Once someone is selling house in Spain, this decision will probably come from the urge to go back to one’s home country for whatever important reason. Or perhaps it is a market triggered decision due to the chance of getting a considerable profit margin when prices raise, or the other way round when economy falls.
For example, events like the Covid-19 outbreak may harm the economy and thus, force many small owners to sell in order to realise cash needed to survive; and purchasers will very probably be “bigger fish” like rich opportunity chasers or the so called vulture funds.
So, nowadays selling property is likely to be a time-sensitive matter, so most sellers opt for accelerating the process using the support of a Real Estate agency. But, supposing this is your case and think of -or already on the course- of selling house in Spain, consider our following reflexion first…
Quite often when someone intends to sell property in Spain they sign an exclusive contract with the real estate agency for the marketing of the property.
However, all too often, the contract contains a number of clauses that would be considered legally ‘unfair’, on the basis that the customer is a “consumer” when contracting with the real estate agency, and therefore such clauses would be unenforceable.
For example, all too often we see clauses which state that the real estate agency’s commission should be fully payable when a preliminary contract is signed by the purchaser. Of course, the fact that an initial contract has been signed and a deposit signed is no guarantee that the purchaser will complete on the sale. It is very unfair to the person selling the house that they should pay the entire commission for a sale that has not yet – and may never – take place. Such clauses should be eliminated from any contract signed with a real estate agency.
In Spain it is unfortunately quite common for real estate agencies to attempt to offer services traditionally associated with the legal profession and they create clauses in their contracts relating to all types of issues that, quite frankly, exceed their knowledge.
Both professions have a role to play, but it would be preferable from the client’s point of view that the role of the estate agent be restricted to the promotion of the property and the economical negotiation with the potential buyer, transferring offers and counter offers.
The lawyer, on the other hand, can help the vendor manage the terms of any contract they enter into – either with the purchaser, or indeed with the real estate agency, ensuring, for example, that it does not establish an unfair exclusivity term, an out-of-market commission, a minimum payment corresponding to the sale price and other issues that may arise in the relationship between the seller and the real estate agency.
For legal assistance with the sale of a property in Spain please contact us by phone or using the form below.