I got riled by Facebook this week. I know, I know, I should just avoid it like an increasing number of people are doing but I couldn’t let it lie this time.
Apparently, according to people in Facebook groups at least, you cannot go to see properties in Valencia at the weekend because, and I paraphrase, “all agents are a bunch of workshy cowboys who don’t do anything to justify the commission payments they receive on making sales“. And as you know people in Facebook groups are reasonable people with considered opinions who are not know-alls at all and know everything about everything despite never having worked in any of the industries they opine on so it must be true right?
“Some don’t even “work” Monday to Friday for their 3-4%
“You are only paying them 3% of your purchase price, don’t expect them to work Saturday or Sunday”
“Yes and the vendor another 3% so 6% in total, they don’t need to work Saturday or Sunday.”
“Lots of realtors work the weekend, typical in the US and Caribbean. They accommodate the client who is unable to visit properties during week. Agents usually take their time off during week” (Yeah because famously Valencia is a part of the USA and Caribbean at the same time!)
Of course, I tend to have a different opinion after working for around 12-14 hours a day for around 20 years running my own business in the industry often answering people’s queries around midnight when they come through on Whatsapp, Email, Twitter and a hell of a lot of other places that people get in touch with us.
When I look at our team I see a lot of experience of working weekends. They have mostly come from the hospitality sector where ultra late nights working at the weekends, never seeing the family and shocking working conditions along with terrible pay are the norm. That’s ok (But really shouldn’t be) when you are in your 20s and looking to get some experience in life but most of us aren’t at that point in life. We are at the point where we have kids, responsibilities and even pets that need looking after.
So, as someone with a bit of experience in the matter I can say with certainty that there are various reasons that you cannot see properties in Valencia at the weekend in general. This isn’t about us, it’s about agents and real estate in Spain in general. In this post we will put many of the reasons but they mostly involve one common thing… Spain is quite different to where you are coming from. (However, we do finish off by giving you some tips to potentially get your agent’s attention!)
1) Spain is not the United States. People here work in order to enjoy life rather than live just to work. There are five days in a week and two at the weekend. A weekend is there to enjoy.
2) The owners aren’t there, there are no keyboxes and the owners don’t hand over keys. You can’t get into properties when the owners won’t let you in unless they are there. What are the owners doing at the weekend I hear you ask? They are spending time off and away from home. It often seems that owners in Spain don’t want to sell because they make it difficult to get into places at times. That’s not true but you might definitely get that impression and you wouldn’t be far off hitting the target.
3) Agents work every weekday and their days are long, especially in summer. They might be starting work at 9am and finishing at 9pm in 30 degrees plus heat and then they still have to arrange their visits for the next day as most agents, especially in the larger franchises, are self employed and the franchise owners are, let’s say in a charitable way, often slave drivers.
4) You are just coming over for the weekend because you can’t get time off work? It’s not an agent’s fault that they work every day during the week and just because somebody on Facebook says that “agents in the US take days off during the week so they can work weekends!” it doesn’t actually make it true or means that it happens in Spain.
5) You have a family you want to see right? Well, believe it or not, so do agents, they are not usually anti-Christs, and some of them want to spend some time with their families. If they don’t do that very often in family friendly Spain then soon after they won’t have a family to spend time with.
6) They need to spend their “ill gotten gains“ from not doing any work because “they are workshy cowboys”, (remember that bit) and the weekend is the only time they can do this because they are so busy working during the week.
7) Agents in Spain often spend 50-80 hours working during the week so they are very reticent to set everything up for the weekend only to receive a text message while waiting at the house from someone who is having a long and potentially liquid lunch while on holiday and fancying a little bit of house hunting informing them that they will “be there a little bit late” when the owner has come back from their village miles away just for this visit (And yes, this is taken from bitter personal experience various times and at times it has even been total no shows rather than a text message).
8) Generally there are no such things as open houses but if they are organised they will be on a Saturday morning. Therefore the agent is at one place with a small buffet waiting for anybody who isn’t another agent to turn up (because open houses aren’t generally a thing as I just said although some agents are trying to make them a thing). They cannot just pop off to see other places a long way away and leave the open house… well… open!
9) This is the one that may sting because I know that most of us believe that the World revolves around us and should bend to our whims and will but you are not the main focus of the agent especially if you are just popping over for the weekend.
Have you got a NIE? Have you got funds in place? Have you got a bank account? Have you appointed a lawyer? Do you need a mortgage and have you got pre-approval?
