Real Estate Practices Around the World

Real estate practices vary from country to country. It is important to be educated in the practices in those countries so you can best prepare your clients for the process. As always, when conducting real estate business in another country, make sure you are connected to the association and/or agents in that country to be sure you aren't violating any laws or regulations. Often, a co-marketing or co-brokering relationship is best. 

For general guidelines on practices in countries around the world as provided by our Cooperating Association partners, please select a country below. 

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Andorra

Information provided by Agents i Gestors Immobiliaris d'Andorra (AGIA)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

No.

What is the home ownership rate?

There is no official data at this time, however it will be provided soon.

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

No there is not. Agents can represent both.

Who pays the commission fees?

Seller.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Yes. The license is provided by the government. You must pass an exam. And we do have a law that all agents must follow.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

No.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

We work with foreign portals. In Andorra there is one small site: pisos.ad

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

The commission is 5%. And we do split 50% when there are two agents involved in the business.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

In Andorra, once both parts are in agreement, we do sign a contract before going to the Notary to pass the title of the property.

In Andorra you can be agent for both parts. In that case you do not split. If there are two agents involved, we do split the 5% at 50% for each agent.

Argentina

Provided by RE/MAX ARGENTINA S.R.L (RE/MAX Argentina)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No, we don´t have any restrictions on property or land ownership. However, we have special taxes for people who have more than one property.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

Yes, we have one specific restriction (national law no° 26.737) related to rural big areas. The law restricts the ownership for foreigners to a maximum of 15% of the Argentinian territory. The same limitation applies for any city, province or town (15% of total the land). It also determines the importance of lands with large amounts of water, prohibiting foreign property on such land.

What is the home ownership rate?

According to the last national census (2001-2010), the home ownership rate has decreased from 71% to 69%. There’s no further data because our next census will be on 2020 (2011-2020 data).

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

No, there is no exclusive representation. In our country we can either represent the buyer or/and the seller.

Who pays the commission fees?

The law allows any party to pay the commission fees. There are restrictions on commission fees regarding percentage amount. All provinces may set their own law establishing the commissions percentage limits.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/continuing education requirements?

Yes, there are some licensing laws regulation. The National Civil and Commercial Code regulates the activity (arts. 1345 to 1355). Besides, National Law No. 20.266 regulates the industry. Finally, each province has its own specific regulation. There are no renewal/continuing education requirements.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

No, there isn't.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

We have three main portals: www.mercadolibre.com.ar, www.zonaprop.com and www.argenprop.com.

Do you pay referral fees? If so what percentage of your commission do you pay?

There is no regulation on referral fees. Parties can pay a referral fee if it has been previously agreed.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

The buying process begins with the payment of a small amount of money that corresponds to the offer of one property. The seller can either accept or decline the offer. Once the offer is accepted, there are two options.

The first option is to make a bill of sale that will generally consist on the payment of a 30-40% of the total amount of the property. In this case, the property is not turned over. The property will be finally turned over when the 100% of the price is paid and the public deed of sale is signed.

The second option is to make directly the public deed (no bill of sale). In this case, the next step from the offer will be directly the payment of the total price. With this payment, the public deed is made and the ownership is transferred, simultaneously.

There’s no title insurance in Argentina.

Commissions are paid to both sides. The regulation allows one agent to represent buyer and the seller at the same time.

Australia

Provided by Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

Yes.

What is the home ownership rate?

From Census data: approximately one-third rent; one- third own their home outright; one-third are buying (i.e., have a mortgage). In recent years there has been a slight increase in the proportion renting as affordability declines. This is expected to continue particularly for ages 35 and under.

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Seller.

Who pays the commission fees?

Seller.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Yes. Each of the 8 states and territories has differing requirements. Some have CPD others don’t.
 

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?  

No.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

www.domain.com.au and www.realestate.com.au.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

On occasions. No fixed level.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, are there property closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

Contracts are normally formally exchanged between the potential buyer and the seller at the time the deposit is paid. In most cases, the solicitor or conveyancer representing each side does the exchanging.

Once this has occurred, borrowers are legally bound to proceed with the purchase of the property, unless a special condition is breached that is listed in the terms and conditions of the contract. While private treaty sales allow a cooling-off period in which buyers can conduct inspections, auctions don't usually allow for a cooling off period.

You also need to arrange conveyancing, for the transfer of property title from one person to another. For the next six weeks, sometimes less and sometimes more, your conveyancer or lawyer will make enquiries about the property. Survey and drainage diagrams will be examined, government departments will be written to, heritage orders will be inspected and council checks will be performed.

At settlement your representative meets with the vendor to swap your cheque with their title of ownership – more and more in Australia at least part of this process is done electronically.

Government departments need to be notified of the change in ownership, and this is typically taken care of by your solicitor or conveyancer. Title is generally freehold with the two territories – Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory having leasehold but in practice the same.

Additional Information:

The Australian Economy

  • During 2017 and 2018, the recovery of the global economy continued, albeit at a below trend slower-than-expected rate with growth in the economies of Australia’s major trading partners being below their historical average. The rate of quarterly growth in Australian gross domestic product has begun to taper off. Falling home construction is a contributor to the outcome.
  • Whilst the economic circumstances are showing signs of improvement and unemployment has showing modest improvement, wages growth is low and business and consumer confidence are still low despite four years of record low interest rates.
  • Dwelling investment supported by historically low interest rates has been a significant contributor to growth in the Australian economy since 2013/14. Australia’s property industry has been a main driver of economic growth and increased employment in the transition away from a decade-long reliance on mining. Providing a stimulus to economic activity outside the mining sector, including the housing and building sectors, was amongst the main reasons for the RBA to keep the official cash rate at record low levels since August 2013.
  • New home building has been a crucial support to economic growth over the past three years. The challenge during 2018/19 will be to manage the transition to lower volumes of new home building.
  • Our central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia has noted that “conditions in the global economy had improved and that the outlook had also been upgraded.” This improvement had been supported by expansionary financial conditions, notwithstanding some withdrawal of monetary stimulus in a number of economies. In the major advanced economies, labour market conditions had continued to tighten, but wage growth and core inflation had remained low.
  • A surprise fall in business investment over the June quarter will most likely impact economic growth. Total spending on buildings and machinery unexpectedly dropped 2.5 per cent in the three months through June, after increasing 1.2 per cent in the March quarter.
  • The drought Australia is experiencing will also impact on GDP growth with lower export earnings ironically when the $A is falling which would have provided greater earnings.
  • In recent weeks, perhaps in part contributed to leadership battles within our Government, there are signs that spending growth may be faltering. Retail spending growth stalled in July, an unexpectedly weak outcome that suggests consumers may have become less willing to open their wallets amid falling house prices and weak wages growth.

Australian Residential Real Estate Market

  • In terms of the real estate market, the heat has definitely come out of it in the last 12 months.
  • Recent data shows that dwelling values across the eight capital cities fell for the 11th consecutive month.
  • The price movements are not unexpectedly not uniform. There are geographical differences as well as differences between units and houses.
  • The weighted average capital city median house price decreased to $765,098, a decrease of 0.8% over the June quarter and a decrease of 0.4% over the past twelve months. Over the June quarter, median house prices decreased in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra and Darwin but increased in Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart.
  • Detailed data by capital cities using REIA data for the June quarter:
    • Houses
      • Hobart 2.8% to $506,000
      • Brisbane 1.0% to $525,000
      • Adelaide 0.3% to $471,000
      • Melbourne -0.6% to $840,000
      • Darwin -1.0% to $500,000
      • Sydney -1.4% to $1,144,217
      • Perth -1.9% to $505,000
      • Canberra -5.0% to $627,000
    • Units
      • Darwin 9.9% to $382,000
      • Hobart 5.9% to $368,525
      • Brisbane 1.3% to $405,000
      • Melbourne 0.5% to $604,000
      • Sydney -0.5% to $737,080
      • Canberra -1.1% to $435,250
      • Perth -1.3% to $395,000
      • Adelaide -3.0% to $354,167
  • Apartment prices could fall harder than house values this year, dropping by a further 8 per cent in Melbourne, and 4 per cent in Sydney, according to some forecasts. Units look much more vulnerable than single dwellings, with Melbourne appearing to be the most exposed of the eight capital cities. Using sales-to-new-listings ratio as a broad gauge of the balance between demand and supply, with more homes currently being listed each month than being sold, this ratio is consistent with house price inflation falling below zero in the next six months. Using this predictor confirms that the high number of units being listed for sale relative to the number being sold each month points to apartment prices falling more than for single dwellings.
  • Whilst some continuing decline in house prices can be expected there is not a risk of “the balloon popping” as some have speculated. As mentioned earlier home buyers will pull back on other spending. Which is a risk to the Australian economy.

