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Buying and selling property in Spain can be difficult if you’re dealing with the wrong person. Make sure you know your agent is qualified to act before agreeing a contract.
In many English speaking countries an agent who sells real estate must be a licensed professional who has attended a course and passed an exam, and in some jurisdictions is required to pay into a consolidated fund to protect buyers. In Spain the situation is different, with many believing there is no requirement to be licensed.
In fact the situation isn’t all that different, certified real estate agents do exist, but so too does a lesser qualification that also entitles a person to act as agent for real estate. The two bodies that regulate agents are the Colegio de Agentes de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria (COAPI) for real estate agents, and the Asociacion Profesional de Gestores Intermediarios en promociones de Edificaciones for people who are intermediaries between the public and the government. See SpainExpat for a better definition of a Gestor.
Both are considered professional organisations, and members of both groups are legally allowed to act as agents for the sale, purchase, and rent of buildings, but only the COAPI members are considered to licensed real estate agents in the sense that English native speakers would understand. For the benefit of real estate buyers and sellers in Andalucia, API members are real estate agents, and gestors are administrative intermediaries. We advise only dealing with an API or Gestor as agent for property.
Nationally in Spain real estate agents are generally expected to be “Agentes de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria”, quickly translated this means real estate agent, though in Spain this implies that a license has been granted and that the agent is a member of one of the colleges of real estate agents.
The API is the highest level of certification that can be applied for to become a real estate agent.
Agents who have API certification are expected to have completed a course of study, passed an examination, and been accepted as members of their local COAPI. The training and certificate is reconised by the Ministry of Development, and agents who are found guilty of misconduct can have their license revoked as well as face fines imposed by the college. This is in addition to any other civil or criminal penalties that might apply.
Moreover, the fees that an API can charge are strictly regulated by their college, ensuring buyers and sellers know up front what additional fees will be levied to pay agents commissions. Theoretically this should mean every API dealt with for the same property will offer their services for the same fee, typically 3-5% depending on type of property.
There isn’t a single umbrella organisation for real estate agents in Andalucia, each province has their own college for the licensing of agents, though they all adhere to community level laws relating to customer and seller protection and insist their members do so as well.
Address: Calle Marques de Larios 4, 29005 Málaga
Tel: 952 218 814
Address: Calle Columela, 33 – 1º, 11004 Cádiz
Tel: 956 211 981
Address: C/ Perez Galdós nº 3 cp. 41004 Sevilla
Tel: 954 212 620
Address: Plaza de Ramón y Cajal, 1, 14003 Córdoba
Tel: 957 47 13 27
Address: C/ Recogidas, 8, 18002 Granada
Tel: 958 52 34 89
Address: Avenida de Granada 1, 2º C, 23003 Jaen
Tel: 953 222 241
Address: C/ Zaragoza, 13, 04001 Almería
Tel: 950 23 37 99
Address: Calle Miguel Redondo, 29 – Entr., 21003 Huelva
Tel: 959 245 102
Whilst not technically a real estate agent, given the broad range of services a gestor (or gestoría) can undertake, in reality many GIPEs in Andalucia have actually undertaken specialist training by the association to give them the knowledge required to act as property agent.
Determining which gestor has actually undertaken this extra training isn’t easy, some will proudly show off a certificate on their office walls, many won’t. This shouldn’t necessarily preclude you from accepting them as agent, the first step is to make sure that the gestor you approach is actually a member of the association, and secondly, ask around town to make sure they are highly regarded.
Whilst it is unfair, the fact is that many ‘gestors’ are not actually members of the association, they may indeed simply be people with connections. Opening an office as a gestor without proper accreditation has happened in the past, and will no doubt happen again, so due diligence should be considered mandatory.
Many larger towns have their own chamber of commerce, and asking for a list of their members who are gestors should priovide you with some peace of mind.
The Asociacion Profesional de Gestores Intermediarios en promociones de Edificaciones is based in Málaga, Andalucía
Address: c/ Salinas 6 – 1°, 29015, Málaga
Tel: 952 060 095