The Spanish property market is much more competitive than the UK… The Hondón Valley as a mature market now is no exception. This brings many challenges for the property agents here. Indeed it can get quite cut-throat and has been known to turn nasty and cause client dissatisfaction with so much money at stake.
Multi-Agent Marketing: So, vendors of Spanish real estate can and do choose to market their property with more than one agent in the hope it helps expose their property to a wider audience. This makes sense to a degree. The competition should make the agents work harder to sell that property. But do they? Often that array of agents are advertising on the exact same portals such as Kyero, Zoopla, A Place in the Sun or Rightmove … and do very little locally or market elsewhere. Yes, you’ll often see the same property at the same price numerous times on the portals because of this multi-agent “system”.
Increased Selling Costs: But as a direct result, this multi-agent listing actually increases the price of selling a house. Why? Well, as an example, if you have 6 agents all listing, photo’ing, videos, marketing, portal costs, viewings, admin’, staff & business costs for the exact same property …etc but only one agent sells the home, the other five agents make NOTHING on that house but of course they still had all the work to do. That’s why the % selling fee is a lot more in Spain than say the UK. Simply, the sales that are successful have to cover the losses of the ones sold by other agents or that take a long time to sell. And fully marketing a property across the target market of the EU and un some cases the World is an expensive service.
Split the Commission: This “system” also encourages some real estate agents to team up, we call it collaborating. Often if an agent has a potential buyer but no suitable properties to sell them, that first agent will approach other agents in the target area and seek to split commissions if successful, usually 50/50. This is more favourable to the first agent than losing the buyer to another rival. This can work well and is done a lot but it can have it’s downsides, nor is it ideal in all situations.
To Collaborate or Not to Collaborate?
Here at Hondón Villas we are fortunate not to have to turn to collaborators too often. other agents usually approach us. In deed we go out of our way not to collaborate if we can help it. However we do have a few trusted agents we will help or work with providing we are always in attendance and can hold the clients hand professionally (buyer or seller).
If we don’t collaborate with a particular agent it’s usually because we have already tried them or know their service is sub-standard. And to be honest, some we don’t trust at all. Plus, some agents have tried to double-cross us and our clients.
a) We garner 100,000’s of online visitors annually to our own websites, portals and blogs, so we have an established sales funnel.
b) We dominate Google rankings for the area which gives our sellers more exposure / gets more buyer’s eyeballs.
c) Our leads to sales ratio is well over our target / break even point so we are self sufficient.
d) We like to manage the customer experience the “Hondón Villas” way. A poor / pushy / rude agent could risk the sale and damage someone’s dream!
e) We prefer to not confuse the buyer/seller as to you they are actually dealing with.
f) We are AIPP Members for 5 years and try to ensure anyone we collaborate with is also an AIPP member or on par with our service standards and trust.
g) We maintain a wide portfolio of homes on our books and being established & experienced can stock up on houses that are more likely to sell.
h) We have our own high-street offices and get a good footfall of local and tourist interest. … the locals can identify with us and our brand.
i) We brand our company car, billboards, stationary, social media, emails and brochures so people know who we are. Our staff wear branded name badges… indeed yes, we actually have staff! Just about all the other agents in Hondón are one-person businesses (even if they keep saying “we”).
We’re cautious with whom we work with: We have found that the agents without a high profile or a poor local network are more likely to want to collaborate. We get approached weekly I’d say, we turn most agents down after a vetting process or we insist on doing the service part / qualifying / viewings. These agents often work from home, a car/mobile or from outside the Hondón regions. Many are “newbies” or have no experience. We say no to them!
When it’s not a good idea for the Client
Confused dot com! So collabs’ are usually better for the agents cashflow and if a sale is forthcoming, the buyer/seller may say it’s good for them. But … We have heard far too many times from buyers and sellers that they simply do not know which agent/company turned up to help them or who the agent’s company is. Some wonder how that agent knew them in the first place. Communication is harder and more problems are likely to occur. Simply, that “too many cooks spoil the broth”!
This is the bad part of collaborations. The seller lists with one agent but somehow another agent they don’t know turns up at the door or calls them for a viewing (with no legal contract, safety net or follow-up). The 2nd agent either saw a “Se Vende” board on the gate and unethically approached the vendor or they got the address from another agent. The data protection act suggests swapping data may be illegal. And it increases the risk of a ‘dodgy’ agent doing a double deal… and it’s happened.
Or the buyer enquires through a property portal, gets an agent call but has no idea who they are dealing with or if the agent is even any good or legal! Next thing it’s “meet me at the petrol station on the B999 road! Not a great idea is it? We bring them to the offic where ever possible.
High Risk for All: Example…. Many collaborating agents have been known to pass house keys willy nilly between each other to do viewings. Some are even leaving keys for collection at local bars! This is a high risk game. Hondon Villas have a key safe that only staff have access to. We never give keys to another agent or person without express permission from the vendor or we let the agent in. The idea that you let another agent have the keys unaccompanied is madness and unsafe to our way of thinking.
Recently, a collaborating agent let a surveyor enter the property without the owner’s permission (they are abroad & the house is empty). The reason is the collaborating agent did not have the owner’s name or telephone number. One seller we know had money stolen from her home during an ad-hoc viewing via a collaborating agent.
It Gets Overcrowded: We have seen 3 and 4 collaborating agents all turning up at the Notary / Completion day to claim their % of the sales fee! Overwhelming!
Greedy: We have also seen many times some agents wanting to inflate the property asking price to cover their loss in a split commission. And a few agents have, once they see where the house is, go back later and try to undercut our service or worse want to do a black money deal. This is not professional or ethical. And not AIPP standards.
Thankfully, our years in the business and local knowledge minimises the worst parts of a collaboration. We know who we want to deal with and as a result 99% of our sales are stress-free and easy. If we do have problems it is usually because someone is double dealing, not being honest or is incompetent... and now and again the wolves do wear sheep’s clothing.
Alas, we cannot fix the weaknesses in the Spanish property market but we sure as hell try to minimise them for our client’s sake and to save on our leg-work and reputation.
Contact Hondón Villas: 30+ Years of Experience & Local Knowledge
Telephones: +34 622 314 244
OFFICES: Central Plaza in Hondón de los Frailes