Austria

Provided by Österreichischer Verband der Immobilientreuhänder (OVI)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens?

Yes, in most of our provinces there are regional restrictions regarding the transfer of agricultural land and forests as well as the acquisition of secondary (holiday) residences.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

Acquisitions by “foreign nationals”, i.e. nationals of non-EU and non-EEA states are contingent upon approval by the Land Transfer Authority.

What is the home ownership rate?

According to eurostat:

  • 55 % owners, 45% tenants
  • The home ownership rate in Vienna is only about 20%; in rural districts of some provinces it rises to more than 80%.

Is there exclusive representation in Austria? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Usually there is no single agency in Austria. The real estate agents represent both the seller and buyer.

Who pays the commission fees?

Each of the parties - the seller and the buyer - pays up to 3 percent of the sales price.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

The legal framework for acting as real estate agent is the so-called “Gewerbeordnung”. Continuing education is not yet required by law, but all members of our Association OVI have to show 8 hours of continuing education per year and employee.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site?

MLS systems are actually being developed.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

Local portals connected with mass medias in the various provinces show the highest market share:

Further portals:

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Referrals are paid up to 10% of the commission of one party.

Overview: Real Estate Transaction Process

A purchase agreement is concluded by acceptance of a proposal (offer). This means that a prospective buyer who has submitted a signed purchase proposal may be sued by the seller (once the seller has accepted it), if he/she consequently fails to fulfill it. Thus, a signed proposal has a binding effect on the signatories, and withdrawal is normally not possible. There are generally no particular formal requirements, i.e. a purchase contract may be concluded in writing, orally, or in some instances even by non-verbal conduct ('implied in fact').

This principle also applies to purchase agreements in relation to property.; However, inscription in the land register requires a written purchase agreement. Thus, also an oral purchase agreement requires an ex-post deed, set up by a lawyer or notary. This deed must be notarized in order to be recorded in the land register. A notary’s deed is also required for purchase agreements between spouses, regardless of whether they are for an entire property, or only for parts thereof.

After agreement on the object and the price under the law of obligations has been reached between the seller and the buyer (i.e., the purchase agreement), the legal hand-over is required. This is effected by inscription in the (electronic) land register, which is maintained by the district courts and where all rights in rem concerning the property are recorded.

The land register is a public register to which brokers, lawyers and notaries generally have full on-line access, and from which they can retrieve all relevant data for their clients. The lawyer who drew up the agreement acts as a trustee for the contractual document (as qualification for inscription) and the purchase price.

Further documents, deeds or permits may be required in addition. In the event that the property is released from encumbrances (mortgage), the trustee has to transfer the respective amount to the bank. The (remaining) purchase price is paid to the seller once the inscription of ownership is secured in the land register.

The potential transaction costs for the buyer include the following:

  • 3.5 % land transfer tax (reduction or exemption possible in certain cases)
  • 1.1 % land register fee
  • Costs for drawing up the agreement and effecting the inscription in the land register (according to the Compensation Scheme for Lawyers)
  • Costs of proceedings by the Land Transfer Authority and related administrative costs
  • Potential communal costs for access to the property and its connection to utilities (power, gas, water, sewer)
  • Up to 3% brokerage fee (for properties exceeding a value of EUR 48,448.51)/li>

Additional Information:

Prior to concluding an agency agreement with the client (in the case of a “Consumer”), the agent has to hand over to the client – with the diligence of a proper real estate professional – a written statement indicating that it will act as an agent, and a list of all expected costs arising from the conclusion of the requested business transaction, including the agent’s commission. The amount of the commission must be stated separately; the agent must also inform that client of any economic or private relationship for the purpose of Sec. 6(4) third sentence of MaklerG (Real Estate Agency Act). When the agent – according to common business practice – can act as dual agent, the statement must bear explicit reference to this fact.  In the event of any substantial change in circumstances, the agent must rectify the above documents accordingly. If the agent fails to fulfill this obligation before the client agrees to the brokered transaction, Sec. 3(4) MaklerG shall apply.

The real estate agent has to provide the client with the required information (pursuant to Sec. 3 MaklerG) in writing. The information must in any case include all circumstances which are essential to assess the business transaction to be brokered.

NOTE: Based on current business practice, real estate agents may also act as dual agents without the client’s explicit approval.  In the event that the agent is instructed to act solely for one party in the transaction, the other party shall be informed by the agent.

Brazil

Provided by COFECI
Published and accurate as of 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens?

There are no objective restrictions for Brazilian citizens.
 

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

When it comes from rural property, there are some limitations to buying and leasing, but there is no prohibition. Properties in border strip, depending on the destination, are forbidden to foreigners. Some marine sites also have restrictions or conditions for foreign acquirer.
 

What is the home ownership rate?

According to the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) that performs the PNAD (National Survey by Household Sample), there are a total of 60 million houses in the country, which represents 88% of the total domicile in 2015.

Of the 60 million houses, 16% are rented, 7.5% are assigned, 76.2% are owned and 0.3% are in other conditions of occupation.

Is there exclusive representation in Brazil? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Yes, there is the possibility of acting exclusively in the representation of an owner, but its use is limited, being restricted to the custom of some cities in the country. The exclusive representation of the buyer is even more incipient, we do not have this tradition.

Who pays the commission fees?

Usually the owners.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Yes. The broker has a specific law (6766) that gives the general standards of performance. The license is granted by a Federal Autarchy (CRECI), which has headquarters in the main cities and establishes, through Resolutions, the main working guidelines. The academic requirement is to have a full second degree and a short specific course, which lasts around 2 to 3 months and a professional internship, assisted by an accredited broker.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site?

There is no MLS administered by entities. But there are several real estate portals from private companies.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

ZAP-VIVA REAL

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

In case of referral the commission is shared half-way.

Overview: Real Estate Transaction Process

The properties are offered by a real estate agency and brokers by newspaper ads, websites, signs in the property and other ways of exposing the property.

The property is always delivered when seller and buyer sign the deed of sale and purchase as long as there is no real estate financing involved.

When there is real estate financing, usually the property is delivered to the buyer after the registration of the financing agreement and released the resources of the financing to the seller.

The commission for intermediation (6% of the value of the property) in the country is always the responsibility of the seller of the property.

Is there any other information the world should know about this real estate market?

It has enormous potential, either because of the housing deficit or because of the high number of rented properties.     

Bulgaria

Provided by National Real Estate Association (NREA)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

No. Only for the land - This ownership is allowed only for the citizens of the European Union or through a company registered in Bulgaria.

What is the home ownership rate?

About 85-88 % - actual statistics by Eurostat.

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

The exclusive representation is not well developed as there is no regulation of the business in the country. But it is a practice - it could be from each one party or both of them.

Who pays the commission fees?

