Real estate commission in spain, cover

Real Estate Commissions In Spain (a guide)


Navigating Spain as an expat is not always easy. When buying, selling or renting your property you might ask yourself this question. How much should the real estate agency charge, and who pays the real estate commissions in Spain? Also, it’s important to get an idea of what should be included in the services offered.

Since these commissions differ a lot around the world, we at Property Management Barcelona, want to offer you this guide. So you’ll know exactly what to expect, before closing your next real estate deal in Barcelona.

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Selling your house

The commission

In Spain, real estate commissions are not regulated, this means the market regulates itself on supply and demand.

As a rule of thumb, real estate agencies will charge anything in between 3% and 6% of the final sale price. To this amount you’ll need to add VAT (value added tax of 21%).

Since the real estate agency establishes the fee, it’s up to the seller to shop around a bit and decide depending on what he’s offered. Sometimes this fee is a little negotiable, specially when the seller gives exclusive selling rights to the agency.

What is included

The following services are included in the sale of any property

  • Property valuation: This service is normally offered for free before any agreement document is signed. Might be a good idea to get a few valuations from different agencies. The agency will suggest an ideal market price, but keep in mind that you’ll always have the final say.
  • Pictures / Videos / 360º Virtual tours: Most of these should be included, in the fixed percentage the agency charges.
  • Publishing & Marketing: The real estate agency will publish your property in different online portals. If you’re dealing with a big agency they might also have alternate resources (in house magazines / publishing in different countries / etc.)
  • Handling visits: Normally the real estate agency will handle any and all visits. The owner will not be needed to be present.
  • Documentation: As soon as an agreement is reached, the agent should ask you for all documentation related to the property. If anything is missing or needs a renewal, they’ll be able to supply the necessary connections, in order to get it sorted.
  • Negotiation: The agency will negotiate on your behalf, trying to get a satisfying closing price for both parties.
  • Downpayment contract & legal advice: Your real estate agency will draft the downpayment contract called “Contrato de Arras” according to current regulation. If necessary they’ll be able to bring in a real estate lawyer (not included in the price).
  • Property deed: Once all documentation is in order, they’ll join you at the notary’s office to oversee the final property deed signing.

Who pays and when?

During the sale of a house or flat in Spain, the seller always pays the real estate commission. When you see a property published at a specific price, the real estate agency commission is already included in that price.

Most agencies charge the first 50% of their fee after the downpayment contract has been signed. At this stage, the seller has already received a significant part of the money, and it’s not very likely for the deal to go sour.

The second 50% will be charged after a successful signing of the property deed.

*Exception: When selling a building the real estate commission will be paid by the buyer, and not the seller.

This might interest you! How to sell your flat in Spain

Real estate commission in spain, selling your house

Renting out your apartment

The commission

When it comes to renting out your apartment the commission is quite different.

Years ago real estate agencies used to charge one month of rent, as a commission. Over time they have increased this to 10% of a yearly rental income, plus VAT.

Example: If your flat is renting out at 1200€ per month. The real estate agency commission would be: 1440€ + VAT (1200€*12*10%)

What is included

The services included in renting out an apartment are very similar to the ones included in a property sale.

  • First visit and valuation: This service should be free of cost before you decide if you want to give your property to that agency. They will suggest a market price, but keep in mind that you’ll always have the final say.
  • Pictures / Videos / 360º Virtual tours: Just as in a property sale these services should be included in the real estate commission.
  • Publishing & Marketing: The agency will publish your property in the most important online portals.
  • Visits: All visits should be organised and handled by the real estate agency.
  • Documentation & Tenant screening: The real estate agent will gather all necessary documentation from the owner and the potential tenant. Also, will he/she do a background check on all possible tenants to assure the highest possible tenant quality.
  • Rental contract: The agency will draft the rental contract and sign it together with the tenant. The owner normally doesn’t need to be present for this procedure.
  • Utilities: Sometimes agencies include the utilities change of name, from past tenant to future tenant. Check with your agency if this service is included.

Who pays and when?

