Why use an Estate Agent when buying or selling a property in Spain?

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Sharon explains the buying and selling process. The good! The bad! The ugly!

If you are looking to buy a property in the Almeria region, this is what you need to know.
For many of you who know me from Channel 4, Sun Sea and Selling Houses. You will know how important my business, along with my family and clients, are to me. 

After selling and marketing Spanish Real Estate for almost 17 years now, I believe I know my job quite well. I would like to think you all feel the same after watching us for the past 7 years on TV.

Now, when it comes to the question of “Why use a Real Estate Agent when buying or selling a property in Spain?”. I can give you all the politically correct answers expected from an agent. Or I can just be me and tell you how it really is. So, keeping it real, for many years, Estate Agents as a profession, have been labelled. Labelled with a reputation of an industry manned by well-intentioned people, who don’t do very much, but charge an awfully high fee for the privilege.

Hmmm, if you could only spend one day in my shoes, I am sure you would see another side of the story. 

In today’s blog. I would like to give you an idea of what WE DO (The Garners) as an estate agent, that may not be obvious on TV. I hope it gives you a little more insight to how hard we work for what we get paid.

The process is not the same as the UK

The buying and selling process here in Spain is very diverse to say the least. Different areas of Spain have a more relaxed procedure, making it a lot easier to market and buy a property in those areas. Here in our region, Andalusia, the process we have to deal with here is another world. 

Andalusia is the only region of Spain that is governed. As an estate agent, we are governed by the Decree 218/2005 and with that comes a whole lot of work for us as Estate Agents. I don’t want to bore you all with the full decree, as it takes some reading and understanding, but I will give you the basics below. This link will also tell you all about it, should you wish to know more https://www.juntadeandalucia.es/boja/2005/217/1

The good thing is, if you are looking to buy or sell a property in Andalusia, you will know all this is in place with Spanish Property Choice, before you even start to look for a property.

The basis of the Decree 218 is to offer transparency and compliance.

I have absolutely no problem being transparent and honest. You can’t guarantee any agent is perfect, no agent is, no business is. Even though I think my business is perfect, its not! things happen that is out of our control, and human error is something we all have to live with. However, I can guarantee no agent will try harder than my team, to do the right thing.   

It is not easy though, I can tell you. In fact, it is a real pain in the rear to have to ask vendors for all the paperwork we need to comply.

So the first thing we do is ask for all the relevant paperwork, now this includes:

  • A copy of their Escritura – We ask for this as it shows us the Tomo: Libra: Finca: & Folio numbers. We also ask for this so that when our valuers go out to the property, they can see prior what they are supposed to be valuing. It’s no good going to a property that, for example, shows on the Escritura that it is 100 square meters. Then we conduct the valuation, and it’s quite obvious the property is not that size. We can only value on what is registered.
  • A Nota Simple is required (This is normally a 3-page document, but it is an up-to-date version of the Escritura and is valid for 3 months.) Why do we ask for this? This is an important document, because it will show us how the property is registered as of the day we get it, for example. If an owner has maybe had an extension, or taken a mortgage since receiving their Escritura, and it has not been updated, the Nota Simple will show this information. The solicitors will also require one, and so will the Notary.
  • Licence of 1st Occupation/ Licencia de Primera Ocupación. There are many properties that do not have these, and if they do not have one, then we ask for an AFO. An AFO (A Fuera de Ordenacion) is required not in line with the Decree 218, but its a document that regularises the property, in turn protecting our buyers. It also aids the sale of the property for our vendors but at a cost to them. In brief – An AFO is used to regularise houses built without a licence of 1st occupation. Also, ones reformed or changed in any way without the relevant documentation.
  • Energy Performance Certificate – By law, the result has to be displayed on all marketing material from either an agent or the vendor. It is the vendors’ responsibility to provide one, or they can be fined. It drives me mad when I see agents with the EPC ratings, and it says “In transit” or applied for. Yes a few maybe but not their whole or most of their portfolio, come on! If they can not be bothered to make sure a house has this basic document, what eles do they not have?

The following is also required;

  • Passport and NIE NUMBERS to prove they are the owners
  • Water and electricity bill to prove they are on mains.
  • Basura/Rubbish bill
  • IBI/Council tax bill
  • Recent Community bill and rules

Sharon continues;

So the listing team spend a lot of time to collate all of this information prior to going out to value and take on a property. We do get vendors say, “well can´t you do it before you get all this information?” however we have to explain that yes we can come and pick a figure out of the air, we can market and find a buyer for sure. BUT if the paperwork is not correct it will hold up or actually lose a sale! it takes time to rectify some issues, and by law, we can only advertise what is states on your paperwork! So a true valuation is impossible until its all registered to know what we are actually selling.

I hope this makes sense?

At this point, remember, we have not been paid a penny for all this time and effort! As I have said before, sometimes it is not easy and if I am being really truthful with you. I have had vendors literally shout in my face, stand over me and walk out on me, saying “Why do I have to give you all this?. None of my other agents already marketing my property, have asked for it?”. So why should the vendor bother supplying all this to us, if it is already being marketed, is how they look at it. We have lost properties becasue of it.

