Posts By: George
We often get asked the question, “Should I use more than one estate agent to sell my house?” Once upon a time, this strategy made perfect sense. After all, before properties were advertised on the internet, how else could you make sure that buyers across different geographical areas would see your home, if you didn’t use two, three or more agents to market it?
But then came the property portals, and everything changed. Almost all buyers (93% at last count) look online to find their home, often browsing a couple of portals, then simply call the relevant agent to book a viewing on a home they like.
Apartment for Rent: 3 Agents for the SAME apartment! Same street! Same rental price!
What’s the point in being listed twice or thrice like this?
Same price, but advertised with three different sizes!!
So is there any point these days in instructing more than one agent? The short answer is ‘no’. If a buyer spies your home listed several times online, at best it’s annoying, and at worst it’s misleading, because if the agents involved have used different photographs and descriptions to advertise the property, a buyer could be forgiven for thinking that the adverts belong to different houses.
And don’t they look like a different property? There are not!
When a buyer enters a search criterion on one of the property portals, properties appear in a list, in descending price order, ie with the more expensive houses showing first. Any properties that are marketed at exactly the same price will appear in a random order, to be fair and not favour any particular agent. However, agents get around this rule by adding a euro to his prices, or adding a few sq meters to the size so that his properties will show first, and therefore you’ll see property prices like € 650 from him!
Another factor to bear in mind, is how does it look to a buyer if you as the seller have instructed several agents? Desperate perhaps? In need of an urgent sale? This could have the effect of generating some very low offers from those buyers looking for a bargain, whilst genuine buyers may stay away completely, fearful of being stuck with a property that they themselves can’t sell when the time comes.
Finally, there’s the question of cost. If you instruct more than one agent, depending on the type of agency agreement you have, you’ll either pay the standard agency fee, but only to one of the agents; sometimes called ‘winner takes all’. Or else you’ll pay a higher fee, and it’ll be split between the two agents, typically 50/50.
So our advice is to pick one agent, show them your loyalty and let them do their job. Don’t agree to a long contract, and if after say, 3 months, you’re not getting the interest in your home you had hoped for, drop your price, or find another agent and improve your marketing. Or all three….
The real estate industry can feel like it has its own set of rules. With that in mind, we’ve brought you four home buying etiquette rules that every buyer should know. Read them over and keep them in mind so that you feel prepared for when you’re ready to hit the market.
Get pre-approved before you start going on showings
In real estate, a pre-approval is a letter from your Bank that indicates the amount up to which you’ve been approved to buy a home. These days, you need to submit this letter as part of your offer in order to prove to the sellers that you’re capable of buying the home. Having a pre-approval is a sign that you’re serious about buying.
However, you don’t want to wait until you’ve already found your dream home to apply for a pre-approval. In order to put together this document, your lender will need to vet your finances and pull your credit. The process can take a few days to complete.
With that in mind, your best bet is to have a pre-approval put together before you start working with an agent. That way, when you do find the right home, you have the necessary documents ready to go.
Work with one agent at a time
It should almost go without saying, but you should only work with one real estate agent at a time. Having one person follow you through the entirety of your home search is the easiest way to make sure that no important details get left out of the equation.
The one exception to this when you’re relocating. In this case, you’ll want to have two real estate agents, one in your new location and one in your old. However, ideally, they’ll at least communicate enough to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your housing needs.
Keep your appointments and be on time
As a matter of basic respect, you should always do your best to keep your appointments with your agent. Put simply, think of appointments as the agent equivalent of a meeting. As with any business situation, it would be disrespectful to show up late or cancel without warning.
Obviously, sometimes things happen and life gets in the way, but in those situations, your goal should be to be as respectful as possible. Give your real estate agent a call in advance and let him or her know what’s going on. Odds are, your agent will be more than happy to reschedule.
Communicate through your agent
Once you do find a home, a seller will enter the mix. However, once that happens, you should do most of your communicating through your agent. The reality is that buying a house is a legally-binding transaction. It’s in your best interest to have someone negotiate on your behalf.
To that end, do your best to keep all your conversations above board. If you have a question or concern about the house, bring it up to your real estate agent. He or she will then present it to the listing agent and bring you an answer.
Buying Property in Athens – things to know about investing in the capital
The unique metropolitan lifestyle and the proximity to many Greek islands makes Athens an appealing option for local and foreign property buyers.
Buying property in Athens has never been more enticing.
It’s a city blessed by the gods with its crystal blue coastline, magical sunsets and mountainous landscape.
Greece has traditionally been a nation of home owners who proudly pass-on their properties to their children.
The resent economic crisis forces many to sell properties they can’t maintain.