In Bulgaria the commission is paid by the seller or the buyer or both parties - no limit, no regulation. If one broker represents both parties he/she is free to charge each of them for commission. If each party is represented from a personal broker, each client pays to his/her representative.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

No regulation, no licensing. There is a state diploma which is not obligatory. The education can be provided by each one registered Educational center, the exams as well. But in the reality only the National Real Estate Association provides exams and serious education. The diploma is for life, as it is not a license.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

In the country there are several mail Real Estate portals - opened for professionals and owners as well / mixed /. There is no limit to publish ads in this portals which create a lot of problems for the professionals and ethical business.

The National Real Estate Association together with a private technology company is working on a project for professional MLS limited only for professionals and portal also limited for professionals, banks, developers and public sales. It is expected to be in action till the end of 2018.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

There is a practice for referrals but it is not common because each party pays a commission in many of the cases. It is more acceptable for collaboration between brokers working in different cities - they pay 20-30% referrals when exchange offers or clients, because it is difficult to manage the process of selling or buying if your business is not based locally.

But for the purpose of MLS the National Real Estate Association is trying to educate brokers and agents to use referrals as a good practice. It is connected as well with some market practice changes as: to educate the clients why the seller shall pay 6% commission instead of the common one of 3% and how to educate the brokers if they get referrals from co-brokers do not get commission from the client.

This process is very difficult because there is no professional regulation and already the market is in some practice. But the advantage of NREA in the last 4 years is high and we believe with the support of NAR and CEPI we will put in some regulation the professional and market relations.

We expect the new technology changes to reflect on the relations between clients and professional and NAR’s support will keep us informed on future trends and how to protect our profession and business.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

In Bulgaria the obligatory document to turn over the ownership is the notarial deed. If the property is acquired by judgement the verdict must be registered in the Notarial service structure / Registry agency. For public sale in case of bad credits or litigation the issued document also must be registered in the Registry Agency.

In Bulgaria there is no title insurance. The notary has a professional insurance.

The commission is paid as referenced above.

Additional information:

The once strong and real professional association in the country is the National Real Estate Association. All the professional members of NREA work under ethical standards which have been updated in 2018. NREA is a member of NAR, CEPI, FIABCI, IESC, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industries and has a close relationship with the Russian Guild of Realtors, АСНУ, Serbian Real Estate Cluster, and others. NREA has 26 years of history, public respect, journalist and institutional support and international positive reputation. Our members growing and we try to educate them in more ethical practice.

China

Provided by CIREA
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

The land is public, the urban land is state-owned. State-owned land can be transferred for a certain number of years to build commercial housing, for example, residential land is 70 years. Citizens can purchase commercial housing, own housing ownership and land use rights, and can be freely transferred. According to the property law, the land use rights of residential land will be automatically renewed after the expiry date. Automatic renewal afterwards. And the land can be expropriated by the government.

According to Article 2, paragraph 3 of the Land Administration Law:  “the state may be expropriated for collective land in accordance with the needs of the public interest”, the ownership status of land ownership cannot be changed.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

The foreigners who work and study in China can purchase self-occupied commercial property, no special restrictions for the property ownership.

What is the home ownership rate?

According to the China 2010 census data, it’s 85.39%

Is there exclusive representation in China? Which party is represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Yes, but very little. Most sellers like to entrust his apartment to several agents in different agency companies, and the only agent who sold the seller’s apartment can get the commission.

Who pays the commission fees?

It’s different in different cities. In most cities, the buyer pays the commission fee. Because the seller has more advantage in the transaction.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

In China, the license of real estate industry mainly includes architects, planners, appraisers and so on, if people doing the work in the field, they must get license first. Brokers or Agents are also national qualifications, but not every city asks each agent to own the qualification, some cities require that each store have one staff member with the qualification.

CIREA is in charge of the national qualification exams for Brokers or Agents, and also for their registration, furthering education. Every 3 years, 120 hours, mainly through the website courses.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site?

We don’t have MLS established by the government or our association in China, some real estate agency companies have the system to share the information between their franchised outlets.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

There are mainly 4 websites as follows:

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

The clients don’t need to pay referral fees, the agents should pay data flow charge to the website.

Overview: Real Estate Transaction Process

The general process of buying and selling houses transaction is as follows:

  1. negotiation
  2. signing a contract
  3. supervision of the money for buying (it’s not required in some cities)
  4. pay the tax
  5. property right transferred registration
  6. property turned over

It’s rare for the property right insurance in China.

The commission is paid to the agency company, in China, the agency company representatives the seller and buyer.

Colombia

Provided by FEDELONJAS
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

For citizens of Colombia, the following restrictions are in place on property and land:

  • Constitutional “Social Function” preeminence of Private Property:
    • The government can use eminent domain to private property owners to replace for a service that fills a social need.
  • Constitutional “Ecological Function” preeminence of Private Property
    • There is high regard when a builder is proposing any type of residential or commercial project to prevent and protect fauna and flora damage.
  • Constitutional protection of indigenous and black traditional “rooted” peoples
    • There is the need to engage in formal previous consultations with tribes and rooted peoples in projects that affect tribal land or sacred places.
  • Land can also be temporarily seized in times of war.
  • Land Development Plan
    • There are regulations based on zoning, land use and restrictions for any type of construction.
  • Easement lien
    • Two types of easements, government related services need, and easement liens.
  • Mortgages
    • Colombian culture is to pay cash to purchase properties although this is changing. More homeowners are getting mortgages to acquire property, but pay them off in less than 10 years. New properties offer 80% loan, used properties 70%.
  • Protection to family housing
  • In Colombia family protection prevails over any type of property foreclosure on the homestead property if there are kids 18 years or less.
  • In Colombia we have one main type of residential governing body which is horizontal property. Individual rights are limited in this commonality.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

  • In Colombia a foreigner has no restrictions when they buy property.
  • The sale proceedings have no additional taxes, are the same as any Colombian citizen.

What is the home ownership rate?

Housing Trends # of Households % of Households
Total 14.100.159 100%
Rural 2.974.127 21.1%
Urban 11.126.391 78.9%
  • Own
4.885.226 43.9% (34.6%)
  • Rentals
4.908.346 44.1% (34,8%)
  • Other type
1.332.819 12.0% (9,5%)

Source: DANE - ENCV 2015. Cálculos: Economía Urbana.

Is there exclusive representation in Colombia? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

In Colombia there is a tradition of having no exclusive representation and a homeowner or seller can engage any number of agents to promote the sale of their property, however, FEDELONJAS implemented in 2018 the official MLS, and is trying to educate agents and local Associations to spread the word and promote the benefit of the MLS, which involve exclusive agent representation and commission sharing.

Generally, seller is the party represented.

Who pays the commission fees?

In general, the commission is paid by seller, but decision about who pays the commission fees is totally contractual.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Nowadays, there are not licensing laws to regulate the real estate industry, except for leasing agents for urban housing. FEDELONJAS is working with the different regions to define a general bill to present to congress and lobby for a real estate´s licensing law. This effort will require cooperation not only from the local associations, but also from NAR and other international allies.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in Colombia?

Yes, Fedelonjas and Realty Server implemented and created the website www.mlsinmobiliario.com.co, in which information is shared between real estate agents and brokers from different cities.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

There are several portals used in Colombia for the purpose of consumer searches, the two most used are www.fincaraiz.com and www.metrocuadrado.com.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes, until 50% of commission for agents in our MLS system. For international agents who refer a client varies from 10 to 25%.

Describe the real estate transaction process in Colombia. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

Colombia uses a registration of deed system. The first step to assure the property title is clean, is to get the property´s record certificate or "Certificado de Tradicion y Libertad," which is a government official document for title. With this information, the contract is negotiated, and the execution of the deed takes place at a Notary Public, which in Colombia are run by attorneys and only authorized for executing property deeds. Closing happens when the deed is recorded in the official property record.

Commissions are paid either at the contract of the Promise to Sell or the property deed, with the initial payment, or can be negotiated by the parties involved.

