Torcal Estates Fincas and Country property - Málaga, Spain

Fincas and Country property - Málaga Property

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Selling your home in Spain

Choose the right agent

When considering an estate agent to sell your existing home it is important to choose an agent that you can trust.

The whole process of selling a property is an art form – getting the right price, choosing the right agent and having your home marketed in the right way are all issues which need to be considered at the outset.

The property market here in Spain is not as vibrant as it has been in the past and therefore you need to consider every aspect of the sales process as important and discuss the way in which the house is going to be sold with your chosen agent.

You will need to work with them for a period of time and the chances of you selling will improve if you can work together – it is a team effort.

The agent that you choose will be in charge of generating the enquiries through advertising etc however it is vital that you keep your end of the bargain up by making sure that your home is presented to its maximum potential.

Many homes are sold as holiday homes and this can have a detrimental effect on the way a property is viewed – it feels less like a home and therefore potential buyers can feel less attracted whereas a property which is perfectly presented can overcome some fairly major objections if it “feels right”.

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Why Torcal Estates?

Well, to start with, we consider the sale of people’s homes as an extremely important process – it is, at the end of the day, people’s most valuable asset!

We are an established estate agency practice, which has many years of experience within this area of inland Málaga. We have a reputation to maintain and enhance but most of all we want to help people through a process that can be very stressful.

Torcal Estates has been successful in surviving the recession and this is down to a professional approach together with a real understanding of what makes property sell and what makes someone buy. Communication is extremely important to us and we feel it is vital to give you feedback on what is good about your property and also, some of the more negative issues.

When we first visit a property to carry out a valuation we give consideration to all the factors which can help you sell and those which can delay a possible sale. We consider all the aesthetic issues such as presentation however, your legal paperwork is equally (if not more) important, than the house, its surroundings and the views.

We, at Torcal Estates, have seen many sales through other agents which have been held up by poor paperwork which can be hugely frustrating. Over the years we have helped a huge number of our vendors resolve these problems before finding a buyer thus ensuring a quick sale.

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Sole Agency – a new concept in Andalucia?

We now offer a Sole Agency agreement for those clients who wish to appoint Torcal Estates and no other agents.

The reason for doing this is that there are so many instances where the involvement of other agents can create confusion and mistrust in the mind of potential buyers viewing from the UK.

It also creates a situation where estate agents appointed have no real conviction in selling your home and therefore will not spend any money, time or effort trying to find the right buyer for your home.

In general, properties being sold in the UK are only available through one estate agent and if they are available through others, they are always at the same price. When a buyer visits Spain (in person or via websites) and sees one property on the market with a number of agents (at different prices) this demonstrates a certain amount of desperation and can deter someone from enquiring about a property.

We see some properties being advertised at different prices through different agents and quite often the seller hasn’t even instructed those agents! In Spain, historically many agents have worked in a network of agents which share their properties. This is something that Torcal Estates fundamentally disagrees with.

What happens is that you appoint one agent who then goes off to share the property with 5 other estate agents but then a week later you want to reduce the price so you call agent 1. He changes his website but fails to tell his 5 other agents then you have an immediate discrepancy which can look very odd when people see your property advertised at different prices.

Thankfully, with Torcal Estates you only deal with one person and you know that your property is in safe hands.

Torcal Estates will charge 3.5% of the eventual sale price (plus IVA at the prevailing rate) for all Sole Agency properties.  

Additionally, Torcal Estates do not charge any up-front fee. You only pay Torcal Estates when we have successfully sold your property!

A lot of people wonder why commission rates are higher on the continent than in the UK and some other parts of Europe. Well the answer is predominantly one of volume – estate agents in the UK will have a much higher volume of sales during any one year than an agent in Spain (especially in inland areas) so to make the business viable a higher fee has to be achieved.

We feel that our fee reflects our high level of service and we are confident that we can justify our fee in minutes when first dealing with your property – ask us to come and provide you with a valuation and see firsthand why so many people are prepared to recommend our services.

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Torcal Estates working alongside other agents

Of course, we can continue offering this service where we are appointed alongside other agents.  If you instruct us as multi-agents you can appoint as many agents as you wish although we do feel that this can be detrimental to your efforts as mentioned above.

As you may already know, the level of service offered by estate agents can be very poor. We understand that this can make the whole process very stressful especially when a quick sale is needed. This is in some ways due to the number of estate agents that are appointed.

