damp in winter, some areas flood, other areas can be very windy, other areas will be deserted in winter, etc, etc. You’ve got to spend at least a few months living there in order to find the areas you like, and to make sure you want to live there in the first place. If you buy the wrong house you may find yourself unable to sell it.

    As for agents, I have no idea I’m afraid. What you can do though is research the different areas to get a feel for what is a realistic asking price, and then see which agents have comparable properties with similar prices. You should be aware though that in Spain most agents seem quite happy to take on unrealistically priced property and let it sit on their books for years on end, so don’t expect asking prices to bear any relation to market prices. I certainly wouldn’t pay any more than 80% of even the most reasonable asking prices.

  • #110035
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thanks for these responses and we will certainly be guarded in our dealings and incorporate this advice.

    The notion of renting first is something we’ve considered and have seen it suggested elsewhere. We’ll also look at rented property when we are there too.

    Any other comments much appreciated, including thoughts on agents too

    Thanks

  • #110036
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I don’t know why you need to use an agent in this modern 21st century. I used http://www.fotocasa.es to sell my apartment.

    When I was looking to buy my first apartment 10 years ago, I was introduced to an agent who then showed me various apartments. I found the exercise incredibly annoying and frustrating. We were looking in one small resort only (our choice) and he took us to various apartments, about 4 or 5 I think in total. I was expected to say which one I like and then buy it.

    Why I was frustrated was because rather than sit down in his office and peruse maybe a few complexes or apartments, on paper, and then short-list ones which we really liked to then view, he just presented a few apartments of his choice to us. How he selected them I have no idea, but I expect these were based on him being able to secure the most commission, from either the seller asking a low price which he then inflated, on maybe apartments that were proving difficult to sell and he was offered more commission to get rid of them.

    if you ask an agent to select some apartments based on your criteria, I can guarantee that that the criteria used will be his and not yours!

    if you know where you want to buy, just start looking at fotocasa, email the seller and ask all the info you want, get them to send you the google maps link and have a virtual tour of the area.

    Honestly I can’t see the need for an agent, except only to act as a third party for negotiation, if you feel you can’t do that yourself.

  • #110037
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    Excellent advice from forum posters.
    Renting is the best first move you can make. Try it for 6 months and your whole prospective will change. The small investment will pay dividends. Choose an area where you want to settle, don’t do it in the summer season and don’t sign up to anything until you have spent enough time checking everything related to property, the area and your likely costs to live in Spain.

    Spain is not a cheap alternative. Utilities have risen 10% this year, medical charges are being imposed and will doubtless rise every year. VAT is poised to shoot up. Property taxes and community charges keep on rising. Food stuff costs are the same as everywhere else.

    One piece of vital advice. Do NOT under any circumstances engage a lawyer recommended by an agent or developer. Spain is rife with corrupt lawyers, judges and agents.

    Buyer beware.

  • #110038
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Not defending agents but buying privately can have pitfalls too, especially if you don’t speak the language. Don’t assume that buying privately means you will get it cheaply, some buyers can be greedy. A lot of property for sale on the private sale sites are actually agents too as are ads in newspapers. They still have their fair share of scammers. Remember the couple who were lured to a property in Benidorm and robbed and murdered!

    I would first of all rent and narrow down the area to where you want to live and then choose one agent who is local. They all usually have the same properties, not much exclusive. Don’t think they are your new best friend…they are just doing their job. Anything they say should be checked out and revisit the area without the agent at different times of the day. Whatever, don’t hire a Lawyer who has any connection with the Agent.

  • #110039
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @jp1 wrote:

    I don’t know why you need to use an agent in this modern 21st century. I used http://www.fotocasa.es to sell my apartment.

    When I was looking to buy my first apartment 10 years ago, I was introduced to an agent who then showed me various apartments. I found the exercise incredibly annoying and frustrating. We were looking in one small resort only (our choice) and he took us to various apartments, about 4 or 5 I think in total. I was expected to say which one I like and then buy it.

    Why I was frustrated was because rather than sit down in his office and peruse maybe a few complexes or apartments, on paper, and then short-list ones which we really liked to then view, he just presented a few apartments of his choice to us. How he selected them I have no idea, but I expect these were based on him being able to secure the most commission, from either the seller asking a low price which he then inflated, on maybe apartments that were proving difficult to sell and he was offered more commission to get rid of them.

    if you ask an agent to select some apartments based on your criteria, I can guarantee that that the criteria used will be his and not yours!

    if you know where you want to buy, just start looking at fotocasa, email the seller and ask all the info you want, get them to send you the google maps link and have a virtual tour of the area.

    Honestly I can’t see the need for an agent, except only to act as a third party for negotiation, if you feel you can’t do that yourself.

    Thanks for that .. I wasn’t aware of that site and have taken a look and is a useful resource. I guess one of the main reasons for using an agent was simply local knowledge. All the things that one needs to know when they are unfamiliar with an area. That brings me back of course to the original Q which was how to find one that was reputable and wouldn’t simply say whatever they thought I wanted to hear to make a sale. Thankfully I’ve “been round the block a few times” so would hope not to get caught … but some of these guys will fool me in some way I’m sure

  • #110040
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @logan wrote:

    Excellent advice from forum posters.
    Renting is the best first move you can make. Try it for 6 months and your whole prospective will change. The small investment will pay dividends. Choose an area where you want to settle, don’t do it in the summer season and don’t sign up to anything until you have spent enough time checking everything related to property, the area and your likely costs to live in Spain.

    Spain is not a cheap alternative. Utilities have risen 10% this year, medical charges are being imposed and will doubtless rise every year. VAT is poised to shoot up. Property taxes and community charges keep on rising. Food stuff costs are the same as everywhere else.