Additional Information:

The following data should be highlighted:

  • 44% of urban households live in leased housing
  • the average number of people per family is close to 3
  • the number of property purchase transactions is close to 800,000
  • the government offers subsidies for affordable housing programs through projects and is very efficient. These programs work directly with government or a similar figure as Federal Credit Unions regulated for the purpose of these assistance.

Greece

Provided by Hellenic Association of REALTORS® (HAR)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens?

Most properties in Greece have no time limit on the period of ownership («Freehold ownership»). Most parts of the country are officially recorded in the Cadaster.

Properties and building in Greece are designed and built based on the European standards and regulations regarding earthquake-resistant construction.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

The property market in Greece is fairly straightforward. According to the Law, foreigners regardless of nationality, can buy properties in most locations. Property buying restrictions apply only in border areas (East Aegean, Dodecanese Islands, Crete, Rhodes, regions of northern Greece) for citizens of countries outside the European Union who have to apply to the Prefecture Council for a buying and selling license, which is provided after a background security check of the applicant.

As an EU Citizen, in case you wish to purchase property in a border area (East Aegean, Dodecanese Islands, Crete, Rhodes, regions of northern Greece), issuing a temporary residence permit (Blue Card) is required. The application may be submitted by you or an authorized lawyer at the local police station. The Blue Card is a standard procedure for all EU nationals.

As a non-EU Citizen, restrictions apply only in border areas (East Aegean, Dodecanese Islands, Crete, Rhodes, regions of northern Greece), according to Law 1892/1999. To make the purchase, you should contact the local Prefecture Council to issue a purchase permit. Please note that the permit will be issued following a background security check on the applicant. Prerequisites documents to purchase property in border areas for citizens of countries outside the European Union.

*To purchase property in other regions of Greece, you do not need any special permission.

What is the home ownership rate?

Home Ownership Rate in Greece decreased to 73.30 percent in 2017 from 73.90 percent in 2016. Home Ownership Rate in Greece averaged 75.43 percent from 2003 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 77.20 percent in 2010 and a record low of 73.30 percent in 2017.

Source: EUROSTAT

Is there exclusive representation in Greece? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

In Greece there are two types of representation:
A). Exclusive
B). Non-exclusive, more common

*Brokerage firm may represent both parties - Dual Agency (might have two separate agents at the same RE brokerage firm). Not obliged to disclose in writing.

Who pays the commission fees?

Commission is usually payed by both parties on the actual sales value, for purchase 2 – 3% plus 24% VAT or only by seller 4 – 6% plus 24% VAT.

Landlord/Tenant - Commission is usually payed by both parties on the actual value; one month’s rent plus 24% VAT.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Articles 197 – 204 of Law Ν. 4072/2012 (ΦΕΚ Α 86/11.04.2012), and articles 703 - 707 of the Greek Civil Code are the governing regulation for the licensing of Real Estate profession.

Education and exams are not required neither is renewal.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site?

At this time there is no MLS in Greece since most listings are not exclusive. However, HAR members seek to exclusively represent sellers and buyers.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

There are two main property portals in Greece:

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes. Two Brokerages can cooperate bilaterally by signing a Referral Form (referral fee is up to 30%) or Cooperation Agreement (commission split 50% - 50%).

Overview: Real Estate Transaction Process

  1. Transaction Process:
    • Find your property or an investment opportunity
    • Hire a Lawyer
    • Hire an Architect / Civil Engineer
    • Hire a Notary
    • Hire an Accountant
    • Open an account in a Greek bank
    • Pay taxes (Property Transfer Tax)
    • Sign the Initial Agreement-to-Buy and The Property Transfer Contract
    • Land Title Registry, Cadaster and Property Transfer
    • The purchase process is usually completed in 6-8 weeks
  2. The property is turned upon signing The Property Transfer Contract. In Greece there is no Title Insurance, as in the US. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information.
  3. Commission is usually paid by both parties if not agreed differently
  1. For sale on the actual sales value for purchase 2 – 3% plus 24% VAT or only by seller 4 – 6% plus 24% VAT.
  2. Landlord/Tenant - Commission is usually paid by both parties on the actual value; one month’s rent plus 24% VAT.

Purchase Expenses

FMA (Property Transfer Tax) - FMA 3% and is calculated by the notary based on the property value referred to in The Property Transfer Contract, and is paid at the tax office prior to signing The Property Transfer Contract. For newly constructed buildings if the construction permit was issued after 31.12.2005, the FMA is converted to 24% VAT.

  1. Lawyer: The lawyer's fee amounts to 0.5 - 2%, calculated on the property value.
  2. Notary: Notary costs amount to an average rate of 0.65 - 1.2%.
  3. Land Deed Registry: The expenses of Land Deed Registry amounts to 0.475% of The Property Transfer Contract value.

Additional Information:

*From 2013 and 2014 significant foreign investments were realized, due to the attractiveness of Greek asset prices, the willingness of Greece to recover its economy and the Return on Investment potential (Investment Law «Fast»).

http://www.enterprisegreece.gov.gr/default.asp?pid=167&la=1

Incentives for Real Estate investors include the provision of long term Residence permit for investment above a certain threshold which is the second lowest in Europe, (250.000 €, ) more details for Schengen visa on Greek official webpage: http://www.enterprisegreece.gov.gr/files/Pdf/2015/residence_permits_july_2015/Residence_permits_guide_July2015_en.pdf

Hungary

Provided by Hungarian Real Estate Association (MAISZ)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

There are no restrictions in case of real property that does not qualify as agricultural or forestry land.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

The following persons are entitled to obtain the ownership of real property in Hungary with the same conditions as Hungarian citizens or Hungarian legal entities:

  • Citizens, business associations and other organizations (with or without legal personality) of EU member states;
  • Citizens, business associations and other organizations (with or without legal personality) of the members states of European Economic Area Agreement (“EEA”);
  • Citizens of Switzerland;
  • Dual citizens, if one of their citizenship is Hungarian or they are citizens of an EEA/EU member state.

Other natural or legal entities may obtain the ownership of real properties exclusively with the permission of the competent Hungarian authority.

What is the home ownership rate?

A little more than 86% of Hungarians own the homes they live in, well over the European Union average of 69.4%, according to the latest data compiled by Eurostat, the EUʼs statistics office.

Is there exclusive representation in Hungary? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Yes, the seller is represented.

Who pays the commission fees?

The seller pays.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Yes, there is licensing. The issued licenses do not need to be renewed.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

Yes, for example www.ingatlan.com

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

www.ingatlan.com

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes, depending on agreement.

Describe the real estate transaction process in Hungary. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

Prior to the conclusion of the sale and purchase agreement, due diligence is normally carried out. After a sale and purchase agreement is entered into, an application for the registration of the change of ownership is to be submitted to the appropriate land registry office. The transfer of ownership takes place when registration is completed by the land registry office.

Title insurance is available, although it is very rarely obtained by purchasers, largely due to the fact that the land register is very reliable in Hungary.

Usually commissions are paid to seller’s agents.

Ireland

Provided by IPAV
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No restrictions.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

No restrictions.

What is the home ownership rate?

Approximately 67%. Please see this link for additional information: https://www.cso.ie/en/csolatestnews/pressreleases/2017pressreleases/pressstatementcensus2016resultsprofile1-housinginireland/

Additional information available at:   https://www.irishtimes.com/business/personal-finance/have-the-irish-given-up-on-owning-their-own-homes-1.3005440

Is there exclusive representation in Ireland? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

A broker can only represent one, but can choose either buyer or seller.

Who pays the commission fees?

The seller.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Yes, we have a government licensing system. The minimum education requirement is i20ects in a set educational matrix set by the property regulator.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site?

No.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

DAFT.IE and MYHOME.IE

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Possibly on a case to case basis, as a % of the commission; or on a one-off depending on the size of the sale.