The commission rate that we will charge for any sale generated under a Multi-Agency instruction will be 5% of the agreed selling price plus IVA at the prevailing rate.

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Setting the right price

Possibly the most important factor in achieving a sale is arriving at the correct asking price for your home.

Due to the variety of properties available in the local area it is not easy to compare properties “like for like”. Your agent should be able to provide information about properties that are selling and should be able to provide sufficient comparable evidence to substantiate the price for your home.

We, at Torcal Estates, keep detailed records of all properties that are sold in this area from 2008 to date. This information covers the average sales rate per square meter and is a very useful guide to values and trends through a large range of properties.

When fixing an asking price in the current market, it is important to recognise that a property that is €10,000 or €20,000 over-priced will result in less viewings and less interest from your estate agent! Properties that are over-priced simply will not sell in the current market.  

Also be aware of agents that tell you what you want to hear – this is not going to help you sell your home. Agents that over-value a home just to get it on their books are doing nobody any favours. These properties will be left on the market for months (and in some cases, years!) and they do little to encourage an active market.

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Avoid Quoting a Net Price

When fixing the asking price of your property please ensure that you avoid fixing a “Net Price” with your agents.

This is where you say to your agents “this is the figure I need, you add your fee on top” as this can be hugely detrimental to your chances of success.

What will happen if you appoint a number of agents is that all the prices will be different (depending on their fees) and it also causes a problem when an offer is made.

Consider this example: You want to sell your property and want to achieve a figure of €250,000. You tell your agents this but because of different fees they each put the property on at different figures (€262,500 and €267,500). So, what happens when an offer is made at €260,000? Does your agent reduce his fee or do you take less than your original €250,000?

The price of your property should be based upon the market value and this should not change no matter how many agents are offering the property. Your estate agents fees should be paid out of the figure that you receive for the property and the worst thing to do at the point of offer is to re-negotiate your agent’s fees (they will lose interest and may start to work in favour of the buyer!).

If you agree a “net price” this will lead to your property being advertised at differing prices and this can be disastrous to any potential sale. (We have seen sales fall through because a buyer has suddenly seen the property they are buying advertised elsewhere for a reduced figure!)

If you quote a Net Price you are effectively telling your estate agent that you do not care about his commission – what affect is that likely to have? You should agree a fixed price for your property and pay the agent’s commissions out of that price.

Legal paperwork

It is imperative within today’s market to make sure all your paperwork up to date so as not to hold up a potential sale.

The escritura is an important document but equally important are some of the public documents that relate to your property such as the Property Register and the Catastro.

In general terms, your three most important documents are the escritura, the nota simple (which comes from the Property Register) and your Catastro records which should all say the same thing and should accurately describe the property you are selling.

If one of these documents describes your property as 100M2 but you are selling a 200M2 house then you will have problems when selling. Any discrepancy between paperwork will create doubt in your buyer’s mind and many lawyers will now recommend that paperwork is updated before a sale can proceed.

Even more minor additions such as small extensions, the creation of a pool or the changing of use for certain outbuildings can cause problems. Converting a room which is described on your paperwork as “almacen” would not have created any problem in the past but now it can be a stumbling block.

In addition to the legal paperwork for your property your annual IBI bill and utility bills are vital to make sure you don’t have any last minute hiccups. We, at Torcal Estates, always ask to see a recent copy of your utility bills to make sure that they are in order – you will be amazed by the number of electric supplies which are still in the name of an old Spanish owner!

Again, this never used to be an issue but nowadays lawyers will pick up on this and in some cases an inspection of the electrical installation has to be carried out before the supply can be transferred into the names of the new buyers.

We can give you comprehensive advice regarding your paperwork which can avoid huge amounts of stress at a later stage – all you need to do is bring your paperwork in to our office and we can discuss what needs updating and the best way to achieve this.

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Summary and some helpful hints on selling your home

Choose an agent you feel comfortable with and appoint them as sole agents for a set period of time.

Make sure all your legal papers are in order – there is nothing worse than finding a buyer who then pulls out due to paperwork problems.

Get the agent to erect a for sale sign.

Ensure that your property is presented to a high standard – take care of those little DIY jobs that have been outstanding for some time.

Prepare an inventory of all items included within the sale and provide the agent with a copy.

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