When you decide to sell your Spanish property and have selected an estate agent, they will give you their service contract to sign.
This contract will set out their conditions of service and the percentage commission which they will charge if they successfully find a buyer for your property. It may seem obvious that you should carefully read through this contract before you sign it, but it is amazing how many people either do not read it, or they just only look for the percentage figure of the agentÂ’s fees.
You should always read through these contracts first, because they may well contain clauses which are of disadvantage to you, the seller. A recent condition I have seen included by one agent along the coast obliges the vendor to use a lawyer chosen by that estate agent, and sets out the lawyerÂ’s percentage for legal fees.
This is a very dangerous clause indeed for you the seller, as you are being forced to use the lawyer of the agents, who by the fact that he is getting his business from the estate agent cannot be impartial, and so may not act in your best interests. For all you know, if you get a buyer through that estate agent, that buyer may even have been recommended to use the same lawyer by your estate agent!
In England all Solicitors are trained to advise their clients never to use a lawyer who is connected to the other party with whom they are doing business, this is due to the clear conflict of interest and the dangers that result from this. Of course this same principle applies to the buyer of a property.
So it is very important that you carefully read through the estate agents contract.
If you are going to use a lawyer independent of the estate agent to sell your property you can even get your lawyer to check through the estate agents contract if you are not happy with its terms. This should be a no extra cost to you as he should include this service in his fixed rate conveyance fees which are generally 1% of the value of the property.