July 21, 2006 at 1:14 pm #52029
I AM BEGINNING TO WONDER IS THERE ANY SUCH THING AS A SPANISH REAL ESTATE AGENCY THAT IS NOT TRYING TO SWINDLE CLIENTS IN SOME WAY… PLEASE CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE.
HAS ANYONE USED A REAL ESTATE AGENT AND NOT HAD ANY PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER…? WOULD LOVE TO KNOW THE NAME.
July 21, 2006 at 1:31 pm #64056
You don’t need to use an agent to buy, just look at Sur in English, there are pages full of properties for sale, many of them direct from owners. On the other hand, Sarah Dodgson, an agent who sometimes posts on here seems ok. no experience though. I bought my last two properties privately and have been very pleased with them, both straightforward.
July 21, 2006 at 1:41 pm #64060
Thanks Katy; obviously ideally, I would prefer a private purchase. I just want to know a good reputable agent if this is not possible.
I have seen properties I am interested in on some agency’s websites but would not go near them due to bad reputation!
I appreciate the feedback, and the referral to Sarah Dodgson; I will look into it.
July 21, 2006 at 3:02 pm #64062
i bought through an agency in fuengirola called arriba estates. Based solely on my experience, i can say i was happy with the service. Friendly, helpful and efficient.
July 22, 2006 at 9:38 am #64068
Annie, based on my experiences and those of many others, I would avoid the larger agents oft talked about here as their marketing/promotion/running costs are so high and they often charge a lot more for the same properties that other smaller agents are also selling.
Their staff turnover is high so you can hardly speak to the same person twice, then once you’ve put your deposit down their after sales team forget all about you, so buy privately or through maybe a smaller agent and remember property on the Costas is very overpriced now.
July 22, 2006 at 10:38 am #64069
I have some advice for you based on years of experience as a Charetered Surveyor in the UK and buying and restoring houses in France and now Spain. The vast majority of intermediaries in the Spanish real estate market are only interested in one thing – their commission! Therefore you need to proceed on the basis that they are all untrustworthy. They will all tell you that you do not need to worry about their commission as this is paid by the vendor. Yes, but the buyer pays the seller! You must ask for a breakdown of the price between their commission and the figure the seller actually receives. If the agent will not disclose this, be very wary of them/walk away.In Spain the great majority of agents do not advise a seller on what price they should ask. They ask the seller what price they want then add a “mark-up” to this figure. You will be told that the “market rate” of commission is 5%. The real estate market in Spain is totally unregulated and there is no “officially” set commission structure. There are umpteen cases of people paying “commissions” of 10,15,20% and possibly more! Even 5% is robbery. You would pay nothing like that at home and should not pay it here! I believe I am also correct in saying that under Spanish consumer protection legislation – Documento Informative Abreviado, Royal Decree 218/2005 effective from 7 Feb 2006 – an agent has to provide a breakdown of the costs of a purchase as well as providing other information on the property. If I was you I’d get a good lawyer, decide where you want to live and carry out a detailed analysis of what’s on the market in that area. This way you’ll be much more comfortable with the purchase you make. There are some honest intermediaries out there but you need to be very careful;by understanding how the agents operate you will be much better placed to deal with them. Hope this is of help. If you have any other q’s feel free to contact me.
July 22, 2006 at 1:29 pm #64074
July 23, 2006 at 4:45 pm #64093
Thanks so much for that; I appreciate it.
Luckily I already have an excellent lawyer. With regard to not trusting any of the agents; this is something I am all too aware of… which is what got me thinking about who I COULD use! Imagine living down here for over two years and not having ONE single agent that you could recommend… funny isnt it? I guess you are right; they are just money driven.
Thanks again for the advice and to everyone else who submitted a response.
July 23, 2006 at 9:00 pm #64094
To be fair, you are probably not asking the right forum. Many here have had shocking experiences of the sales process in Spain and are rightly unhappy.
One piece of advice I would give you is this: If you have seen a property on an estate agency website, it does not mean that the property is being marketed by that agent.
Many agencies share properties on an MLS (Multi Listing Service) and the property may well be with another agent. The two then split any commission earned from introducing a buyer to a property.
If you are not happy with the agency, dont go to them.
Find a small local established agency with staff that are owner operators with a few years trade behind them.
They do exist and they normally are bilingual!
July 25, 2006 at 11:53 am #64122
Below I include some general suggestions on how to find a good agent and avoid being defrauded or disappointed.
1. Invest some time and visit three or four local agents in their offices to discuss your needs before making an appointment to view. Choose agents that you feel comfortable with and respect. If you don’t feel some trust or respect for any of the agents you have met – then keep looking.
2. Find your own lawyer before you find a property.
3. Avoid off-plans.
4. Don’t jump into any tax evasion/avoidance suggestions.
5. Establish at an early stage how the agent presents price. Does he include commission, what is the commission rate, who pays, etc.
6. Once you have found a suitable property, meet the vendors in person with the agent and shake hands on an agreed price and timescale before asking your lawyer to prepare contracts.
