Opinions wanted: would you use this service?

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Anonymous Anonymous 9 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #52535
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    Anonymous
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    Hi everyone,

    Can you help…

    I have heard lots of comments from people that they went to see a house advertised as 10 mins from the beach and it was 30 and how much of a waste of their time it was.

    This led me to think that there maybe a market for someone who was based here who could either provide you with a selection of properties in your chosen location for you to narrow down and then view on your behalf, providing non-biased feedback and photos,leaving you to view only the ‘perfect matches’ or view properties you had chosen and again provide feedback and photos. Especially as the estate agents here are not always very forthcoming with details of properties either..in need of renovation can mean needs a new everything to needs updating!

    Charlie has now suggested a one stop shop, cradle to grave house buying business..which I am going to seriously think about…

    The only thing is how to make it pay…anyone got any ideas? If you were looking to buy would you use such a service and would you pay upfront?
    How much?
    The whole cradle to grave, importing car etc etc or just the house hunting bit…

    I REALLY do NOT want to take anything from estate agents commission!
    (or become one…)

    Thanks for your help,

    Heather

  • #68203
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    I assume you were watching C4 last night with the lady who couldn’t find a home in Portugal, 10 minutes from the beach?

    I think you are referring to a homesearch / property finder service.

    Do a google search for similar services in your region

  • #68003
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I assume you were watching C4 last night with the lady who couldn’t find a home in Portugal, 10 minutes from the beach?

    I think you are referring to a homesearch / property finder service.

    Do a google search for similar services in your region

  • #68205
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Heather the problem.

    1) People may not be willing to pay up front (sadly) they will not beleive that what service they are paying will be provided.

    2) If they pay you once you have sourced the property than cynics like me will feel that there is a big commssion behind the move. As you know that there is no ideal house or an ideal life partner, compromises have to be made and not everybody is willing to do it and that is where your problem is

    3) In so far as buying a property comprehensive guide Davids Searle book is there as a good starting point the reality is that you buy this book at Malaga/Alicante airport and by than the resevation deposit has already been paid and the agent has already recommended the lawyer.

    4) How do you expect to deal with the endamic failure/corruption/incomptencies of the lawyers, Coucils, colegio de abagados, architects etc.

    If you can overcome all the above I will use your sevices and recommend you to many.

    Please dont take this as a demotivating mail. I am just trying to bring to your attentions matters which pratical and real issues and I am sure that you maybe aware of some or all of them

  • #68006
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Heather the problem.

    1) People may not be willing to pay up front (sadly) they will not beleive that what service they are paying will be provided.

    2) If they pay you once you have sourced the property than cynics like me will feel that there is a big commssion behind the move. As you know that there is no ideal house or an ideal life partner, compromises have to be made and not everybody is willing to do it and that is where your problem is

    3) In so far as buying a property comprehensive guide Davids Searle book is there as a good starting point the reality is that you buy this book at Malaga/Alicante airport and by than the resevation deposit has already been paid and the agent has already recommended the lawyer.

    4) How do you expect to deal with the endamic failure/corruption/incomptencies of the lawyers, Coucils, colegio de abagados, architects etc.

    If you can overcome all the above I will use your sevices and recommend you to many.

    Please dont take this as a demotivating mail. I am just trying to bring to your attentions matters which pratical and real issues and I am sure that you maybe aware of some or all of them

  • #68206
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    Anonymous

    As my father-in-law aways says, just because something has been done doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it – it doesn’t matter if an idea is original, it matters that it’s being done better.

    There are certainly property finding services out there, but there is certainly room for improvement. Especially with all the great Google Mash-up tools, you could certainly provide a service where you put the locations on a map, took photos, and explained some of the in’s & out’s of the area.

    I wouldn’t personally pay for this service, but that’s ’cause I’m here in Spain and would rather go look for myself. However, I can certainly imagine someone in England or Norway greatly appreciated a hand putting these properties in context.

  • #68008
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    Anonymous

    As my father-in-law aways says, just because something has been done doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it – it doesn’t matter if an idea is original, it matters that it’s being done better.

