There are a number of unscrupulous property companies or individuals setting up along the Algarve and calling themselves “Advertisers”. These people are not registered estate agents in Portugal and are not legally allowed to sell properties.
The most worrying thing about these companies is that they seem to charge a different price to that offered by the actual local agents. In some cases they are adding thousands of euros to the cost of a home as their commission.
The other issue with this sort of unregulated company is that, if you go to them for advice on the purchase procedure in Portugal, you have no way of knowing that what they say is going to be correct. With no regulation and perhaps no experience at all you really could regret ever coming across this sort of organisation.
So how do you avoid these cowboys? First of all you could register with a number of estate agents. These are all regulated. The problem with this of course is that it is time consuming. Additionally do not forget that the estate agent is always acting on behalf of the vendor. The vendor is their client.
The other solution is to consider a genuine property broking service. Property brokers are not the same as the advertisers mentioned above. Property brokers work exclusively for the buyer. Their job is to get the best possible deal for the purchaser and carry out a lot of the leg work in finding a property. A genuine property broker will not charge the buyer commission and will in fact be trying to reduce the price that will be paid. The broker is paid by the actual selling agent, in other words a share of the money that is already in the sale price and which you as a purchaser will be paying anyway.
It really does make sense to consider using a broker. It will not cost you a penny more than you would have paid anyway and, instead of all the money going to the selling agent, it is funding someone to look after your interests as a buyer.
Another great advantage of a property broker is that they will have access to most, if not all, of the market. This means that they have no vested interest in pushing any particular property, unlike an estate agent. If the potential buyer does not like what one agent is offering the broker simply goes to the next. For the purchaser it means one point of contact instead of registering with numerous agents.
There are a number of reputable brokers in the Algarve and the good ones generally cover quite specific areas. It is difficult for a broker to genuinely have the local knowledge required by clients if they try and cover too large an area.