Buying a property will likely be one of the largest investments you will make whether it is a holiday home, a retirement home or your “forever” home. Finding a good agent to sell your property is just as important. In order to make the right decision, you need to find a good, licensed estate agent
Firstly, let me tell you the difference between an unlicensed agent and a licensed agent.
A licensed agent holds a license from The Cyprus Real Estate Agents Association (CREAA). This means any contract signed with a licensed agent is enforceable by law protecting both the estate agent and the vendor.
A licensed agent also must carry insurance to protect the purchaser against either the agent or developer becoming bankrupt.
An estate agents fee is paid by the seller. A buyer should never pay an agent a commission or a “finders fee.” Smaller companies can be flexible and have lower commission rates if exclusive contracts are signed and some can be slightly higher for example if other agents are involved. This would be worked out in a signed contract before marketing begins.
Unlicensed agents are actually working illegally. They may have nice websites with lots of hits on it however, they may want to lock you into an agreement with a high commission rate and there is no law protecting them or the seller if anything goes wrong. Many do work professionally and are trustworthy BUT it is still illegal to market and sell properties without being a licensed estate agent.
An unlicensed agent can not legally handle any money. Many licensed estate agents don’t handle money either as the lawyers generally handle all finances and legal matters in order to simplify the transaction.
Questions for your Licensed Agent from Buyers
How can we secure the property?
Generally, a good faith deposit is recommended in order to take the property off the market. We usually ask for a reservation fee of 5000 euros which is paid in the first instance to the purchaser’s lawyer in order for him/her to do the necessary checks before paying it to the vendor’s lawyer. The remaining payment terms are then detailed in the contract which is drawn up by the lawyers. If no deposit is given then the sellers and agents are free to show the property to other clients. In an aggressive market or on a bargain-priced property it is important to provide the deposit so you do not lose the property to another buyer.
Do you recommend lawyers?
Many estate agents can recommend several lawyers that they know to be professional and have a good reputation. Never use a lawyer that anyone says must be used and/or offers free services. Call several lawyers and ask questions, make sure they specialize is conveyancing and fees can be discussed beforehand also. Your chosen solicitor can inform you of all costs involved in buying a property and advise you on your purchase.
Questions for a Licensed Agent from Sellers
In Cyprus, we have seen properties sit on the market for years mainly due to the sellers refusing to price according to the market, faulty building or problematic. If a property is priced at market value and has title deeds then you can compare to other homes that are similar. Your agent can and should give you tips on home staging, improvements and updates that could be done to increase curb appeal and attractiveness of the home.
Do you have a reference list of clients I could contact?
If you have not chosen a sole agency agreement then a seller is free to market their home with as many agents as they like. Some sellers like only one agent to have access to their home while others want as many as possible. The advantage of having one agent is that there is only one company to deal with i.e. one set of keys, one contract to sign making it easier for sellers to deal with one professional company that they can trust. In addition, with our network of partners and associates, we can market the property through these companies increase the number of viewings and chances to sell the property. All viewings with associates and their clients will be accompanied by ourselves.
How will you market my property?