    There are certainly property finding services out there, but there is certainly room for improvement. Especially with all the great Google Mash-up tools, you could certainly provide a service where you put the locations on a map, took photos, and explained some of the in’s & out’s of the area.

    I wouldn’t personally pay for this service, but that’s ’cause I’m here in Spain and would rather go look for myself. However, I can certainly imagine someone in England or Norway greatly appreciated a hand putting these properties in context.

  • #68207
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    There are already quite a few Buyers Agents operating here – a Google will turn up some of them. There is a site for one such relocation company (whose name begins with S) where their fee structure is set out for you.

  • #68010
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    Anonymous
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    There are already quite a few Buyers Agents operating here – a Google will turn up some of them. There is a site for one such relocation company (whose name begins with S) where their fee structure is set out for you.

  • #68211
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    Anonymous
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    Getting paid comes down to deciding whether to demand an upfront non-returnable payment or a percentage commission following successful purchase.

    Only fairly sophistocated buyers (perhaps companies relocating staff) will even consider paying you upfront; and if you go for commission then you effectively become an estate agent (which isn’t the end of the world).

    Maybe there is a third way – but I can’t see it at the moment.

  • #68018
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Getting paid comes down to deciding whether to demand an upfront non-returnable payment or a percentage commission following successful purchase.

    Only fairly sophistocated buyers (perhaps companies relocating staff) will even consider paying you upfront; and if you go for commission then you effectively become an estate agent (which isn’t the end of the world).

    Maybe there is a third way – but I can’t see it at the moment.

  • #68216
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi Heather – just to clarify what I had in mind, it was not so much to get involved in the actual hunting for the property, it was more the help for people who are not living in Spain but have bought there – and find going through the purchase procedure difficult from afar.
    And thereafter ensuring their property is looked after in their absence.
    i.e. liasing with the agent/lawyer/developer (because they often only pick up the phone to you/bother to reply to e-mails when it suits them), ensuring all the correct documentation is being obtained along the way for the purchase, liasing all the time with the purchaser back in uk or wherever, in other words basically handling the purchasing process almost as if it was your own.

    Then helping re. applying for electricity/water/telephone connection (many people do not speak the language or at least well enough, and do not know how to go about these connections), advice re. wills, tax forms etc.
    In other words, they make their decision which property they want to buy, then put everything in your hands to ensure a smooth ride regarding all the liasing/following through.
    For this there could be a set fee, upfront.

    I don’t know if I fit in the ‘fairly sophisticated’ category 😯 – but I for one would rest easier if I was back in the UK and had someone ‘on my side’ keeping their finger on the pulse/liasing with the necessary parties like the lawyer that everything was going smoothly, and letting me know if it wasn’t. And if necessary, making a ‘personal visit’ to the lawyer/agent/developer on my behalf and reporting back.
    Considering the huge sums involved in a property purchase, I would be more than happy to pay a fee upfront, say 500 euros if i could not be around to do it myself. Our several visits to Spain to do this same thing ourselves, flights, hotels, arranging dog sitters (!) etc. eventually came to at least four times that.
    Anything else, after-the-event wise could be billed at an agreed hourly rate (e.g. 15 euros an hour) for things like checking snagging (providing photos if necessary), applying for the utilities, visiting a property once a week to make sure no water leaks (arranging a plumber if necessary), getting a gardener in, having the pool cleaned regularly etc etc etc.
    Rather like a UK lawyer often bills by the hourly rate depending how much work was involved.

    Someone I know where I live now in Greece started two years ago just ‘keeping an eye’ on peoples properties for them once a week (at 15 euros per visit). Then he was asked to arranging a bit of gardening for them, then it grew into arranging the complete landscaping for a new-build villa (including boundary walls) – currently he has work looking after a dozen villas (including arranging pool cleaning, keeping the gardens in order) and has landscaping projects to keep him busy for the next 18months (he uses professionals). He just arranges/oversees everything. He is even now doing the garden designs/suggestions of layout for them, faxes the ideas over, and they choose which one!
    So things can just naturally progress/snowball into whichever direction you want, and how much work-load you want.

    Anyway this was just a thought.

