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Cyprus real estate agents – how to avoid the cowboys

A law passed in 2004 and subsequently amended in 2007 was designed to rid Cyprus of the numerous cowboy real estate agents. But unfortunately, in all of the property hot-spots, you will still find many individuals and companies trading in property illegally.

estate-agent

An estate agency office

AS MANY of those buying and selling property have discovered to their cost, there are many illegal estate agents operating in Cyprus. Some companies, who describe themselves as ‘real estate advertisers’, ‘property consultants’, etc., trade in real estate illegally.

Although laws have been passed to rid the marketplace of these cowboys, those charged with its enforcement appear reluctant to take action against the offenders. Visit any of the seaside towns and you’ll probably find three times as many illegal estate agency businesses as legal ones.

We have warned you previously about retired Britons living in Cyprus who prey on the fears and wallets of their fellow countrymen; people like Andrew Nolan former manager at estate agents Peter Stephenson Properties and Ian Beaumont, his “partner in crime”. And we have also looked at various aspects of the real estate agents law.

In this article we look at the roles of the statutory body that regulates estate agents in Cyprus, the associations to which they may belong, and links to relevant websites.

Estate agent mandatory registration

Estate agents in Cyprus are regulated by law and need to be professionally qualified and registered with the Estate Agents Registration Council; a semi-state organisation under the Interior Ministry.

The Council has six members: a President (nominated by the Minister of the Interior), the manager of the Town Planning Department, the Manager of the Lands & Surveys Department (or his representative), and three registered real estate agents who are elected during the registered estate agents convention.

The legal obligations of registered estate agents are defined by law Real Estate Agents Law N.273(1)/2004 including amendment N.118(1)/2007.

Finding registered estate agents

On its website, the Estate Agents Registration Council maintains a directory of registered estate agents operating in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paralimni and Paphos.

Cyprus Real Estate Agents’ Association (CREAA)

Once registered, estate agents may choose to join the CREAA – and anyone planning to use an estate agent to buy or sell property is strongly advised to use a CREAA member to protect their interests.

CREAA members are required to have a minimum of CYP 100,000 professional indemnity insurance cover, a detailed knowledge of Cyprus’ property laws, wide experience in selling property or hold a university degree in a relevant subject, possess an untarnished criminal and civic record and not be a bankrupt.

If you run into problems with a CREAA member, contact the CREAA and they will arbitrate on your behalf – and if it becomes necessary, they will appoint a lawyer for you at a nominal fee.

Finding CREAA members

On its website, the Cyprus Real Estate Agents’ Association maintains a list of its members in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paralimni and Paphos.

Some of the estate agents listed are also member of the International Real Estate Agent Federation, which may provide buyers and sellers with additional protection.

Real Estate Agent Federation (FIABCI)

Headquartered in Paris, FIABCI is a worldwide network with 60 member countries and 115 different national professional real estate associations. FIABCI links 1.5 million real estate professionals worldwide representing every discipline in the industry and it is advisor to bodies such as the UN, the EU, NAFTA and MERCOSUR.

FIABCI represents surveyors, financiers, brokers, lawyers, architects, counsellors, accountants, builders, insurers and investors.

Finding FIABCI members in Cyprus

On its website, the Real Estate Agent Federation maintains a list of its members throughout Cyprus.

Finally

If you plan to use an estate agent to buy or sell property in Cyprus, use one who is a member of the CREAA – and for your added protection, one who is also a member of FIABCI.

The commission charged by Estate Agents in Cyprus is about double that you would expect to pay in the UK. As it’s normally at least 3% of the purchase price and usually around 5%, it will pay you to negotiate!

If you’re buying property using an estate agent, remember to ask them my top 8 questions.

And last, but by no means least, whether you are buying or selling property use the services of an independent lawyer to protect your interests.

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