How to choose a real estate agent

Choose your agent wisely Photo: Shutterstock / G-stock

On the Costa del Sol, unlike the UK and most other European countries, there is no ‘sole agency’ agreement which keeps a property exclusive to one agent (with just a few exceptions). So, whether it be Malaga, Fuengirola, Mijas, Marbella, Estepona or Manilva almost every agent has direct access to almost every real estate agent’s listings.

Many Spanish agents belong to either the API or GIPE professional associations, which on the whole indicates a certain level of training, and they will usually also have professional indemnity insurance. Spanish estate agents tend to cover a very specific local area and so are ideal for clients who already know exactly where they want to concentrate their search.

Foreign owned estate agents in Spain tend to focus on buyers from their home countries, so, for example, British buyers tend to work with British agents. It is very easy to become an estate agent in Spain as there is no regulation and no qualifications are required so agencies can set up cheaply and quickly. Unfortunately, many underestimate the work required and one estimate suggests that up to 80 per cent of new start-up real estate agencies are gone within 18 months. Well-established agencies on the other hand will guarantee buyers and sellers a reassuring level of competence.

With virtually no barrier to entry into the market and as with any business sector in every country, there will always be those who do not match up to professional expectations. A personal recommendation goes a long way and today, with social media, it often doesn’t take long to find out which agent will work for you and which you should avoid. Spain’s property portal, Idealista has lists of quality, certified estate agents in every region of Spain, to make your search easier.

So, choose wisely and, if possible, get a recommendation from a satisfied client.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.