    However, if none of this appeals, send me a pm and I can give you another idea (that we are doing) – and it has nothing to do with property!! 😀

  • #68028
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    Anonymous
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    Hi Heather – just to clarify what I had in mind, it was not so much to get involved in the actual hunting for the property, it was more the help for people who are not living in Spain but have bought there – and find going through the purchase procedure difficult from afar.
    And thereafter ensuring their property is looked after in their absence.
    i.e. liasing with the agent/lawyer/developer (because they often only pick up the phone to you/bother to reply to e-mails when it suits them), ensuring all the correct documentation is being obtained along the way for the purchase, liasing all the time with the purchaser back in uk or wherever, in other words basically handling the purchasing process almost as if it was your own.

    Then helping re. applying for electricity/water/telephone connection (many people do not speak the language or at least well enough, and do not know how to go about these connections), advice re. wills, tax forms etc.
    In other words, they make their decision which property they want to buy, then put everything in your hands to ensure a smooth ride regarding all the liasing/following through.
    For this there could be a set fee, upfront.

    I don’t know if I fit in the ‘fairly sophisticated’ category 😯 – but I for one would rest easier if I was back in the UK and had someone ‘on my side’ keeping their finger on the pulse/liasing with the necessary parties like the lawyer that everything was going smoothly, and letting me know if it wasn’t. And if necessary, making a ‘personal visit’ to the lawyer/agent/developer on my behalf and reporting back.
    Considering the huge sums involved in a property purchase, I would be more than happy to pay a fee upfront, say 500 euros if i could not be around to do it myself. Our several visits to Spain to do this same thing ourselves, flights, hotels, arranging dog sitters (!) etc. eventually came to at least four times that.
    Anything else, after-the-event wise could be billed at an agreed hourly rate (e.g. 15 euros an hour) for things like checking snagging (providing photos if necessary), applying for the utilities, visiting a property once a week to make sure no water leaks (arranging a plumber if necessary), getting a gardener in, having the pool cleaned regularly etc etc etc.
    Rather like a UK lawyer often bills by the hourly rate depending how much work was involved.

    Someone I know where I live now in Greece started two years ago just ‘keeping an eye’ on peoples properties for them once a week (at 15 euros per visit). Then he was asked to arranging a bit of gardening for them, then it grew into arranging the complete landscaping for a new-build villa (including boundary walls) – currently he has work looking after a dozen villas (including arranging pool cleaning, keeping the gardens in order) and has landscaping projects to keep him busy for the next 18months (he uses professionals). He just arranges/oversees everything. He is even now doing the garden designs/suggestions of layout for them, faxes the ideas over, and they choose which one!
    So things can just naturally progress/snowball into whichever direction you want, and how much work-load you want.

    Anyway this was just a thought.

    However, if none of this appeals, send me a pm and I can give you another idea (that we are doing) – and it has nothing to do with property!! 😀

  • #68218
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    I do not think that many people will pay somebody to keep an eye on the lawyer that they are already paying to handle the conveyancy. Most good lawyers would also resent somebody getting between them and the client.

    But I know there is a constant demand from overseas owners for property management services.

  • #68032
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    I do not think that many people will pay somebody to keep an eye on the lawyer that they are already paying to handle the conveyancy. Most good lawyers would also resent somebody getting between them and the client.

    But I know there is a constant demand from overseas owners for property management services.

  • #68220
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @Rawlins wrote:

    I do not think that many people will pay somebody to keep an eye on the lawyer that they are already paying to handle the conveyancy. Most good lawyers would also resent somebody getting between them and the client.

    I mentioned ‘liasing’ serveral times in my post – not ‘getting between them and the client’ (which infers ‘interferring’?).
    What is the problem with having someone locally to represent you? Why would a decent lawyer ‘resent’ that?

    I am only suggesting that this kind of service would be in the form of acting as a (local) liason between the client back in UK and the ‘professionals’.

    Now that the reputation of lousy lawyers and agents is getting more known in the UK, I disagree with you about people not willing to pay – people are getting very nervous about buying in Spain with all the scandals becoming more and more featured in UK newspapers/tv and I think would welcome a local service, especially those purchasers who are not so experienced.
    I know dozens of purchasers whose lawyers did not bother/did not deem it necessary to obtain Bank Guarantees, check the building licence etc. and basically have a complete file as they should.
    Likewise I know many agents who, once they have that signature/commission – totally blank their clients when there have been any difficulties. The coffee and smiles stop, and the clients are ignored.

