Saturday, July 16, 2011

A very different experience

Before you read this, can I point out that Pamela and I currently have no intentions of selling our property. We are very happy with our house, its location and the town in which we live.

However, we do know of a few of our neighbours who are selling their houses with varying degrees of success and it is interesting to contrast their experiences here in Spain with ours when we sold Pamela’s father’s house back in the UK last year.

  • In England you would normally employ just one estate agent to sell your house. Here in Spain, it seems you can market your property with several agents and in fact agents commonly sell properties on the books of other agents and then share the commission.
  • Estate agents here seem to be small local firms rather than nationwide businesses with local offices. They have fewer properties available for sale and often sell in areas outside their immediate locality.
  • The commission that estate agents in England wanted to charge for the sale of Pam’s father’s house varied from 1.5 to 1.8 per cent, here in Spain they seem to charge between 3 and 5 per cent.
  • In England a lot of stress is placed on marketing - particularly using the Internet. The agent we chose produced a full colour brochure of the house we were selling which included both photographs and detailed floor plans. This information was available both in printed form and online. Here, the information provided seems to be a lot more sketchy relying upon the floury language of the agent rather than precise details. Although you get information about the build size and plot size, these seem to be taken from the owners rather than be measured and I have yet to find a website with detailed floor plans.
  • The agent we used in England pitched the initial price high to gain interest and then reviewed it after six weeks to market at the right level. Here houses seem to be priced cheap to start with and still stick on the market for months or years.

Overall, the impression I get is that agents in England work a lot harder to sell your house, get faster results and charge less. In some cases, you could almost believe that estate agents in Spain are working for the buyer rather than the seller who is in fact the one paying them.

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