Reply To: Estate agent commissions in Spain – gouging?



Hi Ronnie

A good agents charter is ok – but like the builders guild or other such organisations in the UK only a handful of people would look at whats good – and the bad ones would still get away with it. I think a mix of the two would be better, but it would need to be policed because it opens itself up for abuse (as in the spamming wars – there are good blocklists and bad – some are mere vendettas others are legitimate and give people an option for recourse if it is incorrect).

As for checking the agents commission – I would disagree on this point. When buying in the UK you dont really care what the agents commission is because the house is valued at £x and the seller pays the commission. Therefore if a house sells at £100,000 it is probably valued at £100,000 and the buyer doesnt see any difference if the seller pays 1% 3% or 5%

However in Spain the seller basically decides the value (very few agents will give an honest answer when asked to put a value on a house), therefore the agent puts his commission on top – so the market value may be £100,000 and the seller gets this, but the buyer has paid perhaps £110,000.

Therein lies the difference. So in the Spanish case yes you would be much better finding out the agents commissions – but asking the questions isnt enough because I know of agents who will tell you it is only 3% when in fact they are charging you 10% (or more – I have seen 50% charged inone case). In short they lie to you – yes harsh words but it does happen.

And the way they do contracts over here is very sneaky too. Up here they create a contract between agent and sell and another one between agent and buyer – and never the twain shall meet. So how do you find out – usually you ask the seller- but if the seller isn’t present when you go or you dont speak the same language – then how do you find out.

The answer is to have someone who does speak Spanish acting on your behalf. But the agents will still try and make sure the owner isnt there – in which case you have to be diligent – go on your own and knock on the door – the owners for sure wont mind. But the agents will of course.

Or the other alternative is to try and find the same house with other agents – because it is highly unusual that a house is exclusively with one agent. therefore do some homework and look on the internet and for sure you will find the same property for sale and likely to be cheaper.

So in summary I still think naming and shaming works best – why should bad agents get away with it – and from the one site I know that does it I know that when an agent is on there they try like anyting (threatening court action, cease and desist orders, even physical violence) to get their names back off. They even go so far as to change the name of their business and start anew.