Sellers Guide

Thinking of Selling your Marbella Property? Our Seller’s Guide provides practical information on Achieving the Best Price for Your Property.
Before selling your property, ensure you have the best advice from one of the top-selling agents in Marbella.

Selling a Property in Marbella

Once you decide to sell your property, you will want to sell it quickly and at the best price. The best route to achieve this is to engage a professional Real Estate Agent to accomplish that goal in the shortest possible time frame. Here is our seller´s guide on how we work for you to do just that. Several vital steps must be taken to ensure a successful sale.

MPDunne is a leading listing agent. We have sold many homes for our clients over the past decades, handled many exclusive properties and are adept at finding the buyers and closing the sales. We like to have a win/win sale for both seller and the buyer.

Marbella has become one of the most famous European destinations for property buyers because the climate and the lifestyle are attractive and close to all the major European cities. Marbella offers a range of benefits for those looking to buy a home in a prime location.

Buyers are looking for a high-quality lifestyle, real estate investment opportunities, or residency options, and Marbella is a destination that many buyers consider buying a second home.

Many factors come into play when selling a property; it is impossible to predict how quickly or easily it will be to close a sale. We can, however, do everything in our power to ensure your valuation is fair, the property is successfully marketed, is seen by as many people as possible and in as many different media as possible, and that, when you receive viewings, your property is looking at its very best.

Choose a Real Estate Agent

Your first step should be to choose a reputable and experienced real estate agent who can help you navigate the selling process.

Look for an agent who specialises in properties like yours and has a strong track record of sales in the Marbella area. There are many options in Marbella when it comes to selling your house.

Engaging a professional real estate agent is the quickest and least stressful route. You have two options: an exclusive contract with one agent or listing your home with multiple agents.

Most owners make a few appointments, go with the agent or agents they feel most comfortable with, and hope they do well.

Today´s real estate market is very different from even five years ago. It is much more sophisticated and requires more than an out-of-the-box template website and a PDF brochure.

Digital marketing has come to the forefront; anything less than professional marketing will not achieve a sale. Properties need professional photo shooting, drone and virtual tour videos, and a dedicated website. Social media also has a significant role, particularly with luxury properties.

Your ideal agent should be an established company, have an office, a sales team, professional marketing and a track record, and they should be able to provide feedback and reports on the viewings.

Sole agency Listing VS Multiple Listing

When selling your home, you have two options: list exclusively with one trusted agent or list your property with several agents. It´s a question of personal choice and circumstances, as some owners prefer to keep out of the process and leave to one agency, whereas others prefer to have several options and are comfortable with speaking to multiple agents.

Exclusive Sales Mandate

As the sole agent, the agent you entrust will have primary responsibility for selling your home and should have years of experience and a team at your disposal to achieve that aim. Having one sole agent to deal with can make the whole sales experience smoother and less time-consuming.

Firstly, an exclusive sales agreement incentivises your real estate agent to work harder on your behalf. With an exclusive contract, your agent has a guaranteed commission for selling your property, which means they´re more likely to invest time and resources into marketing your property and finding potential buyers. As a result, they´ll be motivated to work more diligently on your behalf, which can lead to faster and more successful sales.

Secondly, an exclusive sales agreement ensures that a single, dedicated agent or agency represents your property. All potential buyers will be channelled through one point of contact, which helps streamline the sales process and ensure clarity and communication. Your agent will clearly understand your needs and priorities, which can help them find the right buyer for your property more efficiently.

A sole agency agreement works incredibly well for busy owners who do not have the time or inclination to discuss their property or show it to endless agents or clients. With a dedicated agent working on your behalf, they can filter out and qualify both agents and clients and negotiate more effectively to help you secure a better deal.

MPDunne is a top listing agency following RICS and UK standards as an affiliate agent for Hamptons International and has handled many exclusive listings and entire urbanisations.

They have built a strong network of local and International agents, with over 50% of sales being a joint effort.

All our properties are listed on two MLS databases in Marbella and shared with all the local agents, guaranteeing local exposure for our listings.

Non-Exclusive Sales Contract

Not all owners will want to entrust the sale of their property to one agent and may wish to instruct several agents to ensure greater exposure. Working with multiple agents when selling your property in Marbella can have several advantages.

Here are some of the benefits of using multiple agents:

By working with multiple agents, you can increase the exposure of your property to potential buyers. In addition, each agent will have a network of clients and marketing strategies, which can help to reach a wider audience and generate more interest in your property.

Different agents may have other expertise and perspectives on your property, which can lead to a more comprehensive marketing strategy. For example, one agent may specialise in luxury properties while another may have experience with international buyers.

By working with multiple agents, you can tap into their strengths and benefit from a more diverse approach to marketing your property.

