Selling a house in Spain : estate agent checklist

Jos Deuling,  Friday, 24 May 2013

Water Reflection in pool 

This article is part of a series of seven articles about selling a property in Spain. The other articles in the series cover the following topics:

Sell Your House Without an Agent?

Some people try to sell their Spanish home without an estate agent. Afterwards, you often hear that this is a cumbersome process with no guarantee of success. You can try if you live in Spain and have a lot of spare time. It will save you at least the agents fees which may be quite high in Spain. The Spanish Association of Estate Agents recommendeds a rate of 3%. However, there are also agents who charge 10% commission.

If you decide to sell the property yourself, then it is advisable to hire a lawyer. A lawyer is simply necessary to take care of the contracts. All contracts are e.g. in Spanish. You may hire a lawyer for a fixed fee of around 2500 euros. You can also pay a commission between 1% and 1.5% of the selling price.

Multi-agency selling

It is common practice in Spain to sell your house using different agents. You may give an agent exclusive rights. This will get you a discount on the commission. But you run the risk that it will take more time to sell the property.

Agents know the local market and can give you advice on the market value. If you offer the home to multiple agents, you will get a good idea of the market value of your home. Each agency will provide its own estimate so you will get a realistic view of the selling price. Now that the housing market in Spain has collapsed, you may be disappointed by the value. Don’t make the mistake asking a higher price than the valuation. The consequence may be that you won’t sell your home and that agents will spend less effort in finding you a buyer. If you need to get rid of the house, you can ask a price well below the market value. After the collapse of the Spanish housing market, prices are already quite low. A sales price below market value, therefore, doesn’t guarantee a quick sale.

Why you should hire a lawyer when selling a property in Spain

A professional estate agent will guide you throug the sales process. He takes care of the viewings, negotiates the price, gives advice on the drafting of contracts and is present at the signing of the purchase contract. But you should also consider hiring a lawyer. A lawyer is particularly important when drafting contracts. A lawyer knows the ins and outs of all the different sale clauses.

If you have both an agent and a lawyer, then they check each other's work. There are cases in which agents communicate an incorrect selling price to the vendors. The house was for sale for 200,000 euros. The agent has sold it for 175,000 euros but says that it was sold for 150,000 euros. An easy way for an agent to earn money. This won’t happen if you bring your own lawyer. He will check all the Spanish documents.

How to find a good sales agent?

The profession of real estate agent is not regulated in Spain. Anyone can call himself an agent. There are two professional associations in Spain which prescribe a code of conduct. They also offer a qualifying examination. Agents who are members of these associations are included in the API (Agente de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria) or GIPE (Gestor Intermediario en Promociones de Edificaciones) registers. Make sure your broker is a member of one of these associations. You can also ask friends and acquaintances if they know an agent with a good reputation.

Be careful in choosing an agent. It is difficult to recover the damage when things go wrong. Most Spanish real estate agents are not insured. So always ask if your agent is insured against 'accidents'.

A useful tip is to hire the agent who has sold you the property. The agent knows the property and knows perhaps people who are interested in the house.

Make clear agreements about the fee and the costs, e.g. the advertising costs. Draw up a contract with the agreements and have it checked by a lawyer.

If you prefer to buy a home through an english speaking agent, you can visit this page .

Deduct the agent costs in your Capital Gains Tax

Always ask your agent for a VAT invoice. You can subtract costs, commission and VAT from the selling price.

House keys

Make sure all selling agents receive a set of keys. Check in advance if the keys fit. Inform all agents that you have sold the property and ask to return the keys. The buyers will be surprised if an agent turns up for a viewing of the property. Buyers can also replace all locks. Just to be sure.

Strand met parasols in Andalusie
Spanish property for sale. Appartements, villas and houses for sale on the Costa del Sol, Costa Brava and Costa Blanca. For sale by owner and by agent. 
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