Overview: Real Estate Transaction Process

The sale closes when agreed with the solicitors acting for both seller and buyer, about 1 month after unconditional contract is signed by both parties. Title insurance is not commonly used. Commissions are paid most commonly to seller’s agent.

Israel

Provided by Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate Brokers (JCREB)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

There is no restriction on the ownership of citizens of the Israel.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

There is a restriction for foreigners on part of the Israel's land and a special permit is required to purchase such a property.

What is the home ownership rate?

67% are homeowners in Israel (according to the Central Bureau of Statistics).

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

There is an exclusive representation for sellers of residential properties in Israel, limited to 6 months for each period of exclusivity.

There is no exclusivity on buyers.

Who pays the commission fees?

In Israel, sellers and buyers pay brokerage fees.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Brokers in Israel must undergo an examination in order to obtain a license from the Ministry of Justice and renew it every year with payment. There is the Law of Brokers, which was enacted in 1996, which defines the limitations and laws of practice in brokerage.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in Israel?

Jerusalem is the only place in Israel where there is a formal MLS that is operated by an external company and recognized by the Chamber of Real Estate Brokers of Jerusalem.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

The "Yad 2" and "Madlan" are the largest and most important property portals in Israel.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

We typically pay a referral fee of: 20-25% of the customer's fee, seller or buyer.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

The process of closing the real estate deal in Israel is done only through the lawyers, the broker in Israel is forbidden to do any action related to the legal side.

Brokers close the economic side of the deal: price, payments, dates.

When the contract is signed, the first payment is given to the owner directly from the buyer during the signing meeting and a warning mark registered on the title.

A report is submitted to the tax authority regarding purchase-tax of the buyer and appreciation-tax of the seller (if required) + the owner needs to bring a permit from the municipality that there are no taxes or debts on the property.

Delivering the key is against the last payment and then the property is transferred on the buyer's name in the title.

Additional information:

In Israel there is no difference between an agent and a broker in terms of license. There is no training for office owners and any licensee can open and manage a real estate agency.

In Israel a broker can represent and get paid from both side of the real estate deal, so does the lawyer in the deal.

There is no limit on the brokerage fee but it is common: 2% + VAT from each side, buyer and seller.

Italy

Provided by Italian Federation of Real Estate Agents (FIAIP)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No specific restrictions.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

There are restrictions according to EU anti-money laundering laws.

What is the home ownership rate?

Not provided.

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Real estate agents work for both sellers and buyers, representing an independent professional profile.

Who pays the commission fees?

Both buyers and sellers

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

The real estate profession in Italy is regulated by the law of the Civil Code with the articles numbers 1754 and 1755 and by specific law n. 39 of the year 1989. Professional real estate agents must pass an exam (both written and oral). After they have to subscribe into the local chamber of commerce showing the mandatory insurance policy.

Real estate agents must also have an Identification card issued by local Chamber of Commerce and an Insurance policy. Our federation FIAIP offers to its members the Insurance coverage with a very convenient annual fee with a minimum coverage of 260,000.00 Euros.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

Yes there is. Our Federation has a very important tool for connecting its agents named MLS FIAIP.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

The main property portal in Italy is www.immobiliare.it.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

We do, the average is 10% calculated on the total amount of the commission fee.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

In the selling of real estate assets everything has to be written (both purchase binding offer and the consequent acceptances). The property cannot turn over upon a signed contract.

If the seller withdraws his signed acceptance has to pay twice the deposit received; if the buyer withdraws his signed offer (walks away) he loses the wired deposit. 
If two different real estate agents cooperate together in a transaction deal, one representing the seller and one the buyer, they will normally share the total amount of the fee (50/50).

Is there any other information the world should know about your real estate market?

There is no ownership rate on the first house in which the owner resides. On the second houses the taxes are established at the municipal level and the percentage can vary within a range established by the government.


Japan

Provided by JARECO
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No, there are no restrictions.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

There are no restrictions for foreigners to own real estate and foreigners have the same rights as Japanese do. However, Japanese law allows government to set restrictions for foreigner ownership at the same level as the foreign country’s foreigner ownership rule. It is written in Japanese “Foreigner Land Law” but the rule has never applied.

What is the home ownership rate? (Please cite source of data if possible)

According to the survey in 2013 by the ministry of statistics, the home ownership rate in Japan is 61.7%, the number of owned home is 3.2 million. 35.5% borrows home from home owner.

For more information, look to page 7 in the following: http://www.stat.go.jp/data/jyutaku/2013/pdf/kgiy02.pdf

Is there exclusive representation in Japan? Which party is represented (buyer, seller, both)?

There are 3 types of representation on Japanese real estate law. The more exclusive, the more responsibility and duty for the real estate agent.

Contract Type Registration to REINS Activity Report Ask other companies Find Buyer by Seller-self
Senzoku-Sennin In 5 workdays 1 time/week or more X X
Sennin In 7 workdays 1 time/2 week or more X Possible
Ippan Not necessary Not necessary O Possible

It is common to conclude Ippan mediation contract when buyers ask for help in finding a home. For sellers, it depends how they want to advertise their property. The more a contract type is loose, the more the property is spread.

Who pays the commission fees?

Buyers pay the fee to buyer’s broker, and sellers pay to seller’s broker. In Japanese real estate transaction law, the commission fees are regulated as “3% of transaction price + 60,000 ¥ + Tax (current consumer tax rate is 8%)at maximum.

If a broker represents both buyer and seller’s side, the broker can take 6% + 120,000 ¥ + Tax at maximum. Representing both sides is legal in Japanese real estate transaction law.

e.g.) Price=10,000,000¥; Commission Fee= (10,000,000*3%+60,000)*8% = 388,800 ¥

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

The Japanese broker’s license needs to be updated every 5 years. In order to update broker’s license, you need to participate in a 5-hour class with curriculum determined by government. The class costs about 100$, and costs 50$ to republish broker license card. In Japan, the broker license card is necessary because you need to bring the broker license card when you explain important information about a property. Some real estate companies pay for the cost because it’s necessary for them as well.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

Yes. “REINS (Real Estate Information NetWork Systems)” is a shared listing system for Real Estate agents.  REINS are operated by institutions that are authorized by the Japanese government. There are 4 REINS operators in Japan divided by area. An agent becomes a member of REINS through his/her RE association.

Note: Although REINS is designed as an MLS system, it does NOT function as a search engine for professionals due to lack of data integrity and policing (not as strong as MLS).

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

Property Portal sites are popular in Japan. The top 3 portal sites are:

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes, the referral fee is determined by the individual agent/broker.

Overview: Real Estate Transaction Process

  • Advertising (via REINS, Portal sites, open house etc.)
  • Purchase application (buyer’s name, asking price, asking condition, term of validity etc. are written.)
  • Negotiate the terms and conditions
  • Sign in contract
  • Payment
  • Registration

Additional Information:

Japanese construction cost is gradually increasing due to construction demand caused by serial natural disasters and TOKYO Olympics. According to the ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, general construction cost increased up to 110% of 2011’s price.

Latvia

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of Latvia?

There are no ownership restrictions in this regard for citizens, yet property development restrictions apply in certain protected areas.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

There are restrictions and certain requirements regarding agricultural land and forested areas.

What is the home ownership rate?

The latest statistics state it is ca.80% in 2016 according to Eurostat

Source: Eurostat

Is there exclusive representation in Latvia? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Normally, the exclusive representation is signed for seller.

Who pays the commission fees?

Normally, it is paid by the seller yet it depends on agreement between the involved parties.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

So far there are no licensing laws or regulation of the real estate industry or real estate agent’s activities, except for the Commercial Law applying to business entities in general.