With low residential prices and high yielding short-term rental income, investment from overseas buyers have surged in recent years, allowing many to make true their dream of owning a summer holiday house in Greece.
Why Athens and why now?
Athens offers an easy lifestyle against the backdrop of a buzzing and dynamic city that is steeped in history and legacy. The harsh economic climate has seen some positive change and exciting developments in food, art and culture, providing a much more rounded urban experience and making it one of the most exciting cities in Europe right now.
The sea and its southern coastline of Blue-Flag beaches are easily reached from the center, as are the many hills you can climb to admire its beautiful landscape from above.
Central Athens is built around the Acropolis.
The newly built Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center has been the most ambitious cultural and architectural project to date. The €617 million development by the prominent Greek shipping family was the largest donation made to the city so far.
Many central suburbs are in the midst of a reboot too, as gentrification takes hold in various pockets around town. The southern coastal districts from Piraeus to Vouliagmeni will get a boost thanks to recent plans to transform the major shipping and passenger terminal of the Port of Piraeus and its surrounding area. Plans are also in place to finally resurrect the former Athens airport near Glyfada, into a modern hub of residences, retail and leisure facilities.
The urban sprawl of Athens
Be prepared and do your homework
It goes without saying that you should find a reputable team of professionals to guide you through the purchasing process. You’ll need a Lawyer to protect your rights and a notary to transfer the property to your name.
When purchasing existing property, it’s also wise to have an engineer conduct an independent inspection to make sure your property is structurally sound and complies with relevant laws and regulations.
Property transfer Fees
- Buyers tax fee 3% .
- Greek tax file number (equivalent to a social security number): no fee
- Real Estate Agency fees are usually between 2-2.5 % of the final purchase price.
- Notary and Lawyer fees can be a fixed fee but no more than 1% each on the contract value.
- All above are subject to 24% VAT/GST.
An expert’s advice
Property consultant, George Sagirakis from National Real Estate has assisted many overseas buyers through the paperwork and overcoming language barriers to purchasing Real Estate in Athens and all around Greece.
We asked George to get his expertise and experience on buying property and Visa in Greece.
Q: George, as a property consultant, how can you assist overseas buyers wanting to invest in property and in obtaining the Golden Visa?
A: We usually come in when the client needs help to find a property or has decided on buying a property or has narrowed down options of properties they are interested in.
We all know that buying a property, either as an investment or to leave in, is going to be one of the most careful decisions we make and you should not throw good money away on an emotional decision or a decision made by ignorance.
Buying good property means to gather as much information as possible in advance, in order to make an educated decision and make sure that you get Value for Money.
Q: Where do people commonly find properties advertised for sale in Athens?
A: The most common methods are through Real Estate Agents or privately advertised properties. Walk-by signage is also great idea providing you have available time. We advice potential buyers to walk or drive around neighborhoods at different times of the day.
Athens, a city of rooftop living.
Q: What is a realistic time frame for someone from overseas coming to Athens to buy a place? Do they need to be physically present the entire time?
A: The time required to view, inspect, negotiate and close a property is more or less the same as in any country.
Property Buyers may appoint a specialist Lawyer or a Real Estate Broker to do all is required. Overseas buyers don’t have to be physically present in Greece for the documentations.
Q: What are the usual steps to buy a property in Greece?
A: A deposit of 2-10 per cent (depending on the type of property and its value) is usually required. When an agreement has been reached, the seller should provide all legal and technical documents required by the Law.
Signed contracts will be lodged to the local Registry Office in your name/s as well as at the Hellenic Cadastre Office.
Property owners no longer have to obtain a permit for minor repairs or upgrades. In some cases when an apartment is located in a building of historical heritage, the process can become more complicated and restrictive. This is one more reason why it’s a good idea for buyers to consider appointing an architect-engineer before purchasing property, as they can potentially help quantify in advance, the cost and time involved to renovate a place.
Renting a property
Short-term or holiday rental income must be declared as if one were renting to a long-term tenant. Owners must now declare the property, names of renters and the duration of the lease.
George Sagirakis was born and raised in Greece. He moved to Australia where he lived and worked in the retail and construction industry for over 22 years. He is now based in Athens and is a licensed Realtor. His second office is in Limassol, Cyprus.
George provides consulting services for Real Estate and renovations matters in Greece and Cyprus. All property management services are handled by registered Attorneys and/or Accountants.
George is experienced in Real Estate marketing, buying/selling/rending as well as renovating residential and commercial properties, as well as assisting with all property-related matters such as obtaining certificates and permits.
You can contact George directly via this website.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided is general and should therefore NOT be considered as advice or consultation to act upon. Links to third-party websites do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of products and services.