Update: On May 26th, 2023 the new Spanish housing law enters into effect (ley 12/2023) 

It is now forbidden for the tenant to pay the agency fees. The agency fees shall only be charged to the landlord. This update is only applicable to long term contracts (5 years +). Short term contracts (32 days up to 11 months) and tourist rentals don’t fall under this law.

The agency fee will only be paid by the tenant in the case of short-term contracts or vacation rentals. This fee will be paid during the property booking process.

In the case of long-term contracts, the fee will be paid by the landlord. The payment will be made once the tenant has signed the rental contract and has moved into their new apartment.

This might interest you! How to rent an apartment in Barcelona (a 10 step guide)

Real estate commission in spain, renting your apartment

Buyers agent or personal shopper

The commission

If you hire a buyers agent or personal shopper, you are hiring them to find you your future home or investment in Spain.

Since this service is not very widely spread, the commission will vary from case to case.

Normally a buyers agent can charge his client up to 3% of the final purchase price. That being said, we’ve seen several different methods, used by different personal shoppers. In the end it will be up to you, to analyse if the service is worth the payment.

Post of interest: Golden Visa Spain

What is included

These are the services that should be offered by any buyers agent or personal shopper:

  • Meet and greet: This meeting should be free of charge for the client. It’s set up to get an idea of the clients expectations regarding the property, and if his ideas match his financial reality.
  • Searching for a property: The personal shopper will start searching for his clients property using all available resources. These can include personal connections, other real estate professionals, real estate developers and real estate portals.
  • The visits: The buyers agent will join his client during all visits, taking care of his needs and translating when necessary. He can even do video visits on behalf of his clients, if they are not in the country.
  • Negotiation: Once a property is found, the buyers agent will negotiate on his clients behalf. Sometimes part of his fees are tied to this part of the process.
  • Documentation: Once a price is agreed upon, the personal shopper will request all documentation from the sellers. He will check all of it personally, searching for any blindspots and always keeping his clients wellbeing in mind.
  • Legal, structural and renovation advice: If needed, your personal shopper will be able to bring in real estate lawyers, engineers and architects. 
  • Downpayment contract: The personal shopper will oversee the drawing up of the downpayment contract. He’ll always keep his clients best interests at heart. 
  • Property deed: The buyers agent will choose a notary where to sign the property deed. He’ll also accompany his client to the deed signing, overseeing the process and solving any issues that might come up.

Who pays and when?

A buyers agent or personal shopper gets paid by the buyer.

Again, each buyers agent might operate slightly different. But normally they ask for the first 50% after the downpayment contract, and the second 50% after the property deed has been signed.

This might interest you! How to find the best Barcelona property for sale!

Real estate commission in spain, buyers agent

Property Management

The commission

When shopping for a property manager for your property you’ll find a wide array of prices. These differences are mainly because not all include the same services.

In general you’ll find that property managers charge anything in between 3% to 12%, of rental income.

But before you give your property to any specific agency, be sure to ask exactly what’s included in the price, and for what you’ll be charged extra.

What is included

As a general guideline these should be the services included by a property manager:

  • Renting out your property: If your property is empty, the property management agency will rent it out. This means taking photos, publishing the flat, screening the tenants and taking care of the whole documentary process.
  • Fixing issues: Appliances failure, key copies or a clogged toilet. All these issues should be taken care of by the property manager. At this point it’s important to clarify what is included in the monthly price, without additional cost. Many charge an extra, whenever something needs to be done.
  • Rent collection: The property manager will make sure that the tenant pays each month, and forward this payment towards the owner.
  • Property expenses: The property manager will pay out all expenses associated to the property. Such as property tax and community. He’ll deduct these costs from rental income.
  • Accounting: This depends on the property manager. Not all offer accounting services, be sure to check according to your needs.
  • Property inspection: If needed the property manager should go by the property. Just to check that everything is going according to plan, and the tenants are behaving properly.
  • Renovations: The logistic of these are not included in the monthly price, but can be handled by the property manager.

Who pays and when?

A property manager is always paid by the property owner.

The property manager charges a fixed percentage of the rental income. This charge will happen once per month.

Additionally, they might charge for added services such as a renovation. This cost is to be paid out after the completion of the service.

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