Let’s face it, estate agents in Spain often get a bad rap. Some of it is deserved, but much isn’t… or at the very least is out of date. It’s the same the world over. So why are we telling you to use one?
The trust was lost
Back in the days of the building boom, when new properties were popping up across Spain, sales were being made willy-nilly and people were taking unnecessary risks with their hard earned cash because they were fooled by smooth-talking salesmen who were more interested in making money than doing business ethically.
We have personally seen properties demolished in Cantoria, Almería, leaving owners who bought in good faith without anything to show for their pot of money. These people have been left with nothing more than a pile of rubble and a very sour taste in their mouths. Sadly, the plight of illegal properties is not restricted to one area with many more properties still at risk of demolition.
Onwards and upwards
Today however, Spain is dragging itself kicking and screaming out of the mire and the economy is on its way to recovery. By and large, most of the cowboys have been rooted out and gone – off selling “the next big thing,” to unsuspecting folk, while the more honest and resilient estate agents in Spain are still here – still doing honest business and happily enjoying the success that a good reputation and recommendations bring.
Organisations such as SOHA and AUAN are working to gain recompense for the homeowners shafted by unscrupulous property developers, agents and governmental representatives… while the government is slowly starting to listen.
Buyers are now more canny, refusing to trust blindly and demanding more from their agents. The honest and ethical agents are listening and delivering time and time again.
What can estate agents in Spain do for you?
When moving to Spain, you may not have learned the language yet. That’s okay because any Estate Agent worth its salt will have staff who are fluent in Spanish. They can translate for you and help you navigate an area you may not be competent in.
An estate agent (one that is any good at least) will already know the area you are considering. They will likely have lived there for some time and be knowledgeable about services and offerings in and around the vicinity.
They will be able to tell you about healthcare provisions, access to amenities, clubs and associations that interest you or put you in touch with local builders for any renovation work that you require.
If you’re a foreign buyer, the system in Spain may well be different from your home country so an agent is essential to guide you through the buying process, and in many cases may be able to offer the buyer a conveyancing package, or recommend a local lawyer to do this for them. – Robert Edwards. LPG Spain. Andalucia
Knowing the system
The Spanish legal system can be a minefield but a respected Estate Agent will know this and be able to guide you through it. Of course we always recommend that you engage the services of a lawyer, but for initial stages an agent will be able to advise whether their are likely to be any hurdles along the way (such as a building not being legal). They can perform background checks and help avoids anything that may bite you on the bum later on.
Estate agents know the law and the procedures. They also can read all paperwork so they know what you are selling or buying. This avoids problems. – Claus van Mierlo. NICLA Property Consultancy. Almería
Access to more properties
Not only will a good estate agent have a number of properties on their website, they may also have access to other properties that fit your criteria that are not necessarily in the public domain. Once they have spoken at length with you and established your needs, wants, and “nice to haves”, they can work with you to construct a shortlist of properties suitable for you to take a further look at – saving you hours of internet research.
An estate agent who has worked hard and has an established reputation in an area may often get offered the best properties and the better deals from the local people who know them personally. In areas with a high holiday home occupation then this is often the only way to view a property. The agents frequently act as key holders for a number of sellers who prefer not to receive a large number of calls from other agents, curious neighbourhood gossips and potential buyers, or leave it unattended. – Graham Hunt. Valencia Property. Valencia
Of course many people are confident to haggle on price but most are not. An established estate agent in Spain will be confident and experienced in negotiating the best price for you property. This brings us neatly onto…
He/she will know the fair rates for the area and work with both the seller and the buyer to reach a price that both are comfortable with. You may want €200k for your two-up/two-down, but if locally they are all going for €125k, then you’re not going to sell it. A good estate agent will keep your feet firmly on the ground and manage your expectations.
They really don’t cost you more
There is a misconception around price with an estate agent. So what if they are earning a percentage of the sale for their work. They work damn hard for you, ease you through the process and hold your hand should things get tough. They translate things for you. They often help you organise connection to electricity and telephone. They negotiate for you. They answer your questions with a smile (even if that’s the millionth time it’s been asked). You can’t expect that level of service for free. So what if you would have saved a few euros by approaching the owner direct – if you would have been happy to pay €100k for that cortijo in the hills, then it’s a fair price. It makes no difference to a buyer how that money is split – €100k is €100k. As for the seller – surely it is a good thing to successfully shift your property – and you will have agreed your rock bottom price anyway.
Estate agents in Spain, by law, have to give a juridical security to the tenants and the buyers regarding the property. By law, the agents have to carry out investigative work regarding the property, which includes but not limits to the legal title of the house, all taxes being paid, and any outstanding loans, or juridical restrictions. This is a process that the agencies have experience in but, if omitted, could could lead to increased costs, buying at a higher price, and getting stuffed with high credits, or court orders. – Tom Van de Velde. Almería Estates. Almería
Spain Buddy loves Estate agents
When we first left the United Kingdom and moved to Lanzarote, we didn’t use an agent. We were luckiy enough to make a contact on a local forum who found us a rental property that met our criteria. It was the first of a number of properties we looked at when we arrived (we had temporary accommodation organised while we searched) and it was the one we chose. Had that property come via an agent we would still have chosen it to have benefitted from all the aftercare.
When we moved to mainland Spain in 2012, we researched online for quite some time. We both found the same little farmhouse in the hills of Almería and it happened to be on an estate agent’s website. They helped us with connecting the internet, sorting out post, knowledge of the local area and even sorting out leishmaniasis collars for our dogs. We still deal with the same estate agent today, although it is under new ownership. Just knowing that they are on the end of the phone or email if we need something has been a big help to us.
How do you choose an estate agent in Spain?
Recommendation is key. Ask around. Speak to friends and contacts already in the area you are considering. Go to organisations you trust and ask them. When you speak to the agent, ask for testimonials. If they are doing business ethically and professionally, they will have a pool of people available who are happy to shout from the rooftops about the great service they received.
And there’s more…
Our resident relocation expert, Matthew Hirtes, has written almost 100 articles about moving to Spain on this website, concentrating on the areas you all want to know about. He writes these informative articles in conjunction with people who live in, and love, the particular area in focus. If you are thinking of moving to Spain, make that section your first point of research. If there are areas not included, let us know and it will be done for you. Here’s the link: Moving to Spain
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Spain Web Design by Gandy-Draper.
Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.