Let's Talk Money - How much cost a Buyer Agent in Barcelona?

Published: 23 October of 2020

interview with Laetitia Lair, founder of Barcelona Flat Hunter, one of the leading real estate buyer agent in Barcelona.

1. Buyer agent, flat hunter, real estate personal shopper, is it the same thing?

Yes, these are simply different ways to refer to the agent hired by the real estate buyer. In Spain, the professional association that regroups the main agencies offering this type of service has decided to name these professionals “Personal Shopper Inmobiliarios – PSI” (real estate personal shopper). In UK, people would refer to these professionals as Buyer’s agent and else were in Europe the expression flat or property hunter is quite common.

2. What is the average cost of hiring a buyer agent in Barcelona?

On average 3% + VAT of the purchase price with a minimum service fee of between 7,500€ & 9,000€ (based on complexity of the project). Typically, the higher the purchase price, the higher the commission charged by the buyer agent.

 

At Barcelona Flat Hunter, we are 100% aligned with your interests. Since January 2020, we are proudly the first agency in Barcelona to have set a commission system that combines a flat fee on the purchase price (minimum 7,500€ + VAT) and a variable fee based on the price negotiation we manage to secure for you (10% of the price reduction). The more you save money, the higher our remuneration.

Laetitia Lair buyer agent

3. Is there any cost upfront?

Buyer agents are remunerated on results but most of them ask for a 10% upfront payment (non-reimbursable) to cover their expenses and take on your search, and some charge as well 50% of their fee upon signing the private purchase & sale agreement (“contrato de arras”).

At Barcelona Flat Hunter, we choose our client as much as they choose us. If we take on your project, we believe in it, as such we do not ask for any up-front payment, we are 100% remunerated on the day of the signature of the public deed of sale at the notary.

4. Are all the buyer’s agents offering the same type of services to the buyers?

Yes, overall, all the buyer’s agents in Barcelona offer the same basic services, including the flat hunting, visits, legal and technical support from the offer to the actual purchase.

At Barcelona Flat Hunter, in addition to our real estate, legal and technical skills, we take the support to our client to the next level and bring in a financial expertise (financial plan, ROI simulation or support to carry on the loan procedure, we are here to help!) and administrative support for our non-resident clients. Further down the road, we remain your interlocutor if you wish to have your property rented out or need a trusted interlocutor to handle punctual support with the management of your property.

As a Real Estate buyer in Barcelona, you do want to ensure that the agent by your side is 100% committed to your project without any potential conflict of interest.

5. Is it possible for a buyer agency to be as well a seller agency?

From a legal standpoint, nothing prevents agencies from combining both activities. As a matter of fact, in view of the demand for buyer-oriented services many traditional real estate agencies now offer “buyer’s agent services” within their agency.

From the standpoint of the Spanish Association of Real Estate Personal Shopper (AEPSI), the combination of both activities is acceptable as long as the agent in charge of the buyer only represent the latest, and any property that match the search is presented before signing the search mandate. Later, should the client purchase a property sold by that same agency, the fee both on seller and buyer side should be reduced.

At Barcelona Flat Hunter, we believe that this is a lot more complex than the amount of agency fee. First, to be by the buyer side requires a set of skills that exceed the real estate ones, the buyer’s agent is capable to offer the “big picture” while being able to advise his clients on complex legal or technical aspects and raise “red flags” when needed. Our role is the one of an adviser whether a real estate agent is first and foremost a salesperson. Independently of the commission split, the risk of conflict of interest in agencies offering both services to sellers and buyers is higher, not to mention the reluctance of other agencies to agree to visits when these agents call (they technically represent the competition for other real-estate agencies…).

As a real estate buyer in Barcelona you do want to ensure that the agent by your side is 100% committed to your project without any potential conflict of interest and get access to all the properties that come to the market.

buyer agent interior design

6. Does the fee paid to the buyer agent come in addition to the fee paid to the seller’s agent?

Correct, the fee paid to the buyer’s agent does not include any fee to be paid to the seller’s agent but in most cases in Barcelona, real estate agencies are 100% paid by the seller as they are the one contracting them to sell their property. Having said that, there are a few exceptions, and some agencies like Tecnocasa or 4 Casas charge both the seller and buyer side (usually a 3.5% + VAT of the agreed price), an amount that we will be taken into consideration when looking at the total project cost.

7. Can a buyer agent be remunerated partially/totally by the seller’s agent?

As one of the 36 members in Spain of the AEPSI Barcelona Flat Hunter has signed a chart that formally forbid to receive commission from the seller side, we are 100% remunerated by our clients, the buyers.

 

This is unfortunately not the rule outside of the Spanish Association of Real Estate Personal Shopper and many buyer agents receive up to 20% of the commission billed to the seller. While most do not inform their client, others mostly independent buyer agents have pushed it to the next level, claiming that their services to the buyers are free as they will receive part of the fee charged to the seller. The “selection” of properties being conditioned to the collaboration agreements they have signed with real-estate agencies, the willingness of the latest to grant a visit is closely linked to the product attractiveness (why would they want to share their commission if they can sell the property without difficulties).

8. Why is our remuneration structure different from the one of other buyer agents in Barcelona?

We are proud to be 100% on the buyer side, and fully committed to your search as such our fee is entirely success based, which already differentiate us from our competitors.

 

One aspect that we find essential is that our clients clearly expect us to provide guidance for them to purchase at the right price, after all, this is one of the main reasons why real estate buyers hire buyer agent. Many real estate buyers in Barcelona feel that it is extremely difficult to assess properly the “right price” of a property. This assessment has to be conducted in an objective manner taking into account all the parameters including potential “future expenses “and then it is essential to set a negotiation strategy that works based on the property, market and the circumstances of the sale.

 

As we are 100% success based, our objective is to find the tipping point where the buyer gets the lowest price acceptable by the seller while ensuring that said price does not exceed market price.

Our clients are happy to provide us with an extra remuneration based on the savings we manage to obtain for them, and if you do the math you will too!

 

Barcelona Architecture buyer agent

 

A property published at 480,000 €, negotiated at 450,000 €, translates to a fee of 12,000€ + VAT (9,000€ flat fee + 3,000€ variable fee based on the 10% of the price reduction), total price including our fee 462,000€, an additional 1,500€ saving compared to the standard 3% on purchase of less than 500,000€ (average fee among traditional buyer agencies in Barcelona). Assuming the other agency focus is to “close” the sale rather than attempting a more challenging negotiation for his client, and as such only secures a 20,000€ discount, the total cost will raise to 473,800€ (based on 3% fee on purchase price of 460,000€). Whereas at Barcelona Flat Hunter, the total cost after negotiation would be 462,000€, a further discount of 11,800€ for our client. 

 

Do not hesitate to reach out for a personal assessment of your project and an assessment of the savings we could help you to achieve.

 

Did I mention that this comes in addition to saving you time, hassles, and ensuring you never once more miss on your dream property while protecting your interest at all time?

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