Scammed by agent in costa blanca

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Scammed by agent in costa blanca


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Old 9th July 2019, 11:44 AM
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Default Scammed by agent in costa blanca

Good morning

I would like to share a story of when we sold our property, hoping that it will help some of you to avoid doing the same mistakes. We will not be specific of the exact whereabouts of the property or the exact time of happenings, but we can tell you this that the sale took place within the last 3 years and is in Costa Blanca South.

After some time thinking about selling our property, we contacted an agency recommended to us by a friend who sold their property with them. Since they are also one of the largest in the costa blanca, we really did not see any problems with this. The property was put on the market for a reasonable price we thought, a bit on the low side perhaps but we really needed to sell. A few months passed, we had viewings, or so we were told because we were not present during the whole period of time. The property had taken interest specifically to Norwegians and Swedish, who came directly through our agency and through collaborating agencies of them. They had mapped out this for us up front, saying that it was normal to collaborate, to also reach out to potential buyers in other countries. After half a year on the market, we finally got an offer, it was really low, but feeling a bit pressured economically, we gave them a counter offer with the minimum we could afford selling for and it was accepted by the buyers. We had mixed feelings about this, on the one hand we felt we were giving away the property, on the other hand, relieved to finally have sold it. We also felt that our agency had taken a little advantage of the fact that we in the end told them we really needed to sell. They said that they would like to sell it for more, but this was a real offer on the table from a collaborating agency and it was entirely up to us. They were right of course, but the discount we gave on the property was basically the saving we were hoping to be left with after scaling down to a smaller property, meaning that our situation would not change too much.

Our agency was really helpful, great conveyancing and no questions left unanswered. Notary date was set, contracts were signed, inventory list signed. At the time we did not really put much thought into it, as our agency explained us that this was normal procedure with this collaborating agent, which was that the sales contract we signed, was not signed by the buyers or our agency, it was signed by the person representing the buyers in Spain. We also never met the buyers, we were told they were here just for a few days to look at property and was now back in Norway. Few months later we signed the deeds at notary, received our money by cheque from the buyers solicitor and moved on with our lives.

That is up until a few months ago, we bumped into our previous neighbours and we sat down to catch up. They told us that they had met the new neighbours, a lovely couple from Norway. Then they told us that they had been thinking about selling their property too after we sold ours, and they had asked around to find a reasonable price to put it on the market for. They asked us politely if we would share what we sold our property for and if we would recommend the agency we used. This was the moment we realised that there was a substansial difference between what we received and what the buyers paid. I literally felt my heart drop. Basically the new owners bought the property for the full listing price beign told there were no negotiations, while we on the other side dropped the price substantially, equal to a years wages, all our savings.
After doing some thinking and asking around, we decided to talk to our solicitor. She told us that this was not an unique case, that she was aware of another case exactly like this one, with the exact same Norwegian agency, but with a different british agent. She basically said that this was a bit in the grey zone and if we wanted to pursue it, we would have to involve the buyers and together build a case. The reason for this was that we had signed a contract on selling our property for an amount of money and we had received this money, it was actually the buyers who should raise the question of the whereabouts of the money in between. She said that this was common practice among a lot of agencies, that they sell the property furnished and they explain this extra money as «furniture» which has to be paid apart of the property and effectively leaving no trace of the money.

We tried to look up the new owners but we were left unsuccessfull as they were apparently not coming back for several months, probably later this summer according to our previous neighbours. Since then, time has passed and we have done some more investigation, more thinking and the anger we felt in the beginning has started to fade and we are taking a more rational stand . The Norwegian agency in question, we google them and found out they had a lot going on, they have an office in Norway and in costa blanca, they operate under two brands, a Norwegian one and a «british» one, operating in several countries it seems. The «british» name is the one they have on their cars, we have seen them in the area, it also corresponds with the registered company name that was used to sign our contract. They also have their own lawers company when you walk the street on google maps they seem to be sharing office, but they have their own logo, website etc. Funny thing that the solicitors on the website also figure as solicitor on the agency website, and there we also found the solicitor that signed the deeds at the notary on the buyers behalf.

With the help of our solicitor who has also been in contact with another couple in the same situation, we can see a pattern. In that case the sellers didnt pursue it further as it was «only» a few thousand euros missing, but they willingly shared info with us.

