Selling one’s property is an art. The property market here on the Costa del Sol has always been competitive and enlisting the services of an established reliable real estate agent is essential.
Most buyers are not looking for a primary residence here, but a second or even a third home. Furthermore, buyers come from all over the World unlike real estate sales in sellers’ home Countries which predominately are sold to the local market within say a 20 mile radius. This makes Marbella real estate less of a need and more of a luxury in which people are not drawn to property close to centre’s of work but to the quality of life a property can offer them.
The most important thing to establish is a ‘sales strategy’, at the heart of which is the asking price. In other words, if you ask too much for your property, people will not even bother to view and it will linger unseen. Ask too little for your property, and you are potentially throwing away money.
The right asking price is perhaps the most essential ingredient in the art of selling real estate and is the result of thorough market research. Do not opt for the figure you would like to hear, find out the true market value, taking into consideration: what sales of comparable properties have been accomplished, and at what price? What are other owners with similar properties asking?
The more unique a property, the more an owner can ask for it and the stronger they can negotiate when trying to seal a deal. The less unique a property, the more the owners are going to have to resign themselves to the fact that there is a large supply of similar properties, and that they will have to price it competitively.
Should you give an exclusive sales agreement to an agent? If you are an absentee owner, or if you don’t feel like playing a co-ordination role among various agents of varying ability, granting exclusivity to a leading agent can make your life a lot easier.
It also provides the agency in question with the confidence to fully dedicate its energy and resources to the marketing and promotion of the property. A professional agency will propose a coordinated strategy based on its experience and adapted to the specifics of your property. This will include the creation of quality marketing material and targeted promotional campaigns.
A responsible agent will try to avoid taking a sole agency unless he sincerely feels that the asking price is correct and that he or she is truly capable of selling the property.
Providing agents, you trust, with easy access to the home is important in order not to lose potential buyers. They will also offer advice on how best to present the property for viewings and approach the negotiation process.
The standard agency fee in a resort area such as Marbella is 5% plus VAT, which covers the marketing, promotion, and listing of properties and the arranging of viewings, follow-up with prospective buyers, property searches, providing background information and support throughout the buying process and beyond. Agents don’t give keys out to clients, they always show properties personally and they will spend a great deal of time in their efforts to find the right buyer.
Make sure that you are fully aware of your tax obligations when you put your property on the market. Meet with your lawyer and tax advisor, and find out your options to ensure there are no surprises when you enter into negotiations to sell.
Let your agent form a team with you in handling negotiations, checking points with your lawyer and tax advisor when necessary. This is your agent’s job and one of the reasons you pay the agency’s fee, and experienced real estate professionals are generally far better at negotiating the commercial points of a deal than lawyers. Once this is accomplished, your lawyer should take the lead role (in coordination with your agent when necessary), draft the sales contract and supervise the eventual completion of the sale.
If you are frequently travelling, it can often make sense to leave a Power of Attorney enabling your lawyer to sign a private contract on your written instructions. You can negotiate the details of the sale with your agent by telephone and email, and your lawyer can then take the ‘first step’ towards the sale by signing a private contract without delay.
Is the buyer expecting a counter offer from you or has he or she given you a one-and-only, take-it-or- leave-it offer? Do they have other properties in mind? Is their offer a fair one? Are all details included in the offer – price, target contract date, deposit, completion date, and precise understanding of what is included in the sale in the form of fixtures, fittings and furniture, etc.? All these items should be agreed upon at the outset before lawyers are instructed.
Don’t allow yourself to be pressured by your agent or anyone else to accept an offer! A good agent will simply point out your options and offer advice based on his experience, but once you decide to proceed it is good not to waste time and risk losing the buyer.
In summary, selling a property can be as easy or as complicated as any task involving one’s personal affairs. Competent, honest, professional help from agents, lawyers and tax advisors can go a long way to help you manage your sale objectively and easily.