real estate agents

Qualified real estate agents: how to recognize them?

Qualified or non-licensed real estate agents? This is today’s question!

Are you looking for a house or are you going to put it up for sale? Do not run the risk of contracting “unauthorized real estate agents”, find out who they are and how to recognize them, what and how much you risk, how to avoid them and how to report them.

Often a lot of difference separates a good real estate agent from a bad one. Foreigners looking for country cottages or modest holiday homes in the historic centers of beautiful Italian villages know this very well and make up their minds. Sellers and buyers are more or less used to not always receiving highly professional services. Lack of staging in the preparation of the property, poor quality photos, incomplete information, for certain categories of properties are more the norm than the exception.

On the other hand, there are few who know the possibility of running into agents who are not qualified for the profession and who practice without any qualifications. Maybe they have been on the square for years without anyone ever dared to say anything. Writing about it always arouses a certain skepticism, especially when it illustrates the enormous extent of the phenomenon of illegal professionalism. It leads to disbelief, however, when one mentions the real extent of the risks involved in dealing with these elusive figures.

If you are looking for / selling a house, or a family member needs to buy or simply rent, you have complete content available here that will allow you to know all the most current legal requirements, in an easy, comprehensive, and in some ways reading. interesting as a thriller. Surely.

Uncovering a bogus real estate agent requires the preparation and cunning of a detective, don’t expect to get admission to a direct question. What about the abusive real estate agents, with offices complete with signs, shop windows full of sales announcements, but without regular registration of the company with the Chamber of Commerce?

What is meant by “Qualified real estate agents”

Qualified real estate agents are mediation professionals, framed in the Italian legal system, who deal with the sale or rental of various types of premises. In most cases, they operate in a micro-agency (in 93.8% of cases with 1.3 employees per agency) of which they are the owners and sole workers or at most together with another qualified mediator.

Real estate agents licensed in their most common activity, inspect, estimate  (should), and propose to the market (via the Internet site and at least one real estate portal), taking care of the transaction (the real heart of their business):

  • Apartments of various sizes
  • Premises used as offices
  • Company warehouses
  • Farms
  • Houses (the expression “sky-earth” or “earth-sky” is widely used)
  • Castles
  • Villas

Qualified real estate agents are agency employees or the owners of the same, which in summary represent the facilitators in charge of facilitating the negotiation between those who want to sell a property and those who want to buy it.

In Italy, there are about 50 thousand licensed real estate agents on a population of 60 million inhabitants. In Germany, however, there are 25,000 licensed real estate agents for 82 million inhabitants. Average annual sales per agent are around 4.3 against 22.5 in Sweden and Finland. An all-Italian paradox is offered by the figure of the increase in the number of real estate agents enabled to collapse prices and real estate sales.

A business agent in mediation, or mediator, is someone who puts in relation – even occasionally – two or more parties for the conclusion of a deal without being linked to any of them by relationships of collaboration, dependence or representation (art.1754 of the Civil Code).

The real estate agent is a business broker who operates in the conclusion of business in the sectors related to real estate and companies. The contiguity with another “different” professional figure, the business finder, has often caused confusion and abuse.

In fact, the broker indicates business opportunities without being able to carry out mediation activities. He is such a different figure than the business finder could in the past also carry out his own prevailing habitual activity, without reporting potential business as a substitute for the main activity. The real estate agent, on the other hand, in the past could only deal with real estate brokerage and his role was incompatible with any other professional and non-professional activity, except for other brokerage activities with the exception of credit. Now things have changed and you will find out how.

The real estate agent is, therefore, the only professional figure in the business world who can discuss prices, give indications to this effect to one or both parties involved and have proposals, requests, negotiations and contracts put in writing that indicate prices and conditions. follow the stages of negotiation or contract relating to a property.