How they operate:
This Norwegian agency (probably also the other one) brings clients over to Spain for a few days (they market «inspection trips» on their website). These clients never meets the sellers, at least they never met us, so the only contact person they have is their agent, who tells them that there is no negotiating the price and then passes a really low offer to our agency. Since the clients later are being represented by one of the lawers, they never find out what the property was actually sold for. They can look in their deeds to see that the price is lower, but as our solicitor says that its common practice to call this «furniture» they are probably aware of it, but dont know that this is actually money going into the pockets of the agent of the buyer.
At this stage we are not sure if we are going to make a legal claim or just name and shame, we are being recommended both but we are afraid of the consequenses of naming and shaming, and we are also not keen on spending years in the legal system. We thought it would be of help sharing our story so that you do not fall into the same trap, it is also of good help to us putting our frustration down on paper. We would like to say that we are happy with the agency we chose, and they are not to be blamed, we will probably at some point go to them and tell them about their dirty collaborators.

Thank you again for letting us share our story, we hope it reaches out to whoever needs to read it and that you take measures to make sure you are not in the same situation.
Babbs, Pesky Wesky, skip o and 1 others like this.

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Old 9th July 2019, 02:50 PM
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Hola

Yes it used to be "accepted practice" for the estate agent to give you a price you will receive when they sell it, and then market it for what they think they can achieve. In the above case you receive the agreed amount of money and unless you see your property advertised, will never realise just how much the agency made.

I have known a mark-up of around 100,000€ on an expensive house - the agent relied upon no-one else knowing as they worked from a mobile phone only. They were found out by a friend of the sellers posing as a buyer that was coming over soon. Needless to say the house was removed from the estate agents books

Davexf

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Old 9th July 2019, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayne1949 View Post
Good morning

I would like to share a story of when we sold our property, hoping that it will help some of you to avoid doing the same mistakes. We will not be specific of the exact whereabouts of the property or the exact time of happenings, but we can tell you this that the sale took place within the last 3 years and is in Costa Blanca South.

After some time thinking about selling our property, we contacted an agency recommended to us by a friend who sold their property with them. Since they are also one of the largest in the costa blanca, we really did not see any problems with this. The property was put on the market for a reasonable price we thought, a bit on the low side perhaps but we really needed to sell. A few months passed, we had viewings, or so we were told because we were not present during the whole period of time. The property had taken interest specifically to Norwegians and Swedish, who came directly through our agency and through collaborating agencies of them. They had mapped out this for us up front, saying that it was normal to collaborate, to also reach out to potential buyers in other countries. After half a year on the market, we finally got an offer, it was really low, but feeling a bit pressured economically, we gave them a counter offer with the minimum we could afford selling for and it was accepted by the buyers. We had mixed feelings about this, on the one hand we felt we were giving away the property, on the other hand, relieved to finally have sold it. We also felt that our agency had taken a little advantage of the fact that we in the end told them we really needed to sell. They said that they would like to sell it for more, but this was a real offer on the table from a collaborating agency and it was entirely up to us. They were right of course, but the discount we gave on the property was basically the saving we were hoping to be left with after scaling down to a smaller property, meaning that our situation would not change too much.

Our agency was really helpful, great conveyancing and no questions left unanswered. Notary date was set, contracts were signed, inventory list signed. At the time we did not really put much thought into it, as our agency explained us that this was normal procedure with this collaborating agent, which was that the sales contract we signed, was not signed by the buyers or our agency, it was signed by the person representing the buyers in Spain. We also never met the buyers, we were told they were here just for a few days to look at property and was now back in Norway. Few months later we signed the deeds at notary, received our money by cheque from the buyers solicitor and moved on with our lives.

That is up until a few months ago, we bumped into our previous neighbours and we sat down to catch up. They told us that they had met the new neighbours, a lovely couple from Norway. Then they told us that they had been thinking about selling their property too after we sold ours, and they had asked around to find a reasonable price to put it on the market for. They asked us politely if we would share what we sold our property for and if we would recommend the agency we used. This was the moment we realised that there was a substansial difference between what we received and what the buyers paid. I literally felt my heart drop. Basically the new owners bought the property for the full listing price beign told there were no negotiations, while we on the other side dropped the price substantially, equal to a years wages, all our savings.
After doing some thinking and asking around, we decided to talk to our solicitor. She told us that this was not an unique case, that she was aware of another case exactly like this one, with the exact same Norwegian agency, but with a different british agent. She basically said that this was a bit in the grey zone and if we wanted to pursue it, we would have to involve the buyers and together build a case. The reason for this was that we had signed a contract on selling our property for an amount of money and we had received this money, it was actually the buyers who should raise the question of the whereabouts of the money in between. She said that this was common practice among a lot of agencies, that they sell the property furnished and they explain this extra money as «furniture» which has to be paid apart of the property and effectively leaving no trace of the money.