However, an agent may become a member of the local professional association LANIDA, take the exam voluntary and get a real estate agent certificate yet, sadly, this fact does not bring many privileges over uncertified middlemen who damage reputation of the professionals. Therefore it is a struggle for realtors and urges a regulation.

LANIDA arranged a work group of the leading market professionals to develop and submit a proposal of a licensing law project to the government, and awaits response from the government.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

Normally, real estate agents use two property portals for property advertising, cooperate gladly and share the commission when it comes to a so-called shared transaction between the seller’s and the buyer’s agents.

Several years ago, there was an attempt to introduce MLS in Latvia. Being a new practice to the recently developing market (it has a history of 27 years only at present), MLS failed in Latvia as the people hardly accepted exclusive representation and many sellers helped themselves (and still do so) for the sake of saving on commissions to agents. It is still a struggle in Latvia to change people’s mindset in this respect though trust in real estate agents grows and involving reputable representatives in property selling process is a more frequent practice now.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

www.ss.com

www.city24.lv

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes, we do. Agreement with a referral agent can be signed for up to 25% of our commission.

Overview: Real Estate Transaction Process

In Latvia, the real estate transaction procedure includes the following basic steps after the buyer has said “yes”:

  1. Down payment agreement between the seller and the buyer (10% deposit in cash or by wire-transfer)
  2. Escrow account agreement (in many cases, the buyer has the necessary amount of money) and/or…
  3. … mortgage agreement (if the buyer needs to borrow from a bank).
  4. Sales contract
  5. Application for title registration witnessed by a notary public
  6. Registration of the Buyer’s title and mortgage
  7. Final settlements between the parties
  8. Commission is paid by the seller to the real estate agent
  9. Conveyance of the property to buyer

Is there any other information the world should know about your real estate market?

Having survived the economic boom, the bubble burst and the global crisis that hit ten years ago, the Latvian real estate market has come to a convincing stability with a moderate growing trend over the recent years. Now, the market situation is favourable for investors as the market still develops, and the real estate prices are fair. Investors have certain allowances, and there are favourable requirements to get a Schengen residence permit through buying real estate or investing not only in real estate but in business in general.

Lebanon

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No, there are no restrictions.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

Yes, they can own properties limited to 3000 square meters.

What is the home ownership rate?

Unknown.

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

It can be done upon agreement of the parties.

Who pays the commission fees?

Seller and Buyer 2.5% each side. Total 5%

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

No, there are no licensing laws at this time.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in Lebanon?

Only internal to the syndicate members.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

Propertyfinder.com.lb

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes, usually 2.5%.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

The transfer of ownership is done when the contract is registered in the cadastral register.

Two sides, the agent/broker can represent the two sides or one side.

Netherlands

Provided by Dutch association of Real Estate Brokers and Real Estate Experts (NVM)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

No.

What is the home ownership rate?

57% in 2017. The percentage is lower in the big cities.

Source: ABF, Syswov

See: Staat van de Volkshuisvesting – Jaarrapportage 2018 (page 21)

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Yes. Buyer or seller, but not both for the same object.

Who pays the commission fees?

Each party (seller or buyer) pays for his own representation.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

No legal obligations, but self-regulation. Real estate agents who are member of a branch organization (NVM, VBO Makelaar or VastgoedPRO) are obliged to be certified. There are two certification organizations: VastgoedCert and SCVM for realtors. There is one for valuers: NRVT. Part of certification is a permanent education requirement.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

Yes.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

Funda.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

There is a listing fee.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

Buyer and Seller reach an agreement. This agreement is only legally binding when put in writing. Parties sign a contract. There is a legal three-day period after signing in which the buyer is able to reconsider without consequences. When the property is turned over a turnover contract is signed at the notary and the ownership is registered at the Kadaster. Each party pays commission to his own realtor. There is a 2% transaction tax to be paid by the buyer.

See for more information: https://www.nvm.nl/overnvm/about/faq

Additional information:

The rental sector is heavily regulated. 30% of the entire housing market is social housing. 14% is privately owned, but about half of that is regulated (rent control). Only about 6-7% of the housing market is privately owned and unregulated (no rent control).

Nicaragua

Provided by Camara Nicaraguense de Corredores de Bienes Raices (CNCBR)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No. No restrictions.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

Limited restrictions. Foreigners cannot own property within 3 miles of the border separating Nicaragua from its neighbors.

What is the home ownership rate?

No data source available. It is believed that home ownership is between 25-35%

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Limited basis. It is changing to a more exclusive relationship. Not official policy yet. Just practices

Who pays the commission fees?

The seller pays the commission fees.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Limited licensing. Not heavily enforced. Should be every 2 years.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in Nicaragua?

Being created. There should be one in place in the next few months./p>

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

Encuentra24.com

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

15-25% referral fees are paid.<

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

Closings do exist. They are usually performed in lawyers’ offices. No title insurance. Commissions are paid to seller’s agent and this agent hands over to buyer’s agent.

Additional Information:

Nicaragua is becoming more organized and more professional.

Norway

Provided by Norges Eiendomsmeglerforbund (NEF)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

No.

What is the home ownership rate? (Please cite source of data if possible)

A total of 77 percent of households own their homes, while 23 percent are tenants.

Source: https://www.ssb.no/en/befolkning/artikler-og-publikasjoner/_attachment/323659?_ts=15f2f92fcb8

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Normally the seller hires the real estate broker.

The real estate brokers are required by law to act in accordance with good real estate practice and to be an independent third party to every transaction. This means that they are required to provide both the seller and the buyer information that is relevant in the sale process, and to help them enter into a balanced contract. The real estate brokers in Norway are by law required to represent both parties – not just the seller or the buyer.

Who pays the commission fees?

The person hiring the real estate broker pays the commission fee. Normally the seller is the person hiring.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Yes. Real estate brokers need a bachelor degree, and in addition they need 15 hours of continuing education every second year they practice as a real estate broker.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

Yes: www.finn.no

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

www.finn.no

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Referral fees are not common, because the buyers normally aren’t represented by a real estate broker.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

The seller hires a real estate broker. The real estate broker then puts the property on the market, after gathering all required information about the property. The real estate broker is required by law to give the buyer all the information about the property that is relevant in the sale process.

The real estate broker normally hosts an open house, so everyone interested in the property can take a closer look. The potential buyers normally show up on these open houses without representation.

If someone then wants to put in an offer they can do so, but the first offer has to be valid until 12.00 the first working day after the last open house. All bids normally have an acceptance period and all offers must be in writing. By Norwegian law the bid can’t be withdrawn after it has come to the seller’s notice. (A bid is binding to the person giving it by the time it has come to the recipients notice).

If the seller accepts the bid within the acceptance deadline, the seller and buyer have made a binding agreement. Neither can then withdraw from the agreement, and the buyer and seller then meet to sign the contract. Normally the buyer takes over the property sometime after the contract is signed (normally 3 months).

Panama

Provided by Asociacion Panamena de Corredores y Promotores de Bienes Raices (ACOBIR)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

No.

What is the home ownership rate?

Unknown.

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Seller.

Who pays the commission fees?

The Seller pays the commission.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Government regulates the activity by law. It is mandatory to have a broker’s licence to do any property sales or buyer intermediation.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

Yes. Acobir has an MLS.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

Encuentra24 is the main portal, and ACOBIR is working to promote the MLS website as the reference of the market. The regular portals use to publish properties by owners, brokers and others items.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes. It depends. Usually is 25%.

Describe the real estate transaction process in Panama. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing?

There is a closing process.

Do you have title insurance?

Yes, however is not a usual practice.

Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

One side. The seller.

