From 1,600 euros to 30,000: How much does it cost to sell a 500,000-euro apartment in Madrid? | Economy

The real estate market continues to accelerate its sales record after the stoppage of the pandemic, confident that it still has a long way to go before repeating the overheating of the real estate boom of 2007. Demand is skyrocketing in the face of an increasingly scarce housing stock . In cities like Madrid, supply has fallen by 10% in the first quarter of 2022 alone, while demand has risen by 17.4%.

In the midst of the effervescence, homeowners for sale are torn between entrusting their apartment to one of the hundred existing real estate agencies, whose commissions can reach up to 6% of the value of the sale; Let yourself be seduced by the new online real estate formats, which offer flat rates, or venture without intermediaries and take care of the sale of your flat on your own, in the hope of reducing the costs of the operation as much as possible. But,how much does it really cost to sell a flat As an individual, through an online real estate agency or a traditional one?

Sale as an individual: up to 1,600 euros

During the last two decades, newspaper classifieds have been strongly displaced by online real estate portals to advertise the sale of a flat. The three largest in Spain and regularly used by real estate agencies —Idealista, Fotocasa and— give individuals the option to publish at least one property for free, which is followed by a list of premium tools to “improve the sale”.

Idealista, the largest virtual showcase of the real estate sector in Spain with an average of 47 million monthly visits, offers the first two ads free of charge, both for the sale and rental of flats, chalets, garages, plots or premises for 180 days. However, if it is a duplicate property —that is, it is advertised by the owner and by a real estate agency at the same time— the platform does charge for the publication and the cost can amount to 210 euros for an active ad for three months. Nor is it free in cases where the value of the property exceeds one million euros.

The scenario is repeated in the other two real estate portals, Fotocasa and, with an average of 13 million and almost six million monthly visits, respectively. In the case of the first, individuals can publish up to six ads for free as long as they are of different types; that is, you could only have a free ad for a home. From the second, the portal charges 19.95 euros.

To boost ad views, the platforms offer paid features such as highlighting posts or moving up the list for 30 days, the prices of which vary between 9.90 euros and 119.5 euros. According to Idealista, a flat in Madrid is sold in a maximum of four and a half months; although the average is three months. So, according to this calculation, contracting services to ensure the preferential position on the platforms for a minimum period of one quarter would cost up to 539.7 euros.

Once maximum visibility of their home is assured on these platforms, if the owner wants to get an audiovisual report of their flat to ensure better performance of their online exposure, they would pay €567.9 for a package that includes a professional video, a photographic book made up of 15 photos, a plan of the house and a 360 video —to offer the interactive experience of a virtual tour—, in accordance with the services offered directly by Idealista.

The owner will also have to consider the management costs of some of the mandatory documents for the sale of the apartment, such as the energy certificate, the cost of which varies between 80 and 90 euros. In addition, Idealista offers the possibility of contracting a legal analysis that includes the simple note, the cadastral record and an estimate of the recommended sale price, for 69.95 euros.

In this scenario, if an individual decides to advertise their home on the three large real estate portals, hire an audiovisual report and ensure that all the documents necessary for the operation are in order, they could sell their apartment for around 1,600 euros, considering an average time of sale of up to three months.

Sale with a proptech: from 1,000 euros

The youngest face of the real estate sector is led by proptech: online real estate agencies that have the option of selling homes between individuals, charging flat rates from 1,000 euros. What does this amount include? Publish the ad on the main real estate portals (Idealista, Fotocasa,, Habitaclia) as well as on the company’s own website. Some, like Housfy, reach an online traffic of more than 800,000 monthly visits.

In these fees, they also include the photographic report, the valuation of the property, the accompaniment in each one of the steps of the sale (negotiation of the sale price, reservation, deposit contract and final signature) managing the necessary documents for the operation : simple note, energy certificate, deposit, etc. For those owners who want to sell but who do not have the availability to carry out the visits and prefer to delegate them, these companies offer the property visitor service for a separate cost.

The rates vary between each company and in many cases also depend on the price of the flat. In this sense, although most advertise with a flat rate, this usually corresponds to the lower range of the price range they manage. For example, a flat of 500,000 euros would be managed by Housfy for about €8,990 —including the real estate visitor service—; while his closest rival, Housell, calculates a fee of up to 10,000 euros for the same case. Both proptech handle base prices of 1,890 euros and 995 euros, respectively.

The growth of this real estate format has been meteoric. According to data from the market study published by Housell in mid-2021, 79% of Spaniards prefer to sell a home digitally or by telephone. But, in addition to the technological appeal, in this new intermediation format, the agencies burst in with two promises: no commissions on the sale price and no exclusivity, although in any case they do recommend this option —or not deliver the home to more than two intermediaries—to avoid “burning the property”.

In this context, online real estate agencies claim to be able to finalize the sale of the apartment within a period of between 45 and 60 days while calculating savings of up to 20,000 euros (in the case of a floor of 500,000 euros) by opting for proptech compared to commissions above 4% of traditional real estate agencies.

Sale with a traditional real estate agency: between 10,000 and 30,000 euros

Traditional real estate companies maintain an advantage over the previous options: their own portfolio of investors. But access to this attribute also implies a higher cost for the seller. Average real estate agency fees vary between 2.5% and 6% of the sale price of the apartment, according to more than 15 agencies contacted in Madrid by CincoDías. Thus, in the case of a property of 500,000 euros, the fees would range between 10,000 and 30,000 euros.

This cost, as in the online format, includes everything from the appraisal and publication of the apartment in the main real estate portals to the closing of the operation in a notary’s office. Most of the agencies demand exclusivity over the sale of the property, although later there is the possibility of working together with the rest of the real estate consultants with which they share operations; that is, they could divide the commission charged to the seller, in exchange for having a greater scope in the promotion of housing among the investor portfolios of different real estate companies.

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