In conclusion, working with more than one agent when selling your property in Marbella can provide you with greater exposure, increased competition, and different expertise and perspectives.

However, you must ensure clear agreements with each agent to avoid confusion or conflicts concerning the property´s price and fees.

Determine a selling price

Your agent can help you determine a realistic selling price for your property based on market conditions, the condition of your property, and comparable sales in the area. Before putting your property on the market, it is essential to determine its current market value.

It is paramount to get the price right. Set the price too high, and you risk not attracting viewings and buyers. A house must be shown to sell if no one is viewing your home, it is not going to be sold in a reasonable time frame. The art is in getting it right, a fine line between achieving a high price you´d like and overvaluing a property, so no one wants to view it.

A professional, experienced agency will have an appraiser with years of experience and the ability to produce a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) for their clients. They should know the market inside out to do a realistic property valuation.

We use RICS valuation standards, make a study of the area, comparable properties for sale nearby and recently sold properties to arrive at the optimum price for your property.

Watch out for agents overvaluing a property, telling you what you would like to hear to get the listing, and then later, you have to reduce the price to achieve the viewings.

In Marbella, it is rare to achieve an asking price unless it´s for a unique listing, so it is wise to leave some room for negotiations.

In your discussions with your agent, you should stipulate your baseline. However, beware of agents asking you for your bottom line directly, as the market determines the price a buyer is willing to pay, not the agent or the owner. We work for you as the vendor pays the fees, so we aim to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.

Prepare your property for sale

Before you start marketing your property, you should ensure that it´s in good condition and ready to be viewed by potential buyers. In addition, the property needs to be prepared to showcase its best features.

Paperwork & Legalities

Confirm that your paperwork and legalities are in complete order to satisfy the Due Diligence process by the buyer´s lawyers.

To be able to sell a property in Marbella, the property must be sold free of charges and liens and up to date with taxes and fees. The prospective buyer will engage a lawyer to complete full due diligence on your property. If you are selling a large property, such as a villa, the buyers will most likely request a home buyers report by a technical engineer.

Your professional agent will request from you a series of documents they are obliged to have copies of under the Spanish regulations decree 218/05. These documents will include a copy of the nota simple (land registry extract), a copy of the LPO ( first habitation licence), copies of the local taxes (IBI) and rubbish to the municipal town hall, details of your community administrators, your legal representatives and copies of your NIE documents.

Common sense dictates to be fully prepared and advise your lawyers that you have put your property for sale. Have them prepare all the necessary paperwork and ensure the due diligence can be smoothly completed.

It is also advisable to have advice on your tax position, mainly if you have owned the property for some years, as there will likely be a significant difference in your sale price.

Deals can fall through at this stage if issues are not advised from the start or paperwork is found not to be in order.

Showing your Property

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, which is never more true than viewing a house. The property should be shown in the best possible light, clearing clutter away and ensuring clean and tidy.

The Marbella marketplace is very competitive, with top developers refurbishing homes to the highest standards, and nowadays, buyers prefer to purchase a home key ready, including the furniture. As a result, homes are offered in an impeccable state, and these are the ones that sell quickly.

Prospective buyers should feel comfortable voicing their feelings when viewing your home. We recommend that owners are not present at viewings. The agent or agents know the buyer and their requirements and can best emphasise your home´s unique features.

The agent should have easy access, and the property should be well prepared and presented. Villas take time to open and close and to show, and the easier it is for the agent to arrive at a home that is open, ready and prepared makes a big difference, and you will have a greater chance of buyers’ interest in a second viewing.

Many people spend months living “al fresco” in Southern Spain, particularly Marbella. As such, outdoor living areas are significant to buyers and may be one of the property´s main attractions. Appealing and comfortable outdoor furniture and proper placement will help to make this area inviting. Place flowers and candles outside if possible. Little touches go a long way. Have the pool and garden pristine for viewings.

The house should smell clean and fresh; flowers in vases look appealing. Remove anything that doesn´t have to be there; the less clutter left around, the better.

It should look like somewhere you want to live and spend quality time. So many properties in Marbella are purchased for holiday homes, which must be appealing.

The property should be professionally cleaned inside and out, with any maintenance tasks solved beforehand.

A note about domestic animals, if you have dogs, particularly big ones, it´s a good idea to keep them out of the way while the prospective buyers view the property. Most people don´t mind pets; however, they may prove a diversion from the main event, viewing the house with no distractions.

Most of these suggestions are common sense – the better the house is presented on viewings, the more likely potential buyers are to find it appealing and take the next step towards purchasing it.

Marketing your Property

Once your property is ready to be shown, your agent will create a marketing plan to attract potential buyers.

