Spanish Property : The Business
A few years ago there was a Spanish law, which made it illegal for anyone to sell Spanish property or real estate unless he or she had an official Real Estate agents title and belonged to the association of real estate agents in Spain.
Titles were difficult to come by, only university graduates who had taken a formal course, or other professional people such as lawyers or architects were able to join this elite body of accredited specialists. All of who have had to pass an exam in order to receive their diploma.
These proud professional people are known as API’s. The API logo is displayed on the Agents office sign, on his stationary and also on his website. (API = Agente de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria)
A decade or so ago another breed of Property agents appeared on the scene, these were known as GIPE’s. (GIPE = Gestoria Inmobiliaria Propiedad España) Would be property dealers who attended a short but comprehensive private diploma course in the Costa del Sol.
Having successfully passed the final exam they were presented with a certificate entitling them to enter the real estate business, or so they thought at the time.
Having monopolised the Spanish property business for many, many years they were not going to give in easily, nor were they prepared to allow anyone to infiltrate into their hitherto private club. So armed with their Law Books they declared war on the GIPE’s.
It was a long and bitter war, most of the GIPE’s offices were closed down by the courts and quite a few individuals went to jail for contravening these long standing laws restricting anyone other than API’s from selling property in Spain.
Spanish Property Market Today
Years passed and Spain gradually became fully integrated into the European community. As more and more foreigners arrived from other parts of Europe pressure was brought to bear in the European courts until eventually a few years ago the law was abolished.
Now as a result of this change, things went from the sublime to the ridiculous and today anyone can be an estate agent, no university degree, and no training, in fact “no previous experience necessary”!
There are now literally thousands of estate agents, many with dubious reputations, many honest and responsible, all trying to corner their own little slice of the market.