    Certain lawyers and agents I know have indeed taken full advantage of the fact that their client is several thousand miles away and as a consequence can do diddly squat about their e-mails and telephone calls not being returned….in some cases for months even.

    Surely most good lawyers (and agents) would have no problem whatsoever in liasing with someone locally, chosen by their client to act on their behalf.

    Drakan, MariadeCastro, Cesar – would you?

    Personally, I think the only ones that would resent local representation are those who know they are not doing their job as they should………..

  • #68222
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thanks, thats given me plenty to think about, no idea about C4 though as I live here and don’t get UK telly! 🙁

    I have to agree that whilst David Searles book is helpful, we found it far too general and although it might have mentioned what to do it missed on how to do it. Hence local knowledge needed! I was thinking of providing a service locally so here in Asturias where I know the area and have a vague idea of the rules re renovation etc etc, although they differ from area! Hopefully this would mean I could build up a list of trusted lawyers etc too as it would be using local companies that I can doorstep if needed!!

    I was a project manager in a previous pre-children life and think I could use those skills well here, but like I said still have no idea how to make it pay! I will investigate the ‘competition’ for pricing etc and see if anyone else is doing this..I think there is a surveyor offering a house finding service but he is VERY expensive (we used him for our survey only) and I’m sure I could extend what he offers, as its very house based and not very peoples needs based, if that makes any sense, I know what I mean!!
    I have also thought about offering a ‘chasing up your builder’ service as although ours is lovely and excellent, he is impossible to get hold off sometimes and it would be a nightmare liaising with one from the UK!

    I would want to be extremely honest about how I make my money, hence an upfront or ongoing fee and not estate agent commission..

    Any further ideas welcome, I’m off to think more !!

    Thanks
    Heather

  • #68223
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @heatherpsk wrote:

    I would want to be extremely honest about how I make my money, hence an upfront or ongoing fee and not estate agent commission..

    Heather

    Is earning an estate agency commission inherently dishonest?

  • #68229
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi,

    I must agree with Rawlins that I could only see this working as an after sales/moved in service. There are always clients that want a garden design, pool, patio, car purchase, telephone etc etc and many other things after they have moved in. Normally we arrange all this but sometimes clients want to do their own thing so maybe you could offer some type of one stop shop after service and continually add different services.

    I cant see any one paying an upfront fee for a non qualified person to “keep an eye/liase” with a lawyer. Does this mean that the person providing the service is then legally and financially responsible to the person who has paid the upfront fee if the transaction does ultimately go wrong? I could see that the lawyers, whether decent or not would resent and find it really inconvenient that another person is calling them and coming to their office as well as the owner. As most lawyers charge by the hour they might just add this to the bill.

    And finally, what if the ideal house is in fact a new build of 300,000 euros with a commission of 4%?………you would let the developer keep it??

    Kind regards

    Bernard

  • #68231
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @blawes1 wrote:

    Hi,

    Does this mean that the person providing the service is then legally and financially responsible to the person who has paid the upfront fee if the transaction does ultimately go wrong?

    Bernard

    No that’s not the idea. A local ‘agent’ offering this service would simply be the ‘on-the-spot’ go-between. If things do go/are going ‘ultimately wrong’ at least someone has been on-hand to report back to the client the ‘impending doom’.
    In our case, we didn’t find out about our ‘impending doom’ for two years because our estate agent and developer conveniently ‘forgot’ to tell us.
    Nothing was built (the website showed another part of the development being built and no information whatsoever about the upper part not being built).
    LACK OF INFORMATION FROM AGENTS AND DEVELOPERS IS THE MAJOR PART OF THE PROBLEM.

    Just what is the problem to have someone to locally liase with instead of liasing long-distance with the client (when they bother that is)?
    I used to work for a royal family, and you can be sure estate agents and lawyers didn’t pick up the phone to him. Everything was done through little ol’ me, and I reported to him when necessary.
    If the wealthy can afford to have others handling these things for them, what is wrong with a service that offers a similar scenario at a reasonable cost to others lower down on the finacial scale of things.