Previously, marketing a property involved placing ads in the local media, putting up a for sale sign and hosting open houses. However, today´s digital landscape has created many new avenues for property marketing. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have become powerful tools for real estate agents and property owners to showcase their listings to a broader audience.

With the ability to post high-quality photos, videos, and 360-degree virtual tours of properties, social media platforms have become an essential component of any marketing strategy.

Additionally, online property portals such as Idealista and Fotocasa have emerged as popular channels for buying and selling properties in Marbella. These platforms allow potential buyers to browse a vast selection of properties, filter results by specific criteria, and communicate directly with sellers and agents.

As a result, the social media and digital revolution have made it easier to market properties in Marbella and connect with potential buyers worldwide.

  • Digital tools and photographs: Taking a few photos and posting them to your website is no longer acceptable. Poor images are off-putting to prospective clients and will not encourage them to look further! You want the right swipe!

It is essential to have quality, high-resolution photographs to highlight your property´s unique appeal, and we engage photography by professional photographers. We will also produce a creative, high-quality video presentation with drone footage for streaming on our website and social media platforms if permitted. We also try to have virtual 360 tours as many of our clients are International, and they can visit the property online.

  • Advertising in a Website: A vital tool for a professional real estate agency, it must be professionally built and managed with constant updating and SEO optimisation by experts. It should serve as a hub for all of its online marketing activities. Therefore, the website should be user-friendly, professional, and informative.

The website is long-established and recently updated to the latest technology. The Property Listings has a searchable database of all the properties on our books with high-quality images, area videos and 360 virtual tour videos, and detailed property descriptions and features. All the property details are available in English, Spanish, French, and German to reach the greatest potential market in their language.

It´s a common fact, but people like buying from people, our team profiles make it easy for prospective clients to connect with a specific agent and to visit our state-of-the-art office on the Marbella Golden Mile. In addition, our mobile-friendly website allows an easy search for properties from mobile devices.

The website provides a seamless experience for clients, making it easy for them to find what they´re looking for and showcase the company´s expertise in the real estate industry.

  • Collaboration with Agents: To sell your property, it must be seen! MPDunne is a listing agent with many years of experience handling sole agency properties and exclusive urbanisations. We actively collaborate with over 1.000 local agents and promote your property to them. We encourage them to show our properties and offer them excellent fee sharing, and we make it easy for them to show the properties and help with the offers and due diligence on the properties.

Your property will be available across the MLS real estate databases and leading Property Portals in Spain and Internationally. We also arrange broker´s open house presentations to local agents. Any selling agent should know their properties, and open houses are ideal for getting them interested and motivated to collaborate in the sale with us.

  • For Sale Sign Yes or No: Many potential buyers will often get to know the area they are interested in by driving around and visiting it to understand if it´s for them. A For Sale sign sells properties, so we advise you to do it and prepare personalised for sale signs with photos of the property and details. It works best if the owner is not living in the property as it attracts people to knock on the door if they see anyone around. But unfortunately, some Marbella agents do not adhere to the norms, and if they can climb over a fence to get a listing, they will do so!

Our comprehensive seller´s service combined with a knowledgeable, efficient and courteous sales team produces the results you want – and the track record we are proud to have built as a leading luxury Marbella real estate agent.

Complete the Sale

Offers and Contracts

The viewing process can be short and sweet or a drawn-out process depending on the buyers, but a second or third viewing usually leads to an offer will be put forward to your agent.

Again, a professional agent will be adept at handling this and insist on a complete written offer with terms and conditions being presented.

The offer should outline the conditions and terms, the price offered, the time frame for completion and payment of the deposit. The offer should include special requirements, such as furniture, fixtures, and fittings. The offer should state the details of the person making the offer and the lawyer who will be instructed.

In Spain, offers are not usually accepted subject to a mortgage, and sellers will only take a property off the market with a deposit. Deposits are only refundable if the property cannot be sold for some reason.

Serious clients will have serious lawyers and funds readily available should their offers be accepted. A buyer with everything in place and ready to move quickly will make the seller´s decision much easier than a verbal offer with no proof of funds or the buyer.

The same goes for deposits; nothing carries more weight than a buyer with the funds already in their Spanish bank account or escrow with their lawyers.

Your agent acts as a buffer in the negotiations and helps ensure the best outcome; an experienced agent will get the best deal possible for their client.

However, it´s a formal process that deserves a proper methodology, and verbal offers with unclear terms must be avoided.

Offer Accepted

Once the seller has accepted the offer, it´s time for the legal teams to get involved and move forward to arrange the private contracts and deposit payments.

Your professional agent will introduce everyone involved, inform the lawyers of who is representing whom, provide their contact details, and request that they get in contact to arrange the property sale. The seller will need to confirm to their lawyer their acceptance of the offer as put forward by the buyers and authorise them to proceed with the due diligence.

