Is a realtor important, or can you save yourself some money and do it without?
Sure, I may be very biased when it comes to truthfully answering this question but unless you are ready and prepared for what is in store, then yes, an estate agent is very important!
I have always said to any client who has drawn the short straw and got me to show them around, that there are two difficult things associated with buying a property:
- Finding the right property
- Paying for it
Everything else is taken care of and through my services and those provided by the others involved in the process, it is trouble free and for the best part, enjoyable.
The look of happiness when the client has made the choice, paid the money and got the keys has always been, and always will be, one of the main motivators for me to do my job.
Liaising with lawyers, builders, other agents, furniture companies, internet providers, decorators, cleaning contractors, developers, administrators, vendors, banks, etc. etc. is a fast and furious and occasionally creates a chaotic state of alert.
Trying to get everything to come together is quite often a nail biting process.
“It’s like trying to herd bloody cats“My Grandma
Perhaps the best way to show you the pitfalls of going it alone, is to share with some sort of ‘case study’. A real life scenario that is very close to me, as it involved some of my good friends.
Being an estate agent myself, it is not unusual to have someone sidle up to me and start a polite conversation about the weather only for them to suddenly blurt out a question about property.
As a ‘nice guy’, I always accommodate them and freely give them the advice they are looking for without looking for anything in return.
So when these close friends asked for advice on buying a specific one bedroom apartment on the Costa del Sol, I did what I always do, and gave them the information they wanted to hear.
But the questions kept on coming.
- Is it a fair price?
- Can you look to see what others are for sale?
- Can you tell us how long each one was on the market and the best price we should be offering?
- Can you tell us the process?
- What documents do we need?
- How do we place an offer?
- Do you think we will gain capital growth?
- How much will it be?
- When do you think the best time to sell it would be?
And so it went on. These are not unusual questions by any stretch of the imagination and to be fair, we get them day in and day out.
However, it soon became clear that our friends were looking to do this ‘on the cheap’, and when I say ‘on the cheap’ I really do mean it.
Look after the pennies and pounds will look after themselves
They had found the property that they loved (it was for their parents), so in their heads, they thought they could do away with the services of an estate agent as that bit was already taken care of . The property was found.
Then, to my horror, they announced that they were going to save a bit more money by doing away with the services of a lawyer too.
At this point I feel I should mention a couple of things that the couple had to their advantage, namely, they reside permanently on the coast and speak the language fluently.
What they wanted was, on the face of it, simple.
- Pay the best price for the apartment in question
- Make sure the apartment was clear of any debts and encumbrances
- Ensure all documentation was correct for signature at the notary
“That’s all we want to do. What could possibly go wrong?“Famous last words
As the days turned into weeks, and then into months, the number of calls I got from my friends increased at an alarming rate.
They were on the verge of losing the apartment they had set their minds on owning. As the wife of the couple rudely pointed out to me over a glass of wine one evening “How the hell is anyone meant to do this and get any work done?”
But the questions still kept coming.
They had gone through only what can be called a rather nasty learning curve and were on the point of packing it all in and calling it a day.
As much as I love them, I have paying customers to look after and all I could do was keep telling them what they needed to do and filling up their wine glass.
Notaries required paperwork, Power of Attorneys’ and various documents. The vendor still hadn’t provided a rather essential document that gave me a few shivers down my spine but what could I do?
The parents were getting old and they were having trouble explaining what papers were needed from them and where they could get them, and there were a few discrepancies along the line that were in serious need of some proper legal advice.
As I type this, they are due to close the purchase ten days from now. I hope that flying pig doesn’t s**t all over the title deeds. They have more chance of winning the national lottery for which they didn’t buy a ticket.
I will of course, keep helping them as much as I can, but they are obviously reluctant to keep squeezing me for information as it has definitely dawned on them they had bitten off more than they can chew.
I have never been a ‘jobs worth’ kind of person, and neither are the law firms or other service providers I work with. We are here to make it a smooth a transaction as possible.
If you are fluent in Spanish, have the time to dedicate and have a very thorough understanding of property law here on the coast, then maybe you can save yourself a few euros and do it alone.
If you cannot tick all those three boxes, my advice is…well, I’m sure you can guess.
Having said this, if you would like some free advice then I am the world’s expert and have no problem with pointing you in the right direction.
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