If you’re interested in buying a property in Alicante, Benidorm, Torrevieja, or any other location within the Community of Valencia on Spain’s east coast, then there is great news. A new law has passed in the region, requiring Spanish estate agents to become officially registered in order to continue selling and renting houses. Valencia estate agents now have to fulfil several criteria proving they are suitably qualified and insured in order to join the register. This long awaited regulation of the industry brings the region in line with other European countries, as well as many other regions within Spain.
Prospective buyers and renters of property in the Valencian region, which includes Alicante, and Castellón, can rejoice at this news. The register allows customers to easily identify a reputable agency, and the sanctions for non-registered estate agents will prevent any exploitative and dishonest companies operating in the area. This ends a period of over 20 years, where the region did not offer any form of Spanish estate agents regulation, or require any licence or accreditation in order to sell properties.
At Movehappy, we are delighted with this news, and fully support the legislation. Joining the register ensures our clients and customers can be confident in Movehappy’s ability to continue providing a transparent and reliable service from our experienced professionals.
The legislation was introduced in October 2022, and gives Valencia estate agents a year to join the register. We are delighted that we have completed the required courses and exams, and are officially API Certified – API Member Number 593! If you want to know the exact details of the legislation, we have provided an overview in this article.
What is the Official Legislation?
The register for Valencia estate agents was introduced by Decree 98/2022 of July 29th 2022. The law came into practice on the 16th October 2022, and real estate companies must fulfil all the requirements and join the register within a year of this date. The official legislation can be found here. We have taken the key points from the official decree and summarised the important information, detailing what this means for those looking at property for sale in Valencia, Spain and what we are doing at Movehappy to ensure we comply.
Why is the Law Needed?
Unlike many other European countries, to operate as a real estate agent in Spain did not require any official accreditation. Spanish estate agents were not required to prove any qualifications or insurance that covers their clients and operations. While most Spanish estate agents offered a competent and trustworthy service, the lack of regulation left those looking to purchase or rent property in Spain at risk of exploitation by cowboy agents.
This also damaged the reputation of the legitimate companies operating in Spain. As a result, many Spanish regions began introducing their own legislation to register the estate agents in their area, including Madrid, Murcia and Andalucía. The region of Valencia is now following suit and forming its own register of Spanish estate agents, ensuring property for sale in Valencia, Spain are only sold by compliant companies with certified agents.
Introducing laws that require Spanish estate agents to prove they are suitably qualified, as well as fulfilling other criteria that demonstrates they are able to provide a legitimate service, enables those seeking properties in the region to be confident in the company they are using. This regulation simultaneously increases the capability of trustworthy companies and drives the illicit people out of the industry. Compliant companies will join a public register, and receive official accreditation, enabling customers to easily find a reputable business.
What are the Requirements for Valencia Estate Agents?
In order to join the register of estate agents in the Valencia region, agents must be able to provide evidence that they meet a number of criteria relating to their qualifications and their business. The criteria can be split into three categories, covering the location of their business, the level of insurance and the qualification of the estate agents.
In short, Valencia estate agents must operate from a fixed address, from which customers can direct their correspondence, must have officially qualified professionals and have insurance that protects clients financially. We’ve explained the exact details here, and quoted the relevant articles of Decree 98/2022, should you want to read the official legislation.
- Address (Article 3a, Location and care requirements)
The Valencia estate agents must have an address to an office or a commercial premises that is open to the public within the Valencia region. By providing an address, this provides customers with a physical location to direct communications and any complaints.
There are exceptions to this. If the agents operate exclusively by telephone/online, then instead the company needs a physical permanent address within the Valencia region. If the estate agent is based outside the Valencia region, then they do not need to register in order to continue selling property in the area.
- Sufficiently Qualified Estate Agents (Article 3b, Professional training requirements)
The individuals who act as real estate agents require proof of accreditation for professional training in real estate brokerage. This ensures that property for sale in Valencia, Spain is only sold by competent persons with demonstrable knowledge of their trade. To join the register of Valencia estate agents, there are three ways to demonstrate the professional competence of an estate agent:
- Possess the official title of Real Estate Property Agent, issued by the relevant Ministry.
- Hold a certificate of attendance of over 200 hours of academic training in real estate, covering mediation, advice and management services. This can be from in-person or virtual study.
iii. Hold a university degree in subjects belonging to either Social and Legal Sciences, Engineering or Architecture.
The legislation also states that a single trained individual fulfilling the above qualification criteria is required per every three establishments open to the public. Similarly, a purely telematic/online business must have a qualified individual linked to the registered physical address.
- Insurance and Solvency Requirements (Article 3c, Solvency requirements)
Spanish estate agents brokers must be able to demonstrate they have suitable insurance to provide guarantees for their clients and customers. There are two aspects to this requirement:
- Have insurance to cover any instances of estate agents failing to transfer the money they receive from their clients. Agents must be insured to a minimum of €60,000 per year and per establishment open to the public, or per agent. If a solely telematics/online company, this is instead a minimum of €300,000 per agent per year.
- Have liability insurance, or a similar financial guarantee, that protects against any cases of professional negligence. This insurance must be valid across the whole of the European Union. The value of insurance must be a minimum of €600,000 per claim, or if solely telematics/online, €1,000,000 per claim.
All agents must be able to provide the details of these insurances or guarantees by their policy numbers and the financial institutions providing the cover.
What This Means for Customers Interested in Property for Sale in Valencia, Spain
Put simply, the law introduces protection and guarantees for those interested in purchasing properties in Valencia. It also makes rogue Spanish estate agents liable for fines and accountable with a fixed contactable address. The significant level of training and commitment required of Spanish estate agents to complete the qualifications should also mean any untrustworthy and exploitative real estate companies will cease their operations.
How to Join and View the Register?
Registration can be performed individually or collectively through a regulated professional association, with applications demonstrating the conditions are fulfilled (Article 6). Agents are personally checked, as is the documentation provided.
Once granted, registration lasts indefinitely after accreditation, should the conditions be abided (Article 7).
The register of Spanish estate agents is free and publicly owned, and accessible from the institutional website of the Valencian community.
What we at Movehappy Think!
Here at Movehappy, we are embracing the new law and believe it is a long-needed step in the right direction for property sellers in the region. Buying property in Spain can be intimidating, which is why we work hard on building trusting relationships with our clients, and utilise our years of real estate experience in the area to help find your dream home. Achieving registered status will help assure our customers that we are experienced and qualified professionals.
As soon as possible after the legislation was introduced, we began the process of registration and are proud to anounce we are officially API certified – API Member Number 593.
Check out our website to view property for sale in Valencia, Spain.