Estate Agents in Portugal
Estate agents in Portugal have the same function as those in the UK or elsewhere, namely that of finding you a property that fits your requirements, but that is about where the similarity with those in the UK ends. In Portugal, estate agents must be licensed, insured and bonded, where as their English counterparts do not currently need any qualifications to trade as an estate agent. So, ostensibly, you are in good hands when you deal with an estate agent in Portugal. This page will point out a few things to keep in mind when you are dealing with Portuguese estate agents, or with any nationality of estate agents in Portugal.
Firstly, any estate agent in Portugal, whether a Portuguese national or a foreigner working as or for an estate agent over there, must be registered with the Instituto de Mercados de Obras Públicas e Particulares e do Imobiliário (Institute of Dealers in Public and Private Works and in Real Estate), the body responsible for supervising and monitoring the goings-on of estate agents. They must also have insurance so that clients can get compensation in the event of negligent conduct by the agent. However, the bond and insurance are not always for that great a sum of money, something in the region of €2500 is compulsory for the bond and the insurance covers sums up to €150,000. Many agents choose to have higher cover. All licensed agents are given the initials AMI (Actividade de Mediação Imobilária) and you will know they are licensed because they are obliged to display the licence in their offices, and give details of it in all correspondence. Agents will not be offended if you ask to see proof of their licence when you are dealing with them by phone, fax and email as any reputable agent will want to maintain the standards of the industry.
Estate agents based in Portugal are not all Portuguese, some are ex-pats selling to other ex-pats, but all need the same licence. You will see their offices on the high streets just as in the UK, but here they are called inmobiliárias. Some agents specialise in particular properties, such as luxury houses, holiday homes, rural properties or apartments, and others cover all types of property.
The estate agent’s fees are paid by the seller, and it is illegal for the agent to take commission from both parties. The fees are between five and ten per cent of the property price, depending on the value, location and age of the property. Poorer areas and expensive properties attract cheaper commission than cheap properties in popular, tourist areas. To protect his commission the agent may ask you to sign a document proving that he was the first to show you the property.
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