We tried to look up the new owners but we were left unsuccessfull as they were apparently not coming back for several months, probably later this summer according to our previous neighbours. Since then, time has passed and we have done some more investigation, more thinking and the anger we felt in the beginning has started to fade and we are taking a more rational stand . The Norwegian agency in question, we google them and found out they had a lot going on, they have an office in Norway and in costa blanca, they operate under two brands, a Norwegian one and a «british» one, operating in several countries it seems. The «british» name is the one they have on their cars, we have seen them in the area, it also corresponds with the registered company name that was used to sign our contract. They also have their own lawers company when you walk the street on google maps they seem to be sharing office, but they have their own logo, website etc. Funny thing that the solicitors on the website also figure as solicitor on the agency website, and there we also found the solicitor that signed the deeds at the notary on the buyers behalf.

With the help of our solicitor who has also been in contact with another couple in the same situation, we can see a pattern. In that case the sellers didnt pursue it further as it was «only» a few thousand euros missing, but they willingly shared info with us.

How they operate:
This Norwegian agency (probably also the other one) brings clients over to Spain for a few days (they market «inspection trips» on their website). These clients never meets the sellers, at least they never met us, so the only contact person they have is their agent, who tells them that there is no negotiating the price and then passes a really low offer to our agency. Since the clients later are being represented by one of the lawers, they never find out what the property was actually sold for. They can look in their deeds to see that the price is lower, but as our solicitor says that its common practice to call this «furniture» they are probably aware of it, but dont know that this is actually money going into the pockets of the agent of the buyer.
At this stage we are not sure if we are going to make a legal claim or just name and shame, we are being recommended both but we are afraid of the consequenses of naming and shaming, and we are also not keen on spending years in the legal system. We thought it would be of help sharing our story so that you do not fall into the same trap, it is also of good help to us putting our frustration down on paper. We would like to say that we are happy with the agency we chose, and they are not to be blamed, we will probably at some point go to them and tell them about their dirty collaborators.

Thank you again for letting us share our story, we hope it reaches out to whoever needs to read it and that you take measures to make sure you are not in the same situation.
tell the truth now, who actually read all that, truth now peeps.

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Old 9th July 2019, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerboy123 View Post
tell the truth now, who actually read all that, truth now peeps.
I did.

I feel that if somebody (who is invariably a foreigner living in a strange land, and, therefore more likely to be scammed) needs to get something off their chest on this forum, even if we are unable to offer any advice or help, then we at least have a responsibility to read what has been said.

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Old 10th July 2019, 06:16 AM
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Personally i feel if they really wanted to help others they would have named and shamed those involved
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Old 10th July 2019, 08:39 AM
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Personally i feel if they really wanted to help others they would have named and shamed those involved
Which is against forum rules, so thankfully they didn't.
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Old 10th July 2019, 08:44 AM
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For such a long detailed post it all seems a bit pointless then- as who do we know to avoid
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Old 10th July 2019, 10:20 AM
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It is useful though. Someone tried the same with us when we sold a place. We had more calls from agents wanting us to sign up than viewers when we advertised. A couple of Dutch guys came and only revealed they were agents when arriving. They were very pushy and asked us what price we would be satisfied with and I got the message that they were using the old practice of what the Spanish corredors used to do, the logic being that if they got you the price you were happy with then anything above was theirs.

Most Agents share their listings, I saw our house for sale a year after it was sold in an Agents window.

I think the moral of the story is to keep more hands on with all aspects of the sale and trust no one. It could have been spotted at the Notary too.


Last edited by Isobella; 10th July 2019 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:48 AM
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Hi Jayne1949, I also read your post in it's entirety. Whilst you didn't name those involved, your story does at least give others a 'heads-up' and, as the old saying goes 'forewarned is forearmed'. Thanks for sharing. If there are any further developments, please let us know. Best of luck

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Old 11th July 2019, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbitcat View Post
For such a long detailed post it all seems a bit pointless then- as who do we know to avoid
Totally not pointless.

If you're that keen to know who - we have a PM facility!
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