    One piece of vital advice. Do NOT under any circumstances engage a lawyer recommended by an agent or developer. Spain is rife with corrupt lawyers, judges and agents.

    Buyer beware.

    Very quickly coming to the conclusion from yours and others comments that renting 6 months through the winter may be the best way. It’s not the additional cost that put me off, more the hassle factor but it does appear the most sensible.

    I guess costs are increasing everywhere but it’s also something to consider although I hadn’t really assumed a cheaper cost of living

    Noted re lawyers too thanks

  • #110041
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @katy wrote:

    Not defending agents but buying privately can have pitfalls too, especially if you don’t speak the language. Don’t assume that buying privately means you will get it cheaply, some buyers can be greedy. A lot of property for sale on the private sale sites are actually agents too as are ads in newspapers. They still have their fair share of scammers. Remember the couple who were lured to a property in Benidorm and robbed and murdered!

    I would first of all rent and narrow down the area to where you want to live and then choose one agent who is local. They all usually have the same properties, not much exclusive. Don’t think they are your new best friend…they are just doing their job. Anything they say should be checked out and revisit the area without the agent at different times of the day. Whatever, don’t hire a Lawyer who has any connection with the Agent.

    Got that, seems entirely reasonable advice, thanks

  • #110042
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    if you have not sold your uk property then rent that out whilst you rent in spain and the costs will be covered.The area you are looking at is not the cheapest of areas but it is nice,we holiday around there,moraira is lovely and easier to get to from the motorway as you can cut down through benissa.Prices are still dropping in this area although it won’t drop as much as in some other less desirable ones.
    I don’t need to say beware of solicitors and agents in cahoots as its been said just may sure you do your homework and check it with a calculator then add 10% to cover unforeseen rises.

  • #110053
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @dartboy wrote:

    if you have not sold your uk property then rent that out whilst you rent in spain and the costs will be covered.The area you are looking at is not the cheapest of areas but it is nice,we holiday around there,moraira is lovely and easier to get to from the motorway as you can cut down through benissa.Prices are still dropping in this area although it won’t drop as much as in some other less desirable ones.
    I don’t need to say beware of solicitors and agents in cahoots as its been said just may sure you do your homework and check it with a calculator then add 10% to cover unforeseen rises.

    We’re likely still about 12 months away from an actual move and just starting out now, research, visits etc. The thought of renting the house out here isn’t too appealing and as we’d need to downsize anyway we’d probably just sell. Increasingly drawn towards renting to start with (Try before you buy!!)

    Thanks for the other info have noted along with all other comments

  • #110054
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Another good tip i learnt is shop the same way as the spanish they have good markets for fresh produce

  • #110056
    Profile photo of angie
    angie
    Spectator

    Culzean as you know you’ve had very good advice here from everyone but I’ve also posted this on another topic which you might want to consider too, regarding further price falls predicted for Spain.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/sp-spanish-home- … another-25

  • #110060
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @angie wrote:

    Culzean as you know you’ve had very good advice here from everyone but I’ve also posted this on another topic which you might want to consider too, regarding further price falls predicted for Spain.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/sp-spanish-home-prices-drop-another-25

    Thank you .. it’s all pretty frightening but thankfully we’re not doing this to try and make money and nor am I going to try and time it to coincide with the bottom of the market. That all said we’re probably talking 12 months, perhaps more and if prices drop further between now and then we get a benefit. I guess at that time we have to take a view on pushing ahead or waiting a little longer but we definitely need to avoid getting caught behind any upturn or we run the risk of missing out on what we are hoping to find.

  • #110063
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    I wouldn’t worry about an upturn for a few years…at least 😀

  • #110066
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @Culzean wrote:

    @dartboy wrote:
    if you have not sold your uk property then rent that out whilst you rent in spain and the costs will be covered.The area you are looking at is not the cheapest of areas but it is nice,we holiday around there,moraira is lovely and easier to get to from the motorway as you can cut down through benissa.Prices are still dropping in this area although it won’t drop as much as in some other less desirable ones.
    I don’t need to say beware of solicitors and agents in cahoots as its been said just may sure you do your homework and check it with a calculator then add 10% to cover unforeseen rises.

    We’re likely still about 12 months away from an actual move and just starting out now, research, visits etc. The thought of renting the house out here isn’t too appealing and as we’d need to downsize anyway we’d probably just sell. Increasingly drawn towards renting to start with (Try before you buy!!)

    Thanks for the other info have noted along with all other comments

    Maybe just a 3 or 4 month let from say Jan to Easter would be enough to give you a good idea. You should easily be able to pick up a cheap let during those months, or maybe spend a month in different areas to see what they’re like. Obviously there’d be no point in renting out somewhere with a pool during those months, so you should be able to go for cheaper options.

    If it were me I’d at least spend some time around the port area in Javea since that’s where most of the long term residents seem to end up, and maybe some time around Las Rotas in Denia (but beware that Denia is on the north side of the Montgo and parts of it might be a lot cooler in winter).

  • #110068
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    Don’t worry there is little prospect of an upturn for a very long time despite what the sellers of property will tell you..

  • #110069
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Yes will take the comments about upturn on board

  • #110070
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @chopera wrote:

    If it were me I’d at least spend some time around the port area in Javea since that’s where most of the long term residents seem to end up, and maybe some time around Las Rotas in Denia (but beware that Denia is on the north side of the Montgo and parts of it might be a lot cooler in winter).

    Interesting point … if you were to hazard a guess what proportion of the population is long term vs those that just show up for the summer? Absolutely don’t want to be living in a ghost town during the winter months.

    Less concerned about the weather I think … not expecting it to be too hot, but I guess needs to be factored in for any heating?

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