7. Before visiting the notary, ensure that your lawyer has checked the planning situation at the local council offices. Not all lawyers see this as part of their job.
July 25, 2006 at 4:41 pm #64127
I agree in principal with almost everything you said.
However, in the vast majority of cases is simply is not possible to meet the owner of the property. Most will invariably live in other parts of Spain or in other countries.
Also not all off plan are to be avoided. Most are but not all!
The main point is get a bloody good lawyer here in spain.
July 25, 2006 at 4:53 pm #64129
….and the million dollar question for the day is….Where & how do you find a b***** good lawyer in Spain? 😕
July 25, 2006 at 5:44 pm #64130
Mil gracias a todos…
I take note of all the advice.
Funny story, since we are discussing agents… I had organised to view a place this evening. The place just seemed too good to be true, I even checked up the reference code (it was an MLS) on the net and most sites said it wasnt available anymore, PLUS it was for a much higher price (100.000 euro in the difference…?) on the other sites.
I asked the agent over and over again if he was sure it was still for sale… he reiterated that it was… so I started getting excited. This place was truly too good to be true. What do you know, I get a phone call 15 minutes before I am supposed to meet him telling me it had just been sold half an hour ago…. I find it hard to believe to be honest.
Does anyone else out there think that agencies put up “too-good-to-be-true-properties” on their site to lure you in? And then suddenly it gets sold but hey, “we have other MORE EXPENSIVE ones that you could look at”….
Am I just being paranoid? Too suspicious?
BTW, there is such a thing as a decent lawyer on the Costa del Sol; you just have to find the family-run companies who actually care about their clients….
August 27, 2006 at 6:48 pm #65248
I am amazed that you haven´t found a good agent nor have you been recommended one. There are lots of good and honest agents around. I am an agent in Costa Blanca and a lot of my business comes from recommendations. I give my buyers second to none after sales service. Some still call me after 13 years to help them with a particular (small or large) problem they might have and I am only too happy to help at no cost to them!
August 29, 2006 at 1:24 am #65273
You have not made it clear where you are looking
The CDS property market at the moment is in total disarray – someone has mentioned Arriba Estates but in real terms they have maybe 10 properties for sale now that the IN network has collapsed! They did have 3,000 to offer previously but only inclusive of a 9% commission!!
At the end of the day, most Real Estate Agents are sharks. Not all but certainly the vast majority. Use the SUR ONLINE. When you find a property of interest, do a search of the web page for the phone number and the chances it will appear again and again. Agents on the CDS do tend to hide their properties as if they are private sellers.
DO NOT be afraid to discuss price in front of the seller – most have no idea what their property is being marked up by. An honest agent would not object. If an agent has nothing to hide, all should agree that a 2-3% commission (AND NO MORE) is a fair payment for their services. If it is any higher then everyone should be asking questions and the agent CANNOT justify it! Make any offer to the seller DIRECT with a copy to the agent. State “I am prepared to pay 250,000 Euros including a 2% commission to the agent….” . If the vendor accepts but the agent refuses, you are then quite entitled to go direct to the vendor and offer 245,000 Euros direct with no commission payable by any party. The original offer was probably declined by the agent and not the vendor or if you offer via the agent a much lower “net price” was offered to the seller!!
Let’s get rid of any agent charging more than 3% by cutting them out of deals – why should they be allowed to steal either the sellers equity or the purchasers savings?
August 29, 2006 at 5:39 am #65274
Not only did we not have any problems of any kind with Viva Estates, they also helped us recover a €7000 deposit that we unwisely put down with a different agent for a 2nd apartment that we later decided we didn’t want to buy.
We highly recommend Viva, at least the salesman we had. We are 100% satisfied with all the dealings with had through them.
August 29, 2006 at 2:49 pm #65282
“At the end of the day, most Real Estate Agents are sharks. Not all but certainly the vast majority.”
Something of a generalisation by paulandlyn I think.
August 29, 2006 at 5:29 pm #65286
Thanks for the responses; at this stage I am totally disheartened by the whole thing… found a lovely property and was in the process of getting a mortgage for the place when the agent sold it behind my back! I found out some days later…. Granted I was silly not to insist on the reservation contract and deposit when they told me it wasnt necessary….
We learn from our mistakes…
Re VIVA; I have heard they have dropped their commission to 2% at the moment also… pretty good I think.
September 1, 2006 at 7:54 am #65387
stay away from M*
September 1, 2006 at 2:21 pm #65398
We were greatly assisted by an ‘M’, but as the company is so large, there are undoubtedly many ‘M’s.
September 1, 2006 at 4:14 pm #65405
Well like most things in life you find your fair share of both types – same as the posters on this forum. Some think before posting and others don’t!
Having been involved with property for 22 years in the UK and vowing not to get mixed up with the industry over here (having semi retired) what am I doing now – yep, sorting out the last 5 years of mis-management in my local agency office.
