Online property sellers like Housell now promote themselves in Gran Canaria as an alternative to estate agencies.
They sell themselves as a cheap way to find a buyer that cuts costs by removing the middleman (middlewoman, in my case).
However, what they actually do is charge well over 1000 euros upfront without offering any guarantees at all.
All they really do for their fee is list your property on the most popular Spanish real estate portals.
This is something that you can do yourself for free in just a couple of hours.
What online selling services are actually doing is charging you a lot of money in advance to handle one link in the long chain that leads to a successful property sale.
There’s more to this business than listing a property
Listing your property on the Spanish portals doesn’t take long and only exposes it to a few potential buyers.
This is because most quality buyer leads don’t come from the Spanish portals.
In fact, most serious Gran Canaria buyers work with local estate agents.
When I look back at the property sales I’ve made in the last few years, only a few came from portal leads.
Instead, almost all the inquiries that led to a sale come from two sources…
My own contacts: People looking for a Gran Canaria property who contacted me asking for professional help.
Other estate agents: The single biggest source of quality buyer leads in Gran Canaria is the network of professional local estate agents
Every property that is listed by any good estate agency in Gran Canaria goes into a shared database.
Agents see them as soon as they are listed and tell their clients. The agents contact me and we organise visits for the buyers.
It’s these serious buyers, rather than people making initial portal inquiries, that actually buy most Gran Canaria property.
This applies to both locals and foreign buyers…
- Local buyers often don’t have the time to scan the portals every day. They contact an agent to do it for them and to use their experience to filter potential options.
- Foreign buyers know that they need an experienced local agent to guide them through the process.
Online sellers like Housell even highlight the fact that they filer out enquiries from agencies as part of their service; this eliminates almost all potential buyers and seriously limits your chances of selling at a good price.
Paying for one link in a long chain isn’t cheap
Online sellers claim that they offer a cheap alternative to estate agents.
They conveniently ignore the fact that listing a property is one small part of what estate agents do to sell a property.
With online sellers, if you need help with any of the other links in the chain, you have to pay extra for it. Again with no guarantees that the sale will work out.
On the other hand, professional estate agents only earn a commission if the sale actually happens.
Estate agents have skin in the game while online sellers are passive. They don’t care if your property sells or how much it sells for because you’ve already paid them.
What a professional estate agent really does to sell your property
There’s far more to selling a property than putting it on portals and waiting for the buyers to roll in.
Professional estate agencies value your property using a market study
This gives you an accurate idea of what it’s worth.
Good estate agents only list a property if it is accurately priced and has a fair chance of selling.
Because they only earn if a property sells.
Because there is nothing more damaging to the final sale price than having a property listed for months at the wrong price. Or at the right price but not sold because most buyers didn’t see it.
Buyers and agents who see a property that hasn’t sold assume that it’s overpriced or low quality. If they do decide to make an offer, they invariably lowball.
Estate agents market your property to all potential buyers
As I’ve said, most buyers in Gran Canaria don’t find their property using Spanish portals. They work with estate agents who do the searching for them, help them to make realistic offers, and get all their paperwork and finances in place.
The more buyers that consider your property the more offers you receive. And the less likely you are to have to settle for a low price.
Estate agents actively market your property to quality buyers
When potential buyers view your property they all have doubts and questions. The sooner these are answered the more likely they are to put in an offer.
Every time I go on a viewing I answer dozens of questions like these…
- What are the local schools like?
- If we buy this property, can you recommend someone to redo the bathrooms?
- Is there any leeway in the price?
- Does the fact that the roof space is shared affect our bank’s valuation for the mortgage?
- We need to sell before we can buy. Can the owner wait for us?
When buyers leave a property with doubts they are far less likely to offer. And, if they do, they price the worst-case scenario into the amount they offer.
Using a professional estate agent means that every viewing your property gets goes as smoothly as possible.
When potential issues are addressed on the spot there is no opportunity for doubt to creep in and affect the offer.
Estate agents support you through the entire process
Finding a potential buyer in Gran Canaria or anywhere else is just the first link in the long chain that ends with a sale.
Once a buyer has made an acceptable offer, there is still a huge amount of work to be done.
The obvious ones are things like mortgage applications, organising deposits and bank transfers, updating paperwork, and checking contracts.
But there are so many other things that can stop a sale from happening.
For example, last year I went on a mad dash across Las Palmas to get a certificate signed by the army because, due to a long-forgotten but still valid rule, the buyer needed military approval.
That’s an extreme case (which ended well), but there is always something that needs an experienced pair of hands.
Like every big decision in life, confidence is key and it doesn’t take much to derail a property sale. Especially if there is nobody watching over it who has a vested interest in success.
This is what my job is actually about.
The human element: Vital for Gran Canaria property sales
If selling property in Gran Canaria could all be done online, I’d be out of a job.
But the fact is that like all complicated procedures, buying or selling property in Gran Canaria is about people and relationships (and, of course, the paperwork).
Well, I know the paperwork back-to-front.
And I have good relationships with all the potential buyers who contact me and all the sellers I work with.
I also have a wide network of local estate agents who trust me when it comes to negotiating offers and terms.
I’m on first name terms with the notaries, lawyers, accountants, bank managers and local civil servants who can all make the difference between a sale and a fail.
So often, it only takes a smile at the right moment to smooth over a bureaucratic problem that threatens a sale.
It’s this personal contact that makes me love my job and makes me really good at it.
My name is Laura Leyshon and if I’ve said enough to convince you that working with a good, professional estate agent in Gran Canaria is the way to go, you can contact me at any time…
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