There have been times that I could have cried in anger, because I have had to defend my business for doing it right. What’s that all about? I also have to stay professional, and now I always reply and instruct my team to reply.  We are just complying with the law”

So what is next?

For every one vendor who does not feel the need to supply the documentation in line with the law, we are grateful there are of course many proactive vendors who do. The ones who see the benefit in aiding a quick and efficient sale. 

The next step.

Our listing team have a tick list that has to be completed prior to marketing and a full DIA is completed in line with the law. Now, I am not saying that sometimes we may have to wait for some of the basic paperwork, maybe becasue the owner is not in the country for example. Or for us to receive the instruction by the solicitor, to market with the guarantee any outstanding small issues will be completed prior to any sale. Yes, this happens, but thank goodness they are very few and far between. But the main requirements are always in place.

Listing team – Kim, Sharon, Val, Andrea, Matt, John and Shaun

At this point, the paperwork trail is complete. So Shaun, Matt or John attend the take on. They are fully trained and professional and complete a full walk around video on all listings. A 3D Dolls House Tour and Floor Plan. We offer this on our exclusive listings along with Drone footage. ( Free of charge)

During this process, we are active in the staging process and any general pre property set up and check. It is important to note, we can get to this stage and the vendor can decide not to market, or may choose another agent. SO WHO PAYS ME FOR ALL THE WORK SO FAR, to pay my staff? Most service providers would be paid by now. We do not get paid until we SELL a property! But thats the business we are in and its a good job I love what I do 😉 However it does grind on me, when the general conception is an Estate Ageent does very little to earn their money.

Listing the property

Once a proeprty is loaded to the system, the information is downloaded to our website, our YouTube Channel, and full social media. Our exclusive collaborators all over the world are contacted. The 3 offices we have are updated, and the listing is added to all active, relevant portals. Our own website actually has more hits than many of the portals we advertise on. We are Google ranked Page 1 for Spanish Property. Not bad for a family Estate Agent. 🙂

All this marketing is paid for in advance, even though the property can be potentially sold by another agent or removed from sale.

Now the property is live!

We have 11 members of our team, all fully experienced, trained and proactive ready to find our clients their dream home. When a property is downloaded on our website, our team actively match the property to the huge database of clients looking to purchaser from us. They send out round robins, and call clients all over the world to notify them. 

It is now part of our normal day to sell properties online from all over the world. People now know and trust us to find them their perfect property.

Team work makes the dream work.

Our team travel all over Almeria to conduct virtual viewings, some days covering hundreds of klm. They help clients book flights, transport, accommodation. They arrange viewings from our own portfolio but also spend days, even weeks compiling properties from our collaborators also, to give our clients the best choice. 

They stay in touch with some of our clients for years until the right property lists on our website. Furthermore, they also advise until clients are in a position to move forward.

When we do find a buyer, we then help with access to a network of professionals, such as mortgage brokers, home inspectors, and lawyers.

So what do we do for our buyers?

We go above and beyond to afford you peace of mind.

Before you view with The Garners of Spanish Property Choice, we do ALL OF THE ABOVE to make sure you get to see the best property out there. To know we have collated the documentation on each property we have to give to your chosen solicitor. That we have your back!

We DO NOT CHARGE OUR BUYERS! and our Vendors only pay us an agreed fee between 1% – 3% or 3.5% (Depending on market structure they choose) WHEN WE FIND A BUYER!

I hope you can see by this process a lot of time, effort and money goes into just listing a property and finding a buyer before any of us get paid.

So please believe me, not all agents are sharks, charlatans and money grabbers, who do nothing to earn their commission. We work extemely hard, up to 18 hrs a day, 7 days a week, to make sure our buyers buy safely and our vendors secure a quick and easy sale. We/I put a lot of money up front in the hope we can sell a property, an average commission is 3,000€ + IVA, Spain is the not in the LA league when it comes to what agents get paid.

Time for change maybe?

So maybe one day, the profile of an Estate Agent will change, until then, this is just what we do for our keep. If anyone says we don´t earn our keep, walk a day in our shoes and you will see that is not true!

I hope you have enjoyed reading just a little about the work we do, of course there is a lot more we do besides the above like filming a TV series each year hahahaha. But you know that of already.

Thank you for supporting us as always, Have a wonderful day.

Sharon and all at Spanish Property Choice x

Sharon Garner

The Garner family of Spanish Property Choice located in Almeria, Spain are a household name in Spanish Real Estate, after Garner-ing TV Heaven on the very popular Channel 4 TV show, Sun Sea and Selling Houses for the past 8 years. With 3 offices in Mojacar, Albox and Huercal Overa, the TV show follows the family and team of Spanish Property Choice, doing what they all do best, selling Houses, lifestyle and the Spanish dream.