Additional Information:

The benefits of investing in Panama:

  1. Stable with US dollars as currency of Economics.
  2. The real estate sector has a lot of options of projects for invest in.
  3. No natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Enjoys a tropical climate with the rainy season and the dry season.
  4. Compared with other Latin American neighbors, is a safe country. The cost of living is lower and the quality of life is high.
  5. There are exemptions and discounts for retirees and the elderly, which would be similar whether it is a foreign resident in Panama retired as if he is a national. These include discounts on land and air transport, in cinemas, medicines, restaurants, shopping and services.
  6. Tax incentives.
  7. Diverse geography, with virgin forests, mountains, tropical islands and a great modern capital with urban development and all the facilities.
  8. High levels of vocational training in sectors such as medicine, law, banking, among others.
  9. There is little interference from local authorities.

As additional benefits, can speak of exceptional fishing, diversity of fauna and flora, shopping centers, modern hospitals and laboratories.

Tax benefits of real estate investing

Investing in Panama has the advantage that it is considered a tax haven. Revenue generated within the country, including those that generate sales made within Panama, it does support the Panamanian tax, because the tax law is based on the principle of territoriality.

Panama offers special visas that allow tax breaks for foreigners living or investing in the country.

Singapore

Provided by Institute of Estate Agents (IEA)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

Singapore Citizens can own private property including land in Singapore. Those who are currently staying in public housing namely Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats must occupy their flat for 5 years before being allowed to invest in private property including land.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

The Singapore Residential Property Act prevents foreigners and Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) from owning landed property on the main island of Singapore. Foreigners and SPR who wish to own landed property can do so on one of Singapore's smaller island known as Sentosa. There are no restrictions for foreigners and SPR to own condominium unit(s) in any part of Singapore.

What is the home ownership rate?

According to the Singapore Department of Statistic (www.singstat.gov.sg), the home ownership rate stands at 90.7% in 2017. There are 1,289,900 resident households with an average household size of 3.3 persons.

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Singapore real estate salespersons can exclusively represent either party in a transaction. The Singapore Estate Agents Act Regulations prevents dual representation and those caught collecting commission from both parties in the same transaction can be fined up to SGD25,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months.

Who pays the commission fees?

Commission is usually paid by the vendors in private property transactions. For public housing HDB flats, vendors and purchasers will pay their own respective real estate salesperson if they are represented by them. Note that the same salesperson is unable to represent both parties in the same transaction.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Since 22nd October 2010, all estate agencies and their real estate salespersons must be licensed and registered. An annual license fee is to be paid by estate agencies while an annual registration fee is to be paid by individual salespersons after completing 6 hours of continuing professional development training yearly.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in Singapore?

There are several MLS websites in Singapore. Some of these websites only allow real estate salespersons to advertise listings.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

One of the main property portals used by consumers in their property search is www.propertyguru.com.sg

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Referral fees are sometimes paid to third parties who introduce the principal. The normal referral fee is usually 10% of the commission.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

A property purchase will usually take 3 months to complete. A sale with vacant possession or with tenancy will include fixtures and fittings in the property and the buyer will only get the key to the property upon the completion date of the transaction. The conveyancing process is to be handled by solicitors representing the different parties in the transaction. Stamp duties will have to be paid for the transfer of property in Singapore (see below).

Additional information:

On top of the purchase price of the property, a Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD) is payable and an Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) is payable as follows:

Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD)

First SGD180,000 Next SGD180,000 Next SGD640,000 Thereafter Amount
1% 2% 3% 4%

Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD)

Citizen:

1st residential property 2nd residential property 3rd & subsequent residential property
N/A 12% %15

Singapore Permanent Resident:

1st residential property 2nd & subsequent residential property
5% 15%

Foreigner:

1st & subsequent residential property
20%

South Africa

Provided by Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

There are no restrictions; but there are restrictions on contractual capacity that may prevent someone from acquiring property, such as if you are insolvent/not sound of mind/etc., then you may not enter into an agreement to purchase property. There are also compliance issues before a property will be registered in a purchaser’s name, such as complying with provisions of anti-money laundering laws, requirements imposed by company law and trust law, and the like.

No there are no restrictions at present, except that a foreigner, when in SA, must have a valid permit to be in South Africa. As such, if he signs an agreement to purchase property in South Africa whilst he is in the country, he must have a valid visa/residence permit. The same contractual capacity issues and compliance requirements as mentioned above (for residents), apply in addition.

What is the home ownership rate?

Real estate practices: South Africa homeownership chart
 

Is there exclusive representation in South Africa? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

There is no exclusive representation. One Estate Agent handles both sides of the transaction.

Who pays the commission fees?

The seller pays the commission fees.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) was established in 1976 in terms of the Estate Agency Affairs Act, 112 of 1976 (“the Act”), with the mandate to regulate and control certain activities of estate agents in the public interest; and for incidental matters. The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB - www.eaab.org.za) EAAB regulates the estate agency profession by ensuring that all persons carrying out the activities of an estate agent as a service to the public are registered with the EAAB. A Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC), which is to be renewed each year, is issued as evidence of such registration and confirmation that such person is legally entitled to carry out the activities of an estate agent.  It is mandated that all real estate agents in South Africa complete a number of verifiable and non-verifiable CPD courses annually.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

There is limited MLS in South Africa with only 3 small areas supporting same.  Amounts to less than 5% of the market.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

The two main property portals in South Africa are:

a) Property24 - www.property24.com
b) Private Property -
www.privateproperty.co.za

Do agents pay referral fees? If so, what is the commission percentage?

We do pay referral fees up to 20%.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

  • View the transaction process.
  • Occupation of the property can take place before or after transfer of ownership of the property has taken place subject to the contract.
  • We do not have title insurance.
  • Commission is paid to the Sellers agent.

Spain

Provided by Spanish International Realty Alliance (SIRA)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

No.

What is the home ownership rate?

77% ownership according to Instituto Nacional de Estadística, a Governmental Statistics Office.

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Dual agency and open listing is traditional and more frequent, although transitioning to exclusive representation, mainly seller, but buyer agency as well as a more recent trend.

Who pays the commission fees?

The seller in most parts of Spain, although there are some regions where both the seller and the buyer pay to their respective agents, or to the dual agent.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

No regulations except for Catalonia where there is an official registration required, with some education requirements, but no continuing education requirements. Other regions in Spain are moving in the same direction, but the European Community seems to be against setting barriers of entry.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in your country?

There is one private MLS www.mls.es operating nationwide but not very successful, and around 100 local MLSs spread all over Spain.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

www.idealista.com

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes, Around 25% of the side.

Describe the real estate transaction process in Spain. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

Contracts are signed with mortgage as the main contingency. The closing process usually takes 30 to 45 days. Final deeds are signed in the Public Notary, a Government officer.

Additional information

Spain is known as the Florida of Europe. Many Europeans own their vacation and retirement properties in the Mediterranean coasts and islands of Spain. Barcelona and Madrid also bring many foreign buyers for investment and residence.

Although there are no official statistics, real estate professionals participate in less than 50% of the transactions.

Taiwan

Provided by Chinese Association of Real Estate Brokers (CAREB)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

In most cases, the ownership of land and property is freehold rather than leasehold in Taiwan, which indicates that we don’t have many restrictions and limitations. However, with regard to zoning and related architectural laws, we still need to follow the regulations.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

In Taiwan, the restrictions depend on different countries.  The principle of equality and reciprocity is the main concept of the ownership.  Generally, foreigners can have property ownership.

What is the home ownership rate?

The home ownership rate in Taiwan is extremely high, which is approximately 85% in 2018.

Data Source: State of Housing Industry -Taiwan

Is there exclusive representation in Taiwan? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Yes, there is exclusive representation in Taiwan.  And agents can present both seller and buyer side depending on situation.

Who pays the commission fees?

In our regulations, both the seller side (up to 4% of sale price) and the buyer side (up to 2% of sale price) pay the commission fees to its agent separately.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

There are licensing laws / government regulation of real estate industry, we need to have license to run the business of real estate appraisal, brokerage, and real estate registration.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in Taiwan?

No, we don’t have the MLS system, but the property can be viewed in different listing systems developed by major brokerage firms.