If not then don’t expect an agent to drop everything for you at the weekend because even if you managed to find the perfect place (Good luck with that at weekends where your choice is limited even more) then you won’t be able to buy it without all of those things in place. Even if you have those things you might not be able to see anything much.
10) Are you contacting every single agent in order to make appointments? When an agent is told that you can only make 6.30pm on a Saturday evening because you have other commitments (Translation “appointments with other agents“) don’t expect the agent to go out of their way to accommodate you.
Without a commitment to one agent in the same way as people do with the Realtor model in the States then you are not the main focus of any agent. None of them will be taking you out at the weekend. You need to make yourself an attractive option for an agent by wedding yourself to them really and that is why it’s important to contact them beforehand and get a relationship going before you come over. (We can do that of course with our consultation call)
11) Apparently “just get in touch with private sellers and they will be happy to show you things at the weekend” according to Facebook. Go on, try it. Let me know how that works out for you as well.
So here are some tips for you if you want to see things at the weekend, They may come in useful
1) Make contact with your potential agent a long time before coming over and stick with one (Of course I suggest us).
2) Make sure you include at least one full weekday in your visit.
3) On that weekday, make sure to ask for help to organise all of your required things, NIE, Bank, Lawyer etc… You’ll need a morning to do this but no agent will take you seriously if you don’t or if you say you “might” do that in the future.
4) Don’t expect to spend all of the weekend seeing properties. You may get some places to see on Saturday morning and there may be the odd place on a Saturday afternoon but Sunday is for paellas. You will see as much as possible on Friday afternoon or Monday morning. And the more weekdays you include in your visit the more properties you are likely to see.
And one more thing, if an agent says ok to see things on Sundays then they are being pressured by their bosses because they are the new person in there (In some of the franchises) and they are desperate for sales so they will sell you anything and remember they are representing the seller not you, even though they are charging you.
Don’t expect them to point out any of the downsides of the property and know one thing for sure, the only reason it is being shown on a Sunday is because the nearby quarry doesn’t work that day so it seems a lot quieter than it usually is. Why is that? Because even quarrymen don’t work on Sundays in Spain.
Golden Visa Property of the Week
A beautiful house in the urbanisation of Alfinach, close to the beach and to a number of international schools in this area.
It’s actually located on The Miracles of Sant Vicent street. Sant Vicent is the patron saint of Valencia and just what are these miracles? Well at just 9 years of age, he cured a neighbour of a malignant abscess (the worst type of abscess I think you’ll agree). He then became known as Vicent the Finger, because he was known to raise his finger when he felt a miracle coming on. Probably where we get the ‘Pull my finger’ thing from today.
Getting back to the house, it is over 360m2 over 3 floors. 4 bedrooms, and a large basement games area. Well-tended gardens and a pool of course. The house is on the southern edge of the urbanisation, so there is nothing to block the light and the views towards the sea and the mountains inland.
Today the miracles are celebrated the first Monday after Easter, with parades and altars erected in the streets, and plays of religious events being performed. People travel for miles to get away from it. But fortunately for you if you buy this house you will be far away on Miracle Street, ironically sipping on a gin tonic and taking in the amazing view from your back yard.
So go on, pull my finger and be blown away.
Valencia Apartment of the Week
Valencia Property presents a nicely put together property in the Cabanyal.
Sometimes an owner makes a mistake when modernising and sometimes that’s a disaster. Not this time! In this case the owner made a mistake but fortunately it’s easily solved. The owner bought this for their own personal use and they are a single person, therefore they didn’t need a second bedroom. What they did want however was a huge open plan living room with kitchen and dining area so that’s what they got.
Then Covid came and plans changed. The owner now wants another place with a shop attached for their business of buying, restoring and selling mid century furniture so they are selling this one to make that dream become a reality.
Now the sharp eyed among you might recognise some rather exquisite furniture pieces in this property. The less cultured among you (Me for example) will state that the furniture collection is at best eclectic. This ecelectic/stunning collection of furniture can be bought with the house (but not the art work) for an extra consideration.
The basics are one bedroom, easily remedied into two with a stud wall and door which the owner has a quote for but would rather somebody else do. Two bathrooms because, well, just because, one en suite and one for the apartment, large open plan living, dining and kitchen area, front and rear balcony terraces and plenty of light and breeze.
It’s actually a lovely renovation, well done and recent. The downsides? Previously mentioned one bedroom, fourth floor without lift saving you that gym membership and a couple of damp patches from the terrace above which are being sorted by the insurance at the moment.
Location is great near to the marina and beach and price is keen for the area. You should be looking at this.
Random Photos From This Week
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