Ultimately, only real estate agents regularly authorized to practice the profession can:

  • Have your customers sign a proposal or request for a purchase or rent
  • Have your customers sign a sales or rental assignment (they can do real estate acquisition )
  • Accompany their customers to view properties
  • Follow the negotiation for a sale or a rent
  • Follow all stages of a lease
  • Follow all the stages of the sale once a deal is closed

Now it is well worth paying attention to the following.

Anyone who is not a licensed and therefore regular real estate agent cannot carry out any of the aforementioned activities, even if in the presence of a licensed real estate agent and even if the documentation will bear the signature of a qualified agent instead of his own.

Repetita iuvant! Qualified real estate agents are the only ones who are entitled to follow the negotiations, talk about the price and sign the forms.

Basically, the business finder or the abusive real estate agent cannot make the entire list set out above with two due clarifications:

  • they cannot accompany their customers to view properties on the spot , unless accompanied by a regular real estate agent who can (only he) talk about the price and set up a possible negotiation;
  • they cannot follow the negotiation for a sale or for a rent , if not accompanied by a regularly qualified real estate agent who will be able (only he) to talk about the price and set up a possible negotiation, also managing any conflicts between customers.

These details are important for potential clients of a real estate agency. Basically, a person is caught in the act of crime if in the act of showing a property or following a negotiation, he will not have a qualified real estate agent by his side or even if he only mentions price conditions.

Legislation and evolution over time of the regulations for the regulation of the profession

The profession of the business broker is noble and ancient. Here is a quick summary of the legislative evolution that has affected the practice of the profession in the modern era.