Although there is no MLS database, we have the publicly accessible information system of consummated properties and prices database, created by the Taiwan Government, which provides good transparency of the property market.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

The most popular property searching portal would be 591 website: https://www.591.com.tw/.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes, we pay referral fees or real estate brokerage. However, the fees depend on the negotiation and the compromise of each side. Normally, we pay 10% - 50% referral fees of commission.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

The processes are stated below:

  • Both seller and buy reach agreement of major transaction terms
  • Sign sales and purchase agreement
  • Pay transaction fees and stamp duty tax
  • Title transfer
  • Property handover.

We don’t have title insurance company as the government agency is responsible for the accuracy and registration of real estate title transfer.

In our regulations, both the seller side (up to 4% of sale price) and the buyer side (up to 2% of sale price) pay the commission fees to its agent separately. But dual agency is allowed in Taiwan.

Additional information

Most real estates are fee simple estate- 100% ownership without incumbency, better than right of use or ground leasehold market only.  The current market cycle is on the stage of downward adjustment due to the government cooling measure policy to cool down significantly rising house prices since 2004.

Thailand

Provided by the Real Estate Information Center (REIC)
Published and Accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No, there are no restrictions for Thai citizens having property and land ownership.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

Yes, there are restrictions for foreigners. According to the laws, it does not allow to own the land and land & house, but it allows foreigners to own condominiums for 49% of salable areas in each project. (https://www.samuiforsale.com/knowledge/practical-legal-for-condos.html)

What is the home ownership rate?

For the country as a whole, the rate is approximately 80%; In-municipality area are approximately 65%; Ex-municipality area are approximately 90%. (http://popcensus.nso.go.th/table_stat.php?t=t1&yr=2553)

Is there exclusive representation in Thailand? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Yes, there is, but it not legally representation because there is not licensing law and exclusive agent.

Who pays the commission fees?

Usually, the seller pays the commission fees.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

There have not been licensing laws/government regulations in Thailand yet. Therefore, there are not education requirements and qualifications for persons who will be "real estate broker/agent" in Thailand.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in Thailand?

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

There is no main portal for consumer searching in Thailand. There are number of websites which provide searching facility for customer such as Clickthaihome.com, ddpropperty.com, home.co.th, thaiproperty.in.th, thaihometown.com, thailivingproperty.com, hometodays.com, etc.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Usually, the seller will pay about 3% for commission, and the members of agent will share partially for referral fees for the person who suggests the  buyer to the agent.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

Please find that information at: https://www.siam-legal.com/realestate/Transfer-of-Property-in-Thailand.php

Additional Information

The real estate market in Thailand is quite big, active and high potential growth market, as compared to the ASEAN market.

Ukraine

Provided by the Ukrainian Real Estate Association
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

There has been a moratorium on purchasing and selling the land for farming since 2001. At present it is extended until 2019. In May 2018, the European Court of Human Rights had ruled the decision that the total ban of purchasing and selling the land for farming in Ukraine violates the European Convention on Human Rights (decision of the court is here

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

Only in terms of land ownership.

According to the Articles 81 and 82 of the Land Code of Ukraine, foreigners can acquire ownership of non-agricultural land plots within populated areas, and outside cities and localities - where real estate, which they own as private property, is located. Foreign legal entities and joint ventures, founded with the participation of foreign legal entities and individuals, can acquire non-agricultural land plots:

a) within populated areas in case of acquisition of real estate and for construction of property related to the implementation of entrepreneurial activities in Ukraine;
b) outside the populated areas in case of acquisition of real estate.

What is the home ownership rate?

According to expert opinion, the volume of private property in Ukraine is 84% (link to source here). According to some data, the share of private (including privatized) property in the housing stock of Ukraine exceeds 90%.

Homeownership rate (the ratio of housing in ownership and in rent): there is no official data on the percentage of homeowners. According to the information provided by the Ministry of Regional Development, 1.4 million citizens rent accommodation, although in fact many more Ukrainians are forced to rent their accommodation (many of whom are internal refugees, lack of affordable mortgage programs, decline of living standards). This market can be considered as a shadow market in many respects, that’s why accurate data is almost impossible to determine. However, considering that there are about 17 million apartments in Ukraine, according to our observations this rate is about 80%.

Is there exclusive representation in Ukraine? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Yes, the practice of signing exclusive listings and representation of the client's interests is becoming more widespread in Ukraine. As a rule, the seller is the party represented. However, unfortunately, many agents work with clients and advertise their real estate without signing any contracts confirming authority of the agents.

Who pays the commission fees?

Since the mid-1990s, almost all regions of Ukraine had practiced charging the commission from a buyer, even if the property was under the listing contract with its owner. In some large cities listing agreements with owners still do not require payment of commission fees: brokers share the commission paid by a buyer on top of the price of real estate.

Lately the situation has been changing: the commission of every broker involved is paid by their client - the seller or the buyer respectively. In many cities agencies claim a commission from both parties simultaneously. The practice based on the logic of MLS partnership, when a commission fee paid by the seller to his listing broker is shared with a buyer broker, is not so widespread, but already constitutes a visible portion of the offers for the sale of real estate. First of all - in the cities with strong regional branches of ASNU: Rivne, Ivano-Frankivsk, Dnipro.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/continuing education requirements?

No, there is neither licensing nor state regulation in Ukrainian real estate industry. Professional training on the voluntary certification basis is carried out, mainly, by two leading professional associations.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in Ukraine?

Some portals started copying the idea of MLS, introducing an exclusivity check and providing the brokerage commission sharing. It is not very popular with agents. Only ASNU is currently working on the development of a closed multi-listing service for its members under control of a public organization, based on the principles and rules of MLS.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

The most popular portals for real estate search in Ukraine are OLX.ua, LUN.UA.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Yes, the practice of paying referral fees in Ukraine exists and as a rule is 10-20% of the commission.

Describe the real estate transaction process in Ukraine. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

The transfer of ownership is carried out at the moment of transaction. All real estate purchase contracts are subject to notary certification. The right of ownership is registered by the State Registrar in the Register of Property Rights on the basis of a purchase contract on the day of its signing.

There is title insurance in Ukraine, although this type of insurance is used rarely.

Additional Information

Investment in real estate property under construction is a well-developed segment of the market, and it constitutes a considerable portion of real estate market. The procedure for transfer of property in this segment of the market differs significantly from the procedure of transfer of property rights for built real estate. Also, the rules of cooperation and payment of agents` commission are different for this segment.

United Kingdom

Provided by National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
Published and accurate as of October 2018

Are there restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens of your country?

No.

Are there restrictions on property ownership for foreigners?

No – but additional taxes.

What is the home ownership rate?

97,00 properties held by overseas entities. (HM Land Registry)

Is there exclusive representation in your country? Who is the party represented (buyer, seller, both)?

Sellers always represented. A small proportion will have buyer representation.

Who pays the commission fees?

The seller.

Are there licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry? If so, what are the renewal/ continuing education requirements?

Currently none, but HM Government announced, in April 2018, its intention to regulate and impose minimum standards.

Is there an MLS or other shared listings site in the United Kingdom?

No.

What is the main property portal for consumer property searches?

Rightmove, On the Market and Zoopla.

Do agents pay referral fees? If so what is the commission percentage?

Rarely.

Describe the real estate transaction process in your country. For example, do you have closings or is the property turned over upon contract signing? Do you have title insurance? Are commissions paid to buyer’s and seller’s agents, only one side, or neither?

No title insurance – homes are sold subject to contract, lawyers for both sides instructed. Process currently takes between 14-18 weeks, at which point, contracts become binding.

Additional information

  • Low turnover of stock – approximately 4% of homes transacted annually.
  • Average time spent in a home is 17-20 years.
  • Fees paid by sellers average 0.9-1.3%.

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