Reply To: Estate Agents Fees



I used to be a buyers agent before I became a musician and I also write for a lcoal newspaper and have been writing articles on buying a property in Spain since I first came here – actually before that when I first bought. I have had a vested interest in writing about buying in Spain (and wrote a small book on the suject) for about 5 years. You dont have to be an estate agent to be interested in property – my dream when I moved here was to be a developer. Buying run down properties doing them up and selling them on. I happened to chance into being an agent because I developed a database )my previous profession was software) for an agent.

The property I mentioned in this post is my own and is to show that I dont expect people to do something I am not prepared to do mysel – ie drop my price to the current market level. As I said eat my own dog food
Yes it is in an estate agents interest to get the value to a saleable level- but is it not also in the sellers interest. If no one is looking at the property let alone putting offers in then surely this suggests one of two things – the agent isnt working for their money or the market doesnt believe this property is worth looking at.

Whatever the media are telling us the real price of Spanish Property in this area is falling. They state it has risen by 10% in the past year yet this is the decalred value. Last year people were declaring 20-30% under value. This year becuase fines are being issued and foreigners generally wont under declare now anyway – the declared amount has risen – but the selling price has remained the same or in fact fallen. Thats not quite a 10% rise.

Your daughters example is I am afraid fairly rare (or certianly in this area). Most agents here (if anecdotal evidence is anything to go by) do not give valuations. Most sellers are surrpised to get anything more than the usual take a few photos two lines of words and “How much are you asking” a ten minute job. Did any of the agents sit down with your daughter and explain what the market is doing? Who is buying, what sort of money they have, where they are coming from and what they are looking for. Do any of them demonstrate this with actual clients looking for property, with details of recent property sales in a similar price bracket and similar type of property.

I find most sellers when you give them a bit of realism will consider what has been said. Hopefully they may even do their own research and come to their own conclusion.

As for the valuations we give I use a formula which was advised by a valuation architect who does it for a living – as to how to arrive at a valuation. It is not in anyway exact, because valuing a proeprty is a subjective matter and for sure two people will give slightly different valuations but it gives a rough idea of a value.

Whether the client agrees to this valuation or not is their perogative – I dont pressure people into doing what they dont want to do. THey dont have to accept what I tell them. They are free to go out and see for themselves what the market is doing. I even offer them (if they want) advice on how to sell their house DIY, so they dont need to use me if they dont want to, but at least they should be aware of what chance their property has of selling.

But if someone tells me their property is on the market for 6 months and no visitors there must be a reason for it. Generally – but not always – it is because it is overpriced.

If people are coming to see it and still no offers then you have to ask why? What is it that makes people come to see a house but not want to buy it. This is what the agent should be relaying back to your daughter so she can do something about it.

Unless of course they just dont bother asking the buyer what they thought.

However some agencies just bring pepole round so it looks like they are doing their job, a pointless excercise in my opinion because they are just wasting everyones time – but nonetheless they do it. I know because it happened to me when I was buying. Shown a property 20 minutes inland when I asked for an apartment 200M from the beach. Why?

Sales are not thin. There are lots of people looking. What is thin is UK clients. However that is the big problem with most UK and foreign owned agents – they concentrate on the UK market. The Spanish are still buying in abundance and still represent easily the highest proportion of buyers in this area (I cant speak for CDS because I dont live there and only visit once every two months or so)

There is also a steady stream of Dutch, Belgian and Nordic clients coming over – not in droves but a trickle. There is also in this area at least – americans coming here because apparently there is a little boat race next year in Valencia that everyone is getting excited about.

The valuations I give dont depend on what the owner is asking – they depend on what I believe a fair market value is – like a UK based agent must do. If the owner wants less than the valuation I will still tell themwhat I vbelieve is a fair value. If they still want to reduce the price then fine – their choice.

It is not only our interests to sell a property – it is also the sellers.

I hope your daughter sells her property soon – if you PM me I will even give you pointers as to where she can advertise free on sites which bring results and if she doesnt speak Spanish I will even write the advert for her.