  • Kingdom of Italy – we can say that the first modern attempt to bring order to a profession such as that of the business broker was registered in 1866, when in the Code of Commerce of the Kingdom of Italy, brokers of goods, insurance were established, ship rental and transport. Two categories were immediately distinguished: on the one hand the public mediators, with a mandate, and on the other, the brokers “in other kinds of mediations”, free from any registration in particular roles. It is from these professional figures that modern real estate agents derive, specialized in the sale and rental of real estate and companies.
  • Law of March 20, 1913, n.272 – this new law established that the profession of mediator was free and without the need for registration in the Rolls of the Chamber of Commerce, except for stockbrokers and for those who held public offices.
  • Article 348 Criminal Code (Royal Decree 19 October 1930, n. 1398) – abusive exercise of a profession.
  • Art. 2231 of the civil code: lack of registration.
  • Law 21 March 1958, n. 253 – containing the discipline of the profession of mediator; the obligation to register in the role of the Chamber of Commerce is reintroduced: for the first time the members were given the qualification of “business agents in mediation”.
  • Law 24 November 1981, n. 689 Amendments to the penal system – chapter I – Administrative sanctions.
  • 39 of 3 February 1989 – at the end of the 1980s, the role of business agents in mediation was a list that was accessed by means of a qualifying examination at the Chambers of Commerce. This is the basic law.
  • Law 5 March 2001, n. 57, published in the Official Gazette no. 66 of 20 March 2001 – art. 18 – (Amendments to Law no. 39 of 3 February 1989) b) to article 3, the following is added after paragraph 5: “5-bis. For the exercise of the profession of mediator, a suitable insurance guarantee must be provided to cover professional risks and to protect customers “.
  • Circular Letter March 27, 2002, n. 503649 Issued by the Ministry of Productive Activities, Area C, Office C3, Auxiliary trade fair activities, general warehouses – business agents in mediation – art. 3, paragraph 5-bis, of Law no. 39, added by art. 18 of the Law 5 March 2001, n. 57. – The minimum amount of coverage set for the policies expressed in euros is also communicated:
    – 260,000.00 euros for sole proprietorships;
    – € 520,000.00 for partnerships;
    – 1,550,000.00 euros for joint-stock companies.
  • Legislative Decree 26 March 2010 n. 59, article 73 – from May 12, 2010, the role was abolished and therefore what was commonly called “registration to the role” is no longer necessary. However, in order to carry out the activities referred to in Chapter XI of Title III of Book IV of the Civil Code, there remains the need for the requirements dictated by the original law establishing the role (n. 39/1989). From the date of entry into force of the Legislative Decree, it is therefore no longer possible to apply for registration in the REA Business Register for the activity of the business agent in mediation if the possession of the requisites provided for by Law 39/89 is not demonstrated.
  • Law 6 August 2008, n. 133, article 38 – these requirements must be self-certified and reported through a SCIA to be sent to the competent Chamber of Commerce, at the same time as the activity starts, through the single counter for productive activities (SUAP) of the competent Municipality.
  • Court of Cassation – Third Civil Section, Sentence 8 July 2010, n.16147: no right to commission in mediation without registration in the Register.
  • Decree of 26 October 2011 by the Ministry of Economic Development (published in the Official Gazette No. 10 of 13 January 2012) – the role of agents and representatives has been definitively abolished since 12 May 2012 and new procedures for registration in the Register of Companies and the REA are envisaged.
  • Ministerial decrees of November 26, 2011– on September 30, 2013, the deadline granted to companies registered in the former registers and roles that perform the activities of agent and sales representative and business agent in mediation to update their position in the Business Register and in the REA expired. In particular, from 1 October 2013 natural persons (who do not have a position in the Business Register, but are registered in the suppressed roles of agents and mediators) are no longer allowed to register in the specific REA section, as the decrees expressly provide the forfeiture of this possibility. Registration in the former role could be used as a requirement for starting the activity until May 12, 2017, for agents and representatives and until May 12, 2016, for mediators. The “free agents”, not having a previous registration to the role,
  • Law 27 December 2017, n. 205, published in the Official Gazette no. 302 of 29 December 2017 (Ordinary Supplement no. 62), “State budget for the financial year 2018 and multi-year budget for the three-year period 2018-2020”. (Budget Law 2018)– the provision consists of a single article, consisting of 1181 paragraphs. Paragraph 993, with an amendment to paragraph 5-bis, of art. 3, of Law no. 39 of 3 February 1989, establishes that real estate agents who carry out the mediation activity in violation of the obligation to provide suitable insurance guarantee to cover professional risks and to protect customers (in paragraph 5-bis of article 3 of Law 39 of 3 February 1989, the following sentence is added at the end: “Real estate agents who carry out the activity of mediation in violation of the obligation referred to in the previous sentence, are punished with the administrative sanction of the payment of a sum between € 3,000 and € 5,000 “).
  • Law n. 3/2018, article 12 – modification of the Criminal Code, publication in the Official Gazette no. 25 of 31 January 2018 – providing for a tightening of the penalties for those who also illegally carry out real estate mediation. The aim is to stem the illegal activity among those who practice the profession of real estate agent without being in possession of the license.
  • European law 3 May 2019, n. 37 art. 2 – Publication in the Official Gazette no. 160 of 11 May 2019– provisions on the profession of business agent in mediation – Infringement procedure no. 2018/2175 (1.) In article 5 of Law no. 39, paragraph 3 is replaced by the following: “The exercise of mediation is incompatible with the exercise of entrepreneurial activities of production, sale, representation or promotion of goods belonging to the same commodity sector for which the mediation activities, as well as with the activity carried out as an employee of a public or private body, or as an employee of a banking, financial or insurance institution with the exclusion of brokerage companies, or with the exercise of intellectual professions pertaining to the same product sector for which mediation activities are carried out and in any case in situations of conflict of interest “.

The new law on incompatibility

The European Union has asked Italy to eliminate the incompatibilities between the figure of real estate agent and other professions and job positions. Italy has adapted to article 2 of the European Law no. 37 of 3 May 2019, n. 37 with the publication in the Official Gazette no. 160 of 11 May 2019 regarding the ” Provisions on the profession of business agent in mediation ” with article 5 which provides for the replacement of paragraph 3 of the “Infringement procedure no. 2018/2175 “of Law number 39 of February 3, 1989.

