According to article 3 of Royal Decree-Law 4/2000 of June 23 and 10/2003, the trade or business of being an estate agent in Spain is not officially regulated and is an independent profession, meaning that you do not need a special license or degree to be an estate agent in Spain.
To act as an estate agent in Spain the minimal requirement is to be registered in the Special Self-Employed Regime called autónomo.
Nobody knows exactly how many estate agents are in Spain. In 2019 there where roughly 48.000 Self-Employed persons working in the real estate sector in Spain, but since the COVID-19 crisis we can presume this number has decreased significantly since being in the Special Self-Employed Regime in 2020 costs 283 euros per month.
Since no official license is required to be an estate agent in Spain you can find all sorts of agents without proper knowledge and shady business behavior that damages the reputation of other agents offering professional services.
There are however quite a few organizations that offer real estate licenses in Spain such as API (Agente de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria) and GIPE (Gestor Intermediario de Promociones y Edificaciones) for which estate agents need to follow a course and pass an exam to get a certificate.
What type of estate agents are there in Spain?
In Spain we come across many types of agents each with different characteristics:
- The self-employed agent not having a physical office and normally just having a mobile phone and a small website with limited online presence.
- Independent estate agencies having 1 or several offices mostly with 2 – 10 employees.
- International brokerages such as CBRE, Sotheby’s, Cushman & Wakefield, Knight Frank are also present in Spain.
- Real Estate Franchises such as Best house, RE/MAX España, Adaix, Alfa inmobiliaria, Keller Williams and Look & Find are some examples.
- iBuyers such as Prontopiso and Tiko are investors that offer a monetary guarantee or a cash offer based on a property automated valuation model.
- Online estate agents such as Housfy, Propertista and Housell offer a fixed low fee for selling property.
Estate agents fees in Spain
Estate agents get paid by selling or renting properties in Spain.
Spain has one of the highest commission percentages in Europe when selling property. This percentage normally depends on the area and varies between 3% to 6% of the selling price.
In big cities like Madrid and Barcelona agents normally charge a commission of 3% of the selling price, while in popular coastal regions like the Costa Blanca 5% is more the standard.
The commission fee is by default paid by the seller. However, in the provinces of Castellón and Valencia, the commission is sometimes split between buyer and seller.
The most common complaints of clients buying or renting properties in Spain are related to high commissions being paid.
It is advisable to ask the estate agent beforehand what his/her commission percentage is to avoid surprises since by law there is no set fee.
Do you need an estate agent in Spain?
To sell or buy a property in Spain you do not need to go through an estate agent. However, if you do not know the ins and outs of buying a property in Spain it is advisable you have someone to guide you through this process.
Besides the traditional role of selling property, professional estate agents in Spain should be able to help you with the following:
- Applying for a NIE number which is a tax identification number you will need to have when buying a property in Spain
- Give you local advice on the current market prices and situation
- Make an option contract
- Provide you with an estimate selling price
- Advertising your property to a large audience
Often times in Spain a property will be available for sale thought several estate agents. This is because normally there is no set exclusivity for selling through one agent in particular unless the agent and seller agree to it.
Estate agents commissions in Spain are often high because a property being advertised through many estate agents will greatly decrease the chances for a particular agent to sell a property. Nevertheless, a good practice would be to solely sell through one agent for an agreed limited time span so that the agent is motivated to sell it.
Often times it happens that an estate agent has a buyer and another agent as a matching property. In that case, it is often customary that agents split the commission to close the deal.
Choosing the right agent
Often times estate agents have a bad reputation. Sadly enough there are many agents out there that ruin the field for other trusted and professional estate agents.
Even licensed agents can be misleading sometimes and as a buyer or seller, you need to be careful to choose the right agent or agents.
Nowadays you can find reviews on the internet about agents. To do this you can go to Google maps and do a search using the following terms:
- estate agents near “Moraira” Spain (change the name in quotes by the specific town or village and followed by Spain)
- Inmobiliaria Ferrando, Spain (name of the estate agency followed by village or just by Spain)
Whichever agent you choose to sell your property through, make sure you receive a proper invoice with IVA (VAT) so you can later use it to offset any Capital Gains Tax you might have.