Cloudnine Spain Blog

Selling? Here's What You Need to Know...

Selling? Here's What You Need to Know...

Here Spanish property expert, author and Managing Director of Marbella-based agency Cloud Nine Spain Sean Woolley offers his advice for people looking to sell their Costa del Sol property at the time of choosing an agent.

Listen to the podcast version here

Link to the youtube video here

I’m going to talk to you today about who you should choose to list your property here for sale in Spain. So you’ve bought a property, you’ve enjoyed it for 5, 10 years, time has come to sell it on. What do you do? How do you do it?

First of all, we operate in what’s called a multi-listing system here in the Costa del Sol, which means that you can, you can list your property with as many agents as you want. It’s not like in the UK where you kind of interview three different agents and then you choose one to represent you. No, it’s not like that at all here. You can still do that, and that’s what’s called an exclusive listing agreement, but most properties are listed non-exclusively, which means that you can instruct that agent, that agent and that agent, as many as you want. Sometimes listing a property with too many agents can create confusion, because it’s seen too often, and then if you don’t update the price increase or decrease with that one agent, then he’s still showing it that price, that can really confuse buyers. You just got to be really, really careful. But how do you choose an agent in the first place? Because there are hundreds, no thousands of us. How do you select the one, or the two, or the three that you you want to give it to? It might well be that you’ve already got a contact, maybe it’s the agent that sold you the property that you think is well qualified to resell it for you. My advice would be to go with an agent who understands the market, who knows the market inside out, but not just the Costa del Sol market, the market that your property is in. So if you’ve got a house in Benahavis village, does that agent know Benahavis village? Do they understand the nuances in that market? Do they understand that the street that your house is on is better than that street there? You need to look at this very, very carefully.

What I would also do, is if I’ve got a property on a development, say, Marques de Atalaya on the Benahavis road, go online, go onto Google and type in properties for sale in Marques de Atalaya and see who comes up on the first page, and have a look at each one of them, and see how they are displaying properties in that urbanisation, and see if you like the look of them and then check them out. See how much experience they’ve got, if they’ve been around for six months, probably don’t bother, if they’ve been around for six years, then great. But you know, 80%, or 85% I think of overseas home searches start online. So people will go in, and they’ll go in and look at properties for sale in Benahavis, or properties for sale in Marques de Atalaya, if they know the development. And surely, you know if you’ve got an agent on that first page of search results in Google, then that’s a really good place to start. So the agency with the lovely swanky office in Guadalmina or San Pedro or something nearby might not be the agent to go to if they’re not prominent online, if they’re not in page one of the search results for that development that you are on.

Again, little things to think about, don’t always go with the obvious, because some of these people with swanky offices, have really swanky offices, and you know they have lovely window displays, but no one ever walks past them, or nobody ever walks in off the street, or if they do it’s for rental property. So again, just kind of challenge yourself, ask yourself the question, okay how would I buy a property in Marques de Atalaya, and you might think, okay first thing I’d do is I go online and check it out. That’s what you should do as a seller, you should go online, check it out and see who’s active in your market. See how they are presenting themselves and presenting the properties. Do they use wide angle lens photography, really super, super important because if you are going to pick an agent who comes round with a little camera, and your photos are going to look awful online, then really you’re not doing yourself any favours at all. Also, when you’ve maybe selected two or three agents that you like the look of, grill them, ask them questions, and one of the key questions is, how are you going to sell my property? Not necessarily about the price, we’ll come on to that, but how are you going to sell my property? And if they say, well, we’re going to put a nice picture in our window on the first floor of an office block in Guadalmina, then no it’s not going to do anything, it’s not going to do anything at all. If they say, okay, we’re going to get it on the internet and we’re going to put it on a couple of portals and we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that, then you know that they’re active, they understand what they’re doing, they understand web marketing and that’s absolutely critical to getting the most exposure for your listing.

The other thing that you need to hear, other than what they’re going to do to get it out to the general public, is how they’re going to market your property with the other agents. Because, chances are the agent that you give your property to, isn’t going to have the buyer for it. You know, this is where the multi listing system comes into play, because the buyer for your property might be sat with another agent down the road in Sotogrande or Fuengirola, and knows nothing about your property. So it’s how your agent distributes your property to other agents and makes the other agents aware that your property is available, and that it’s amazing, and it’s a great price. So you need to ask them what their strategy is, not only to get it to market for buyers, but also how they’re going to get it to market for collaborating agents. Bearing in mind, that over 70% of deals done on this coast are done with two agents involved in the transaction. And if they say to you, well we’re just going to make a few phone calls and, you know see if any of our mates from other agents fancy selling it, then again, avoid it, avoid it like the plague. Those agents that you instruct need to be members of the things like ReSales Online, Immobalia, Milenio Plus, maybe Infocasa, where they can put your property on a shared database that is going to be seen by hundreds of other agents. And you need to make sure that they’re happy to do that, because it means them splitting their commission. So you need to make sure that they’re happy to do that, that they’re not just going to keep it all restricted, so your property, which is amazing, no one’s going to get to see it apart from their 20 clients that they’ve got. No, you want exposure, and you want them to open it up and share your property, not to the masses, but you want them to have a collaborative angle to this and to do that, you’ve got to be willing to share your revenue. And most agents are, but some aren’t, and some of the big boys aren’t, they will just rather have their own listing things and just not give them to anyone else. So all those things are important when you come to select an agent to sell your property.

What I would do is, I would maybe get probably two, maybe two or three, and then I would invite them round and have a chat with them. once you’ve got the right answers on those points I’ve mentioned, a lot of it then comes down to do I like this person? Do I trust this person? You know, do I want them walking around my house with complete strangers? Do I trust them to control that? Do I trust them to lock the door, roll the blinds down, turn the lights off, you know, do I trust them to do that? But do I also get on with them, is this person going to be honest with me? If the house isn’t getting sold quickly, is this person going to be able to come back to me and have a meaningful discussion about what to do next? And so don’t be fobbed off, if you start smelling bullshit, then time to move on.

That’s just a few pointers on where to go when you want to list your property for sale. It’s an important decision. Agents won’t be asking you for any money up-front, so that’s a good thing, you’re not committing financially. But you are committing in other ways, and I think it’s important that:

  • You have a good relationship with the agent
  • They know what they’re doing
  • They’re going to open up your property, not only to as many buyers as possible, but also to as many good collaborative agents as possible.

For instance, what we do is, when we take a listing on board, we will share that listing with other agents, and we’ll do it on a higher commission split. So rather than do a 50/50, we’ll actually advertise as a 60/40 in the other agent’s favour. And the reason we do that, is not because we want to give money away, no, we’re not in the business to do that, but what it means is that the other agent then considers your listing as if it’s their own. They’re getting a higher cut of the action. Most agents are lazy and greedy, so they will then be more inclined to bring along qualified buyers to your property, rather than just using your property as a fill-in on a property tour. And again, it needs people to understand that that’s what happens here on the ground. So you need to talk to agents and ask them those questions, and just find out how it all works.

Any questions, any comments, please let me know, or leave a comment on this channel, or contact me directly. If you have any questions, or to list a property, or if you want to have a chat about listing a property, please feel free. More than happy to help and I’ll always give you an honest answer. As I said, it might not be the answer you want to hear, but you know, I’d rather not waste time and rather have good quality, long lasting relationships with our clients. 

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