Art. 2 – Provisions on the profession of business agent in mediation – Infringement procedure no. 2018/2175, effective from 26/05/2019. In article 5 of law no. 39, paragraph 3 is replaced by the following:
“3. The exercise of the mediation activity is incompatible with the exercise of entrepreneurial activities of production, sale, representation or promotion of goods belonging to the same product sector for which the mediation activity is exercised, as well as with the activity carried out in as an employee of a public or private body, or as an employee of a banking, financial or insurance institution with the exception of brokerage companies, or with the exercise of intellectual professions pertaining to the same product sector for which the mediation activity is exercised and in any case in situations of conflict of interest “.

A squeeze is introduced on all those professions other than the real estate agent, but “pertaining to the same product sector”, such as:

  • Architects
  • Surveyors
  • Engineers
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Bank employees
  • Insurance employees
  • Business brokers in various capacities

It is not possible to be an agent and owner of a business activity at the same time, if the company in question operates in the same product sector, in this case, real estate. For the rest, all bans fall.

The new compatibilities

To understand the extent of the novelty, in this way nothing would prohibit licensed real estate agents from being the owners of a bar or a clothing store, or employees of a municipal body or a company. With the newly approved European law, buyers are always protected but new opportunities are opened up for agents and those who carry out mediation activities are ensured the possibility of providing new ancillary services to their business, for the benefit of customers-consumers.

The provision introduced the concept of conflict of interest for banks and intellectual professions in intermediation and at the same time eliminates incompatibilities for those who carry out the mediation activity, allowing real estate agents to grow and evolve their professionalism with respect to needs of current economic processes.

This was interpreted by the majority of insiders as a big step forward, definitely important for the entire category. What makes the difference could be the skills that licensed real estate agents will be able to strengthen with time and experience, or those that they will choose to acquire by continuing to train.

The new licensed real estate agents could then add to the profession that of:

  • Credit broker
  • Professional photographer
  • CAD designer and rendering producer
  • Digital marketing expert

The broader and more qualified the professional offer, the more customers will tend to reward and prefer these new multipurpose licensed real estate agents, compared to the competition obviously.

Requirements for obtaining the qualification

In order to be able to carry out the profession of qualified real estate agents, therefore in a regular way and in compliance with the regulations, it is necessary to be registered with the Chamber of Commerce of belonging as real estate brokers, as business agents in real estate brokerage or as business agents in real estate brokerage with a mandate for consideration.

Any other type of registration in the Chamber of Commerce does not qualify for the profession of the real estate agent.

In fact, the real estate agent, like any other mediator, is required to register in the Business Register and in the Economic-Administrative Repertoire (REA) , established at the Chambers of Commerce.

The real estate agent, in order to register with the Chamber of Commerce and carry out the profession, must possess moral and professional requirements and, when the mediation is exercised by a company, all the administrators and legal representatives and those who exercise the mediation activity at any qualification for the company itself must possess the following moral and professional requisites identified by Law no. 39/89.

1. Moral and integrity requirements

  • not having been declared banned, incapacitated, or bankrupt;
  • not having been convicted for the crimes listed in art. 2 letter f) of Law 39/89;
  • not be subjected to anti-mafia measures.

2. Professional requirements (alternatively between them)

  • high school diploma with attendance of a specific training course (list of the organizing bodies of the courses) and passing an eligibility exam at the Chamber of Commerce;
  • be enrolled in the suppressed role of business agents in mediation (requirement valid until 12 May 2016);
  • be registered in the specific REA section (established from 12 May 2012).

The alternative requirement “Upper secondary school diploma together with a practicum period of at least twelve continuous months and attendance of a professional training course” (provided for by law 57/2001 art. 18) is not activated because the Ministry of Economic Development has not yet issued the necessary implementation regulation.