  • Reservation Contract o Documento de Reserva: The Marbella market has heated up considerably since 2020 after Covid with unprecedented home demand.

Due to this, it has become standard practice for a seller or their agent to request that a reservation be paid to allow them to take the property off the market and, indeed, for the buyer to want to do this to ensure they get the property.

A fee and time are agreed upon, which can be anywhere from €6,000 – €50,000 up to 1% firm offer and 7-15 days or more, and during this time, the buyers´ legal representative undertake the due diligence process.

If the buyer proceeds, the amount paid becomes part of the purchase price. However, if the buyer decides not to move forward due to a change of mind, the reservation fee will be forfeited as compensation to the owner for taking it off the market.

This reservation is placed in escrow and usually passed to the seller´s lawyers with the signature of the reservation document.

Reservation deposits are fully refundable if the property fails to satisfy the due diligence or an issue prevents its sale.

  • Private Contract with 10% payment: Once the reservation contract is signed, The Private Contract is the next step, which entails payment of 10% less the reservation paid. This is a crucial part of the process and is only signed when the lawyers fully complete the due diligence. It effectively seals the deal, with the final remaining step being completion at the notary office.

Some sellers prefer to go directly to the 10% payment and Contract, particularly for the more expensive properties. In this case, they instruct their lawyers to accept the offer to start the due diligence and provide the buyers´ lawyers with the required documentation.

The lawyers will have their preferences as PPC contracts signed, but here are the main types of private contracts in Spain with 10% payment. The most usual contracts are:

  • Penitential deposit Contract – Contrato de Arras penitenciales: One of the most widely used contracts in Spain for property purchase which, as its name suggests, has heavy penalties for both sides if they do not sell or buy under the agreed terms.

It is a binding contract between the parties. If the buyer does not complete the purchase, they will forfeit the 10% paid, and if the seller wants to break the Contract, they must pay double the 10%.

  • Option to purchase – Contrato opción de compra: In this Contract, the seller gives the buyer an option to purchase for an agreed price of the option, usually 10% of the purchase price in an agreed time frame. Both sides must buy and sell and can be forced to do so via the courts.

If the buyer fails to fulfil the option payment, the seller can keep the funds as they have failed to complete the option in the time frame agreed. There is no requirement to notify the buyer or to extend the option contract should they fail to pay, and the buyers have no recourse.

  • Private purchase contract – Contrato Privado de Compraventa: This Contract does not give the seller the right to back out with a penalty payment. If the buyer doesn´t buy the property, they lose the 10% paid, and the Contract is no longer valid.

Once the private contract is signed and the deposit paid, the rest usually goes smoothly to the notary and completion. The sellers can start their moving process pending the completion at the notary on the date agreed.

Selling your property in Marbella can be a complex process, but with the help of a skilled agent and careful planning, you can achieve a successful sale and move on to your next adventure.

Selling Costs

The vendors pay the following costs and taxes when selling the property:

Real estate agency fees: The seller is responsible for paying the Real Estate Agent fees per the contract agreement. However, it is common practice for the buying lawyer to prepare the checks for the disbursement of the sale price, and this will include the real estate agent fees.

Legal fees: The seller pays his own legal and fiscal advisors.

Plusvalía (Municipal Added Value Tax): The Plusvalía municipal is a tax due to the local town hall area. It is based on the incremental value of the property from the original purchase date to the selling date. Your lawyer will ascertain the exact amount from the town hall. The longer you own the property, the higher the amount is capped at twenty years maximum.

Cancellation Fees: The seller is responsible for paying any taxes due or charges to cancel a mortgage or any other debts on the property, as the property must be sold free of all charges and encumbrances.

Local taxes and community fees: All must be current, and a certificate of debts will be obtained from the community of owners. If there are outstanding amounts, the buyers´ legal representatives will retain these from the sale price.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT): All sales in Spain are subject to Capital Gains taxes with distinct rules and rates depending on the sellers´ situation, being a resident or non-resident or if it is a company selling the property.

Non-resident: All sales of property owned by a non-resident entity will have a withholding amount of 3% of the sales price withheld in the new title deeds as the notary and paid to the Spanish tax office against eventual capital gains. This obligation is placed on the buying side to withhold the amount and lodge it with the Spanish tax authorities. The seller then must settle his affairs, either claiming back or paying the difference.

Resident: A tax resident will not have the withholding tax paid at the notary and must declare the sale of the asset in their tax declarations.

Sundry expenses: As Spanish properties are generally sold free of any charges, these must be cleared before the sale, or the amounts outstanding will be calculated and withheld by the buyers´ lawyers to ensure payment. The notary must have an original certificate from the property´s community administration stating that no debts are due to the community. The lawyers will have checked the local taxes and utility bills and confirmed they are paid up to date.

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