    It is interesting that it is two estate agents who are kicking against the idea – just don’t like someone locally keeping their finger on the pulse??
    If i was an EA or lawyer, I would welcome someone locally I could deal with – save a lot of long-distance communication for a start.

    Oh well, it seems at least we are finding out that EA’s like to run their own show – with the ability to inform/not inform their clients as and when they deem it convenient.

    “I could see that the lawyers, whether decent or not would resent and find it really inconvenient that another person is calling them and coming to their office as well as the owner”.

    “Inconvenient”????

    What, to have someone informing their client about documentation that should have been obtained (like a Bank Guarantee) and the lawyer hasn’t got them one? Or someone querying the EA as to why the apartment being built is 20% smaller than they advertised?

    Probably…….but then it is not your money at risk, IS IT?

  • #68234
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello Charlie,

    Please dont always jump to conclusions based on your experiences. I’m not and I dont think Rawlins are kicking against an idea or even running our own show. It doesnt matter to me who I liase with and where they are.

    However, if you stayed on topic the original question was would this service pay. My opinion and that of Rawlins was that it wouldnt at this stage of a sale.

    It seems that you are advocating for around 500 euros this person would have to be fluent in legal Spanish, be able to understand planning regulations, building permissions, local laws, maybe visiting town hall, bank guarantees etc etc. Then once the person has said these are all ok in their non qualified opinion, the client should feel comfortable to send their money. Then if it still goes wrong at a later date this person can ignore their responsibilites because at least someone “has been on-hand to report back to the client the ‘impending doom”

    Wouldnt it be better to spend this 500 euros finding one of the many excellent, fully qualified Spanish solicitors in Spain and the UK who specialise in this work?

    Bernard

  • #68235
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Benard

    ‘a needle in a haystack’ springs to mind!

    joking apart, there are obviously many good agents/lawyers in Spain i’m sure, but i think with the Spanish laws appearing to not come down heavy enough on the many sharks operating, many people would feel happier talking to someone they feel they can trust (rightly or wrongly?) and is at least talking the same language and is on the same wavelength. Had we used a service like this, we would have probably saved a whole lot of stress and worry over the last 5 years.

    Even a volentary positive/negative feedback system similar to ebay, might expose many of the low life on the CDS.

  • #68236
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    With respect, Bernard, 35 of us from just one development all thought we had found just that. An excellent lawyer – many of whom work for some very large ‘repected’ law firms.

    Our relatively small group all met at a London Hotel a few weeks ago, and met for one sole purpose – to meet a new lawyer – having wasted between us close to a hundred thousand euros on bad lawyers/service.

    I assure you that 99% of what I write on this forum is not just from conclusions I’ve formed from my own experience, but from countless others who have had similar experiences.

    Over the last 15 months I’ve probably read over a hundred pm’s sent me, people in dire straits seeking advice because of the frightening position they’ve found themselves in – with no help/support from their lawyers and agents.

    I know there are ‘good guys’ out there, and am sure yourself and Rawlins are among them, but for a buyer trying to buy a property in Spain – choosing a good decent agent and lawyer is like walking through a minefield. And if the wrong choice is made, it can be financially ruinous.

    I always try and stay on topic and if I strayed on this thread, it was simply while trying to answer Rawlins comments.

    I think this service is a possible idea for a business, could work well for all parties concerned – you and Rawlins don’t. That is fine. Everything posted are just our opinions.

    P.S. While ‘investigating’ our mess, before we met our fantastic replacement lawyer – we went to the Town Hall, and Town Planning, and OMIC (though a bit of Spanish was needed for that one!), and insisted on a meeting with the developer’s Director for some answers, etc.
    Believe me, it is all do-able despite not being fluent in Spanish It really isn’t rocket-science to get answers, it’s time-consuming more than anything – something that many purchasers on a time-limited trip from UK often don’t have.

    Anyway, we can simply beg to differ on this one – it seems Heather is leaning towards a different tack anyway.

  • #68237
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    @goodstich44 wrote:

    Had we used a service like this, we would have probably saved a whole lot of stress and worry over the last 5 years.