Incompatibility (see related previous chapter)

Recognition of the professional qualification obtained abroad

To practice in Italy, those who have obtained the qualification abroad (both in an EU and non-EU country) must have the qualification recognized by the Ministry of Economic Development (MiSE).

On the website of the Ministry it is possible to download the forms necessary to submit the application for recognition and the relative instructions.

In the absence of these requirements, registration as a licensed real estate agent at the Chamber of Commerce cannot be requested and real estate brokerage cannot be carried out.

How to become a licensed real estate agent

One of the elements necessary to obtain the qualification to practice the profession of real estate agent is represented by the attendance of a course organized by a recognized training institution, which can last from a minimum of 80 to a maximum of 200 hours and which can be followed in the classroom or online.

The course provides all the theoretical and practical knowledge that must be “collected” to take the qualification exam, which consists of two written tests and one oral.

In the courses attended by aspiring licensed real estate agents, subjects such as:

  • Estimate
  • Civil law – such as real rights, obligations and contracts, mediation in the sale and rental of real estate
  • Tax law – such as taxes and fees and tax compliance related to real estate
  • Public and private law (only the rules of interest)
  • Administrative requirements – land registers, concessions, land registry, building permits and licenses
  • Banking technique – such as financial benefits related to real estate
  • Principles of urban planning
  • Construction techniques and materials
  • Marketing elements

A course that requires a serious commitment with topics not within everyone’s reach, which require a certain application.

After having attended the course, the duration of which depends on the institution that provides it and the region in which it takes place, you can register for the exam organized by the Chamber of Commerce of your own territory.

After passing the exam, the aspiring mediators obtain the qualification of qualified real estate agents, which is valid throughout the national territory, as well as the possibility of enrolling in:

  • REA (Economic Administrative Repertoire) as a sole proprietorship;
  • Register of Companies if you want to start your own real estate agency.

However, becoming a licensed real estate agent does not only mean passing an exam but requires great motivation and passion for the profession, with strong communication skills to relate to the needs of each client and manage each negotiation with professionalism and dedication.

The mediation activity can be exercised by submitting an electronic SCIA (certified notification of the start of business) to the Register of Companies of the Chamber of Commerce in whose territory one is going to exercise. The SCIA self-certifies the possession of the moral and professional requisites that it is necessary to possess.

In the case of exercise as an employee/collaborator of a brokerage company, the employer will file a specific communication with the Chamber of Commerce, in which he will indicate the subject who is an employee (or collaborator not registered with his own independent position at the REA Economic-Administrative Repertoire as a sole proprietorship) and will file the self-certified requisites by the employee in the specific ministerial form.

The registration obligation does not exist for employees or collaborators assigned only to secretarial and administrative functions, as they do not carry out activities that are useful or necessary for the conclusion of the deal.

The role of business agents in mediation, as mentioned, was abolished (Article 73 of Legislative Decree 59/2010).

Professional Real Estate Agent Insurance

As explained in the chapter that illustrates the legislation that regulates the exercise, in any capacity, of real estate brokerage activities, licensed real estate agents must be in possession of an insurance guarantee to cover professional risks and to protect customers. A letter from the then Ministry of Productive Activities also establishes the minimum amount of coverage of the policy:

  • € 260,000.00 for sole proprietorships;
  • € 520,000.00 for partnerships;
  • Euro 1,550,000.00 for joint stock companies.

The aforementioned policy must cover all those who, for whatever reason, carry out the mediation activity within the company.

A Professional Civil Liability policy protects you from any claims for compensation from customers, especially by virtue of the high amount of damage that those who practice this profession could cause.

The professional civil liability insurance policy covers all damages that may be caused to customers in carrying out their activity as real estate agents during the performance of all those activities for which, according to law, qualified and registered real estate agents can issue an invoice.

