Dealing with real estate agents in Spain

It is always important to stay in control when dealing with real estate agents in Spain. You are the one spending the money so it should always be clear that you are the one who will decide when to visit, what to see and what to buy.

The importance of this increases as the quality of the agents you work with decreases. The less trustworthy, professional and knowledgeable the estate agent the more you need to be in control of the situation. Unethical agents are more likely to take advantage of people who seem ill informed, disorganised and susceptible to pressure.

I used to recommend that you avoid dealing exclusively with one real estate agent in Spain. Work with several and make it clear to all of them that you are doing so. This demonstrates that you are not a ‘captive’ client, and helps to keep them on their toes. It also gives you wider access to information from different sources, which leaves you better informed, and harder to hoodwink.

However, with time I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to go, if possible, is to work exclusively with one good agent. All good agents collaborate, so working with one does not limit your choice, and it incentivises your agent to go the extra mile for you. An agent that knows you are dealing with other agents has an incentive to try and sell you something quickly, before you buy from the competition. An agent who knows you are an exclusive client will take more time and care to find you the perfect match.

Always give the agents you deal with a written brief of your requirements at the start. This gives them the opportunity to give you useful feedback and demonstrate their knowledge of the market. It also makes it more difficult for them to waste your time with clearly inappropriate properties.

Make it clear from the start that you do not wish to be put under any pressure to buy. You are better off missing a property (there will always be another one, maybe a better one) than making a purchase you live to regret. The agents you work with should feel that you are more likely to walk away from them than buy from them if they try to apply pressure.

Of course it is in your interests to establish a good working relationship with one or more estate agents in Spain. However this does require that you play your part in building the relationship and treating estate agents correctly. Along with providing a clear brief you should be honest with them regarding your readiness to buy. If you are just doing preliminary research then make this clear and don’t make them think you are coming with cheque book in hand. Don’t waste your agent’s time if you can avoid it, and always let them know if you have changed your mind or bought through another agent. Good agents devote a lot of time and effort to their clients, and should be treated with courtesy and respect.

© Mark Stucklin (Spanish Property Insight)