Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Complaints against real estate agents

Everything is sweet-talk with your real estate agent during the purchase process: endless trips all over the city or the beach, superlatives used to describe everything about the property. You sign in the dotted line, click on that "Send" button for the transfer of funds. Next thing you learn that the property has several defects, you overpaid and - worse - "your" real estate agent all this time was being paid by the buyer to close the deal no matter what. You call the agent to face the music but then he acts as his name in Spanish implies: "corredor" (runner).

The Technical Board of Real Estate is an entity of the Ministry of Commerce which not only grants real estate agent licenses but also deals with complains against agents and those who sell real estate without a license. Complaints do not need to be filed by an attorney but they need to be in Spanish, so a translator is needed.

Accredited agents are listed online, although with some delay

A Code of Ethics was enacted in 2001 (CODIGO DE ETICA DEL CORREDOR DE BIENES RAICES. RESOLUCION Nn 092-2001. (De 28 de Julio de 2001) which deals with several restrictions on agents.

The two real estate agent associations, ACOBIR and UNACOBIN, also take complaints against their members as a reason for expulsion, which will not get any money back but serves as a moral penalty.

Final note: There is no law which says that real estate agents must get paid 5% commission. The market rules.

No comments: