To begin, fees in Poland are different from other countries and a basic rule of thumb is that buying or selling will cost you 3 % + VAT of the sale/purchase price whilst renting or letting will cost a months rent + VAT. These are headline costs and as we will explain, there is lots of room for negotiation. Additionally, being aware of these fees can be very important when deciding to sell or let as your buyer or renter will certainly include this information in their decision making.
We would add another feature of the process is that any agent you contract to help can do a deal on your behalf with another agency agent and in most cases they just split the total commission when a deal is completed.
In the first of our series we will look at
Selling your Property
Polish Agents will always ask for an exclusive contract for a defined period of time and indeed some will only accept these types of contracts. In the past, many agents may have been assigned to sell the same property. Agents felt they were actually doing their job by getting such contracts but the net effect is that a seller has lots of agencies but no real seller. Once the property has been added to the different property portals with nice pictures and fancy text it is , in many cases, forgotten about. Not so with an exclusive offer.
So our first piece of advice is give one agent an exclusive contract. Make someone responsible.
Having assigned an agent lets now see what they should do for you.
Time is Money
If you have decided to sell your property then we assume that you would like to sell it immediately. The speed at which you sell it will be determined to a large extent by the price you list at. Advertise to sell at zl. 1 and it is likely you will have a contract by the end of the day. Overvalue the property and your property will soon become stale and give the impression that nobody is interested and there may be something wrong with the property.
The agent should be able to give you a proper guide as to exactly how much you should expect to sell for, how much to advertise it for and this in itself may save you money in either a higher price and/or a quicker sale. When choosing an agent, ask them about other similar properties they have sold in your area to gauge their level of expertise.
Once agreed, the agent will check the court records to confirm your ownership and exact measurements as it is their responsibility to ensure that what is being offered is a proper and correct description.
Some agents will take pictures only but others may organise video, 3D rendering and compose and publish the adverts on all major property portals. They may also push the property internally to clients of the agency who are looking to buy. Agents pay for the advertising themselves. They may also provide a "For Sale" Banner for display.
Once they receive some interest they will arrange viewings and attempt to open up negotiations for a sale. Bad agents just let buyers walk away without finding out why, good agents will always know. The proper management of this process is crucial as the more feedback you get the better you should be able to tailor your offer and manage the final negotiations. For example, if everyone mentions the noisy dog next door, expect this to be brought up in any final negotiations on price.
Upon completion of the negotiations, the agent will arrange the Notary appointment for both the preliminary and final agreement signings. The buyer may or may not be a direct client of the agent and in a lot of cases may be from a different agency.
Once the agreement is signed the agent should then manage the hand over of keys , checking utility levels etc..
By hiring an agent you also provide some level of trust in the buyer as it would be assumed that they have a legal obligation to ensure the property is transferred properly etc. This may add an un-quantifiable amount to the eventual sale price.
Is this worth 3 % of a sale price?
Assuming you are selling for zl. 500,000 that is zl. 15,000 + VAT ( zl. 18,450 gross). That's a lot and if you add in the fact that the buyer may also be paying the same amount then that's almost 7.5 % in total of the available budget going to property agents.
The answer really lies in your level of confidence in selling your own property, your access to the advertising portals, ability to correctly value your own property in a constantly moving market and the legal requirements and paperwork
Can you negotiate?
To increase your sales price and the number of possible buyers try to demand that the agent does not charge a buyer any commission. This is actually easier than you would think to do as the agency market is quite competitive and a good agent will let you do this.
Try to structure the commission to reflect the effort. Let's imagine you are selling a property worth around zl. 500,000. Well it is likely any fool could sell it for zl. 400,000 so why pay commission on that? Every extra zl. 10,000 an agent gets for you is only worth zl. 300 for them so they wont really care if they get zl. 500,000 or zl. 510,000 .. but you will.Try to structure the commission so you get the optimum amount.
Help the buyer, help yourself.
If a buyer needs a Polish Mortgage they will need an official valuation report from their bank. It may be a good idea for you to commission this report yourself. You can show this to any buyer during negotiations if they wont reach your price and even sell the report to them to use in their mortgage application. The cost can be anything from zl. 500 upwards and make sure the valuer you choose is approved by all banks rather than just a few of them.
Don't forget, by referring a successful Polish Mortgage applicant to us, BigDoor24.pl, you get zl. 250 and they get zl. 200 for every zl. 100,000 they borrow. Register for more details and Like us now on Facebook for regular articles on working and living in Poland.
The value of a property agent can be quite a subjective decision but hopefully the above will help you get the most from whatever decision you make.