In all these cases, the insurance serves to indemnify the insured for what he is required to pay, as civilly liable under the law, by way of compensation (capital, interest and expenses) are normally always included:

  1.  buying/selling/exchanging real estate and land;
  2. rental of buildings in general;
  3. instructions for practices relating to financing for real estate sales;
  4. contracts for works and supplies concerning ordinary and extraordinary maintenance;
  5. purchase / sale / exchange / lease of commercial, artisanal, industrial, public service activities, including the handling of the related administrative procedures and transfer of licenses;
  6. damage resulting from loss, loss, destruction and/or deterioration of deeds, documents, securities not to bearer, provided they are not resulting from fire, theft, or robbery;
  7. penalties of fiscal, administrative nature, fines, fines imposed on customers for negligent acts attributable to the insured;
  8. damage resulting from the loss of keys of the properties in its custody for sale or lease;
  9. due to negligent or willful act of its employees or collaborators resulting from the accounting and administrative records of the same;
  10. damages deriving from civil liability for conducting the study (RCT)
  11. damage resulting from liability for the circulation of motor vehicles (car ordering).

Unauthorized and sanctions

While locating a non-licensed real estate agent can be easy when operating individually, it is more complicated when dealing with a real estate agency. In this case, it is sufficient to refer to the concept of agency, which is such because it operates using the activity of agents recognized by the law, the only ones able to carry out all the activities of a real estate agent .

Some real estate agencies open regularly have the legal representative of the company, qualified to carry out the profession of real estate agent and authorized to sign all the forms of sales assignments and purchase proposals.

These agencies go illegality when they start hiring people who are not licensed to practice, who begin to operate in the exclusive fields of licensed real estate agents. These agencies will try to hide the crime by using the forms already signed by the licensed real estate agent, or they will present blank forms with the legal representative who will not show up for the crucial signature appointments.

Dynamic verification of the permanence of the requirements

Business agents in mediation are subject in the exercise of their activity to the so-called dynamic verification of the permanence of the requisites (art.7 Mise Decree 26/10/2011):

  1. the office of the Business Register verifies, at least once every four years from the submission of the SCIA, the persistence of the requisites that allow the company to carry out the activity, as well as those provided for the subjects who carry out the activity on its behalf ;
  2. the Registrar of the Companies Register, which verifies the supervening lack of a legal requirement, initiates the procedure for inhibiting the continuation of the activity and adopts the consequent provision, except for the initiation of disciplinary proceedings or the ascertainment of administrative violations;
  3. the provision of inhibition to the performance of the activity adopted pursuant to paragraph 2, is officially registered in the REA and determines the annotation in the same REA of the termination of the activity itself.

The disciplinary sanctions envisaged by current legislation will be applied to business agents in mediation who in the exercise of their activity, or following the dynamic verification of the permanence of the requisites, are responsible for behaviors capable of disturbing the regular trend of the market, the disciplinary sanctions provided for by current legislation will be applied.

Therefore, stumbling upon an abusive real estate agent, the greatest risk you run is precisely that of not being protected in the event that situations arise that due to negligence or professional errors of the unauthorized agent cause you economic damage, without being guaranteed in the purchase and sale of the policy to cover potential damages.

A more widespread phenomenon than you can imagine.

When such a situation occurs, it is not only an incorrect situation but absolutely illegal and punished by:

  • art. 348 of the Criminal Code – The article of the law states that “whoever practices a profession illegally, for which a special state qualification is required, is punished with imprisonment from six months to three years with a fine ranging from ten thousand to fifty thousand euros. ” Furthermore, “the penalty of imprisonment from one to five years and a fine of between € 15,000 and € 75,000 applies to the professional who has led others to commit the crime referred to in the first paragraph or has directed the activities of the persons who are contributed to the crime itself.
  • article 12 of Law no. 3/2018 amends the Criminal Code, providing for a tightening of the penalties for those who also illegally carry out real estate brokerage. The aim is to stem