Selling a house without paying a commission, where’s the trick?



With the recent and growing offer of online real estate agencies, which promote themselves with the striking slogan of “NO COMMISSIONS”, there are many owners looking to sell their property, who are confused and even deceived, when they try to find more information about different agencies.

We have interviewed Raul Alvarez, the Commercial Director of Bcn Advisors, one of Barcelona’s leading luxury real estate agencies, in order to get some answers to the questions about all the sales channels that exist on the market today.


Good afternoon, Raul, why pay a commission when one can sell avoiding paying such a high percentage to the agency?

In the end the owners who are selling their properties, pay for the added value that is offered by an experienced company. They can count on an advisory service at all times, the wide portfolio of clients and expert agents that filter unreliable clients when showing the property, without disturbing the owner. It does not matter if the sale process lasts one month or six, the agency takes care of everything and this gives a peace of mind and freedom to the seller client.

Regarding the fees, it is clear that with a luxury agency one pays a higher commission for their access to sales channels and clients from all over the world that others do not offer, so the property is sold in a shorter time and at a higher price. Although the commission is higher, the amount that the owner takes is equal or even higher. It is also more likely that the property would sell for its market price and not below, which is usually the case when a property has been on the market for a long time and has to drop the price.

Would you rather sell a property for €500,000 with a commission of €15,000 (where the owner gets € 485,000 net) or sell it for € 450,000 paying a commission of € 4,000 (with a net gain of € 446,000 for the owner)? Many property sellers look only at the fees they are going to pay, forgetting the overall sale price. In this case cheap is expensive…

What they offer is attractive, according to these companies their experience in online marketing is much greater than that of traditional companies …

Nowadays any leading company, whether it is online or offline has to master the online marketing, otherwise it dies… I do not think it has to do strictly with online marketing.

In fact, I believe that those who have been in the market longer have a much more extensive experience working with digital media to promote real estate, although they may not be a purely online company. It is not a matter of having experience in online marketing, but in online REAL ESTATE marketing, which is not the case with many new agencies.

How do you compete with arguments like “sell your house in 60 days without commissions”, or “sell your house for € 4,000”?

Our best and most convincing argument will always be the fact that we take the time to guide our clients through the sales process step by step while being transparent all along the way. These headlines are very attractive, no doubt, but when you enter into all the details, there is no comparison about what each company can offer its clients.

We collaborate with all kinds of partners which include law firms, banks and hotels that connect us with potential buyers from all over the world. In addition, each property is a world of its own, and it is impossible to properly assess it without human input based on extensive experience. We know that online agencies make the valuations based on the average prices by districts, which result in premium products in a certain area being undervalued while those that are below average are overvalued – the result is that the properties become overexposed for a long time without selling, wasting the seller’s time.

Let’s say I decide to sell a property with an agency like Bcn Advisors, why would I want to give them an exclusive selling mandate, instead of being able to market it with many agencies, and thus increasing the chances to sell it in less time?

The fact that there is only one advertisement for a certain property in each portal gives it much more distinguished and exclusive image, as well as the fact that we eliminate the possibility of confusing the potential buyer by different and sometimes contradicting information that is posted when several agencies are involved. If there is only one advertisement there is only one source of information and that gives the property a more serious image. It also allows us to have absolute control of the commercialization of the property, of the requests that are being received, of the showings that are made, and thus to choose the adequate strategy according to the evolution of the operation.

For properties that are managed exclusively, a virtual visit is also made – this is a video that we send to potential buyers who are outside of Barcelona and cannot visit the apartment in person.

The exclusive right for the sale of the property allows us to make a much higher investment in marketing efforts compared to the other properties which are managed by several agencies. In a way it turns out into a sort of a lottery of who ends up selling it faster, so in this case we believe that less is more.

Also our company always exercises an open exclusive contract, where we are willing to share our fees with other intermediaries who bring the buyer.

And of course we didn’t mention the convenience of dealing with a single agent, who will represent you as the owner and your property.