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Costa del Sol Real Estate Websites... or Tricks of the Trade 1

Author:   |  September 24th, 2011

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Instant Estate AgencyCan you believe what a Costa del Sol real estate agent’s website tells you or offers you?

A bit of background first

About six or seven years ago, around 100 or so agents with offices on the Costa del Sol became used to sharing a single software platform, that then allowed them all to display not only their own properties on their websites, but those of the 100 other agents on that same platform.

The result…

All well and good we thought. Very helpful, everyone believed, as agents often shared their clients between each other in the typical USA broker and European Agent way, thus also sharing their commission. Everyone benefited from the developing Internet phenomenon at the time.

Today it’s quite a bit different …

90% of so-called Agents no longer even have offices so it seems. But they do have quite good-looking websites, sometimes really terrific ones, but the stark reality is that their office is actually a corner of their living room or a desk in the back bedroom of their Costa apartment.

I don’t have a problem with that per se. Well, yes, actually I suppose I do…

I think if you’re representing people who are buying or selling a property, you should at least have an office, no?

You are being conned…

What I do have a problem with is the literally 1,000s of these sites that are now all over Google, including all manner of single landing pages that are also there simply to capture a client’s data.

Believe me, I have been around long enough to know that there is such a gross level of misrepresentation and incredible chicanery, outright and outrageous lies that are on a scale so massive that it literally beggar’s belief.

Instant agency…

Basically, in a single morning, someone with a bit of nous can set you – or anyone else up – as an ‘agent’ with a simple real estate template from WordPress that makes the individual look and appear a responsible, respectable, full-blown real estate agency.

Google Pay Per Click

Here’s how it works. Set yourself up a single landing page, then let’s say offer a supposed brochure or catalogue or PDF of information. Pay Google to put you up under search terms like ‘buying a property on the Costa del Sol’ and you’ll get hits that you pay for only when they come in and those enquiries are instantly coming through because you set yourself up with a €100 website.

Pay a bit more money and you’ll get a link to the shared listings of the Coast’s real, real estate agents, and bingo… you’re  now an agency with 1,000s of resale listings, you have some clients to talk to, and well, go ahead, you can fill your site with whatever waffle you fancy, such as…

Twenty Years’ Experience

Yep, that’s a popular one. ‘Twenty years’ background on the Coast’ say most sites, given that their parents first brought them here on holiday when they were, let’s say, 10 years old. The fact that they only moved here two months ago isn’t really the point, is it?

Oh, and there is so much waffle to get through that a lot of people don’t bother to check or look further, just taking whatever they see on the Internet at face value and not questioning thoroughly the premise of what is presented to them.

Don’t stop at the Homepage or Property Search

For goodness sake, if you are going to make an investment or purchase a property on our beautiful Coast, do check through all these websites, and take the time to read the ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ pages.

See if what is there really stacks up. See if you can find out who you’ll be dealing with and where they’re located. Check it out. Does it honestly look like a real company?  The Costa del Sol has some of the most highly skilled ‘waffle merchants’ in the world, I’d say, and that’s after having worked across the Middle and Far East myself, and with a huge number of people from around the world in my time.

For goodness sake…

There are not 100 good estate agents left on the Costa del Sol anymore, far fewer than that I would say. There are enough outside of VIVA, however – so that if we don’t take your fancy, or you want a second option – for you to find another real estate agent. But beware…

It’s true that gone are the days of the Bar Fly who would sidle up to you in a bar, if he overheard you talking about wanting to buy a property. But today there is the far worse, more dangerous, know it all, inside track merchant, just waiting to whisper about that golden deal that only he knows of. He is on the web.

Nowadays there are some pretty pug ugly looking spiders lurking all over the web, just looking to capture your email address, then sell it to other agents over and over again as a new lead, or to then present themselves to you in such a way that you will be completely misled from the outset about who they are, what they do and what they can offer.

Just take care…

Everything is not what it seems. Please, please, as you trawl from one website to another, take a good look at what you see, then when you are eventually in touch with an agent, ask some basic and consistent questions.

Know exactly who you are dealing with. Don’t be sold on the initial appearance of a website, or simply the fact of its existence. Make sure you question and think through who you are actually dealing with here, and see if what is presented goes more than gossamer deep.

If you can’t judge a book by its cover, be very, very wary of judging an agent solely on that first glance smartish-looking site. Go a bit further, in fact – go a whole lot further.

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