    Crikey, goodstich – thanks for that one!
    Was beginning to think I was all alone in a little sinking boat on this one…. 🙁

    By the way – any news re. compensation for the fact your apartment is 25-30% smaller than it should be and that only one pool was built instead of two?????

    And was it your development where the purchasers don’t have a Bank Guarantee but it is in the name of the Estate Agent?!
    Isn’t THAT one special!
    Or was that La Reserva? – so many bum developments/stories, getting confused now.

  • #68238
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    I haven’t really thought this through so there are probably many reasons why it is not feasible.

    I have read many times that the Spanish do not use lawyers for their house purchases. We British tend to do so because it is what we are accustomed to doing in the UK. But it does seem to me that the framework for conveyancing in Spain is not the same and that many lawyers are really not equipped to do the job.

    I have also read several times that in Spain lawyers are not there to do the legwork and the tedious tasks for which they consider they are overqualified. In the UK these tasks are the very least we expect from conveyancing lawyers, but again there is a framework in place for this work.

    The costs of using a lawyer in Spain for conveyancing are absolutely astronomic and seem to have very little connection to the amount of work required.

    Perhaps a specialised conveyancing service would be a good business opportunity? It could be both efficient and cost effective.

  • #68246
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    I was an estate agent in the UK, and whenever I had occasion to visit a lawyer to discuss some point, I invariably discovered that the actual conveyancy work was being handled by some poor clerk in a windowless backroom with a pile of folders eight feet high balancing on the desk.

    The admittedly high costs of conveyancy in Spain may be partly explained by the fact that the work is usually undertaken by the actual lawyer.

    However, I believe that Spanish lawyers have made a big mistake in abandoning this market and there is a demand for specialised conveyancy firms.

    To the best of my knowledge there is no Spanish word for conveyancy.

  • #68247
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    Anonymous
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    Whilst I’m sure all this discussion is great, I only wanted to know people opinions on a property finding business..maybe if and when I had lots of contacts and experience I might feel like trying to give a cradle to grave service but at the moment that is far too scary!

    The question is: Would you use a property finding service that after finding out your requirements, trawled the local agents in your chosen area or even asked the neighbours and then viewed properties giving you a selection to finally view that where actually what you wanted! If so, how would you be prepared to pay for it: up front on through commission.
    Any advice given would be of the variety that did not involve me being shouted at lots if it went wrong! And I’m talking re-sales NOT corporate new builds. If people wanted a liaison, then I could do it but it would be up to them.

    Rawlins there is nothing wrong with commission, I’d just want to ensure people knew how I earned my money thats all and EA commission always seems a very secretive business!!

    Yes, I can see the flaws in this idea..for example I wouldn’t be living in my house as if asked we didn’t want a renovation property but brought one (and a fairly major one at that!!) but I think it could work….

    I can’t see there being a market for landscapers, house watchers etc as there are very few Brits here, I know most of them but Project managing renovations I could manage..

    Thanks
    Heather

  • #68248
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Sorry for going off topic Heather. No, I personally wouldn’t pay for a property finding service. Part of the pleasure is travelling around looking at at different areas etc to see which ‘feels’ right. Also, as you say, very often you do not end up with what you think you were looking for.

    However a specialised finding service for renovation properties, together with a project management service sounds interesting. I would be willing to pay for that if I was in the market for that type of property.

  • #68249
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @heatherpsk wrote:

    The question is: Would you use a property finding service that after finding out your requirements, trawled the local agents in your chosen area or even asked the neighbours and then viewed properties giving you a selection to finally view that where actually what you wanted!

    Personally, no – because I’m not good at delegating (control freak I think is the expression!).
    And if I’m spending a large amount of my own hard-earned money I (personally, again) would want to dedicate the time and energy to the house-hunting process myself.

  • #68286
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    Anonymous
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    One of the major “homesearch” companies in the UK “county” are offering franchise areas in Andalucia so they may be interested in your region too. You could contact them to get a better idea of what’s involved and how it pays. At the end of the day you would need to demonstrate a very good knowledge of the area to a potential client to convince them it was worth paying

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