So why do so many people have a gripe about agents? Well I can certainly understand that many people will have had a bad experience with agents in Spain (along with bad solicitors and developers) however I am constantly amazed by the naievity of buyers that come to “buy the dream” and end up in a living nightmare.
I feel very soory for many that have been misled but a few simple precautions can make the world of difference to anyone who wants to buy in Spain.
Firstly do plenty of research before even leaving to visit Spain – websites like this can be hugely helpful in avoiding some of the more obvious mistakes. Work out what area you want to live in – I see that our original poster doesn’t mention any area – my sadistic nature would question anyone who hasn’t identified an area as a prime suspect for a fall.
Once you have an idea of the area it is much easier to identify the agents that will help you find the right house – again do plenty of research on these agents – what kind of service do they offer buyers? Do they show an interest in your needs? Are they just a shark? If the latter just avoid them. You have to trust the people you are dealing with.
A word about some of the posters in this (and probably other threads) whinging on about fees and the fact that agents will look after the vendor more than the buyer.
I’ll deal with the latter first – we are acting for the vendor. He is paying our fee and as such we have a duty to achieve the best possible price for the vendor and have his interests uppermost in our minds – most of us are very aware of the need for a balancing act between buyer and vendor which is where some of the agents tend to get confused.
I would always recommend that someone has a survey done (on any property they buy – here, in the UK, new/old) but if the buyer decides not to have one (as many do!) well that’s fine by me.
I don’t recommend friendly lawyers – never buy a property through a lawyer that is recommended by the agent that you are buying from. Get a lawyer that you are happy with and then find the right house.
Right, as for fees! Well I can imagine this is going to create some consternation. First thing is if you don’t want to pay fees, don’t use an agent. Sell it yourself. And good luck to you. I have no problem with private sales and frankly if you can sell in this market then you deserve to save the cost of a fee.
Why are fees so high here? Well partly it is due to greed on the part of agents – (wouldn’t you in your business if you could?) 😉 and partly it is due to the lower level of sales (compared with the uk for instance). I think you will see fees reducing during the next twelve months (not least due to the VE decision) and this will reduce the number of agents out there in the market (great news for all imho).
I charge 3.5% for sole agency and 5% for multi agency.
Whilst in the UK I would have been expecting roughly 20 sales a month but in Spain this can be as little as 2 per month. (obviously I am an inland agent not used to the spectacular activity on the coast!) so this may help to illustrate the need for a higher fee.
Many of our vendors have never had a proper discussion with their agent over price, marketing, sales rates, fees etc and this I find staggering. Many of them simply do not know who they are on the market with.
I have discussions with some vendors about how they can improve their properties for sales purposes and they look blankly at me – then think about the cost of what I’ve just suggested and then say “can I increase the price by that amount”.
So greed is an awful trait to have and sadly it is not exclusive to estate agents. Vendors, buyers and even some posters on this forum may even have suffered from it in the past.
In summary, be careful when buying any property. Research it first very carefully. The agent is working for the vendor so be aware of that. Have a survey done on any property you buy. Use a solicitor that you can trust and that has no connections with the property or agent you are buying from. Make a list of what is important to you and make sure the property you buy fits that criteria.
Don’t leave your brain on the plane.
September 1, 2006 at 10:26 pm #65415
@Aunty Val wrote:
Don’t leave your brain on the plane.
❗ 🙄 🙄
September 2, 2006 at 2:09 pm #65433
One quick point about private sales in Sur and other English papers and i don’t want to be the voice of doom because i realise that many hundreds of people have bought this way and been very happy.
however, about three years ago a couple from South Wales came over to Spain to buy a property that had been advertised privately (don’t know if it was newspaper or se vende board) but they ended up dead and all their savings withdrawn from the bank
the property wasn’t even for sale, the people had just rented it for the exclusive purpose of fleecing someone
I realise this was an isolated incident but please be aware that it can happen
never view properties alone
always tell people where you are going and what time to expect you back
Chilly ❗ [/u]
September 2, 2006 at 5:43 pm #65439
Excuse my ignornance but what does – imho – mean?
September 2, 2006 at 10:04 pm #65440
imho = In my honest opinion.
September 4, 2006 at 7:20 pm #65496
Two big bites of the free advertising cherry.
Reading the posts for the past month there are so many people advertising their businesses here that they are making a mockery of the no commercial content rule.
September 4, 2006 at 9:24 pm #65500
I agree 100%, and we are not the only ones who thinks so. Hence I cannot be bothered to post these days. 🙁 If it’s not the EA’s selling themselves then it is the pathetic spam mailers of which there are three this evening. 👿
September 4, 2006 at 9:43 pm #65501
Quite agree 🙄
September 5, 2006 at 10:05 am #65515
I hope that nobody is accusing me of advertising?
At no time will I be inclined to make my company name public – I just hope to give a slightly more balanced view from an agent’s perspective rather than listen to the anti-agent rants that sometimes appear on here.
This forum should be free from advertising although there are always going to be instances where agents/developers names arise (be that negative or positive).
As for spam? Its bluddy awful and should be a hanging offence.
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