Estate Agency Competition in Spain As a marketplace booming in the real estate sector, certain parts of Spain are adorned with estate agency offices around every corner. In areas like the Costa del Sol, it can be hard to find a street that does not have several estate agencies already operating on it. This can be good news if you are looking to buy or sell a home as it is easy to find assistance from experienced agents, but it also means that the market can be saturated with multiple listings and a single property could be listed ten or twenty times with different agents, and nobody really knows what the situation is. Within Spain, there are various types of estate agents you can deal with. Spanish estate agents Foreign estate agents Abroad estate agents Corredores Each of these types has their own advantages and disadvantages, such as knowledge of the Spanish language and of the client’s language, or how qualified the agent is. It is much more likely that a Spanish estate agent will be a member of one of the professional bodies like API (Agente de Propiedad Inmobiliaria) or GIPE (Gestor Intermediario en Promociones de Ediciones), although this does not necessarily mean that they are honest and trustworthy in practice. Of course, foreign agents can also be members but it is less common. As demand for holiday homes in Spain rises, the UK and Germany, in particular, are becoming renowned for advertising properties from their home countries. Once they have found a potential buyer, they will then send that buyer to agencies in Spain to view properties an will take a cut of the commission. This introduces problems in itself because commission cuts are not always fair and the buyer can end up paying vastly over the odds when searching for a property. Likewise, overseas estate agents tend to have little or no knowledge about the Spanish market or indeed the area. Corredores are more localised professionals who tend to be found in little villages. They charge much lower commissions but tend to operate from home rather than offices, and their limit of languages other than Spanish can be limited, making them hard to work with for many foreign buyers. Partly owing to the officiality of the sector, there are no records to date depicting how many estate agents are currently practising in Spain. As it is a trade not requiring any qualifications, many people choose to work in estate agency; a large proportion of which work as freelancers from home or abroad, making it even harder to trace. The most accurate accessible figures are those of the API and GIPE which state that they have 713 and 299 associated agencies respectively. Official bodies predict for this to be a mere fraction of the total number of practising agencies in Spain, the vast majority of which are unlikely to have any professional qualifications at all. Nevertheless, studies have been done to depict approximately how many estate agents work in each of the main cities in Spain. It is predicted that there are roughly 16,990 agencies in Spain in total. As a national average, with the vast number of agencies throughout the country, only 2.28 sales are made by each agency monthly, although this varies from region to region. Alicante, for example, has an average of 3.14 sales per month per agency but Madrid, Balearic Islands and Barcelona, where the concentration of agencies is much greater, achieve respectively an average of 1,65 and 1,55 sales per month per agency. Of course, each agency is likely to have a number of employees working for the company, making real estate a highly competitive sector with a wide variety of competence, thus opening up market diversity and creating a gap in the market for professional, highly qualified agents in Spain. This is what has lead to the rapid growth and overwhelming success of Fine & Country’s expansion throughout Spain in the last two years.