9 Questions to Ask When Choosing A Marbella Real Estate Agent
For most people, their home is their biggest asset so when handing over the keys to a real estate agent, it’s important to get it right. As an owner, you want an agent who will invest time and resources into marketing your property, keep you well informed during the selling process and achieve a quick and satisfactory sale.
In Spain there are both traditional high street estate agencies, and freelance agents who operate online. It is important to understand the difference in the service they offer. These questions will help you establish your agent’s credentials and ensure they’re up to the job of selling your Marbella-based home.
1) Do you work as part of a team?
A traditional estate agency consists of a team of sales and support staff, whereas freelance agents work alone. The benefit of having a team is that there are more people working to sell your property. At MP Dunne we have nine members of staff, all of whom will familiarise themselves with your property. Consequently, if we get an enquiry more than one person can look after it. It also means there is always someone on hand to respond to your emails and calls. And, because our team speaks English, Spanish, Russian, German, French and Italian, there’s always someone who speaks your language!
2) Do you have an office?
When appointing a Marbella real estate agent it is vital they convey confidence and trust. A business with an established office and landline telephone numbers is much more likely to be fully legal and trustworthy. Not only is it more professional, it also offers more accountability. If anything goes wrong you’re able to come back and see them. MP Dunne is proud to have an office in a premier location, on Marbella’s Golden Mile, opposite the Marbella Club Hotel. The office is a welcoming place for owners and buyers to walk into at any time, open 9am-7pm, six days a week. We also have a point of contact available on Sundays.
3) How long have you been operating?
To avoid placing your business with a fly-by-night operation, find out how long the agency has been established and how much experience the team has. It is crucial your agent has good market knowledge in order to properly value your property. MP Dunne has been a fixture on the Golden Mile since 2010 and is headed up by two real estate veterans, Managing Director Mary Dunne and Sales Director Lawrence Maeck. All other staff members have been established in Marbella for many years and possess a great deal of local knowledge.
4) Are you professionally qualified?
Anyone can set themselves up as a real estate agent simply by paying a fee to access MLS property database, but there is a great deal of difference between this type of agent and one that has been in the business many years. One way to tell the difference is to ask if they are accredited by a real estate regulation body here in Spain, such as API or GIPE. These organisations provide official training, grant licenses, regulate fees and administer fines for misconduct. Mary Dunne obtained her Spanish Realtor License in 1995 and has an MBA in Real Estate Management from Les Heures University Barcelona.
5) Can you offer a full service?
It’s not enough that your agent simply lists your home on the various sales portals – you could do that yourself. They should be able to offer added value, which justifies their fees. This includes providing a realistic valuation based on market analysis and sales data, offering comprehensive knowledge of the legal issues surrounding the sale of your property and proactively seeking and relaying feedback from viewings. Because MP Dunne sells a large number of properties, we have our finger on the pulse of the local market. We know very well what is selling in different places and how much they’ve been sold for, enabling us to make a proper comparative valuation.
6) How will you market my property?
As we’ve already mentioned, anyone can list a property online and stick up a For Sale sign – how does your agent go further? Will they obtain professional quality photographs of your property? Write a compelling property profile? Translate it into other languages to appeal to as large a cross section of buyers as possible? Do they use traditional magazine/newspaper advertising, online portals, partner agencies, social media and direct marketing channels? MP Dunne does all of this and more.
7) What are your fees?
The old adage you get what you pay for is certainly true when it comes to real estate agents. Be wary of any agents offering a cut-price service. The only way they can afford to do this is by scrimping on marketing efforts, not running an office or not employing staff. A quality agency may charge a bit more, but will save you time and money with a swift and efficient sale of your property.
8) Will I have a consistent point of contact?
It’s great to have a team of people working to sell your home, but at the same time you want to have a single point of contact, rather than being passed round from person to person. You should be on first name terms with your agent and be able to expect regular progress reports from that individual. At MP Dunne there is always one consistent team member to liaise with the owner.
9) Can I see some testimonials?
At first glance it’s easy for an agency to appear established and successful with hundreds of properties on its books. Any agent can tap into MLS property database of 20,000 properties and display them on their website. Be sure to ask how many properties shown are actually theirs by direct instruction. Also find out how many sales they have made in the last year and ask to see some testimonials from vendors. MP Dunne only displays direct instruction properties on its website and updates it daily to ensure any properties which have been sold are swiftly removed. The fact that most of our clients come via recommendation speaks to the quality of our service and we’re happy to provide references upon request.
If you would like to know more about how MP Dunne can help you sell your Marbella home please call the team for a no obligation chat on 952 866 072 or (from the UK) 020 3287 2745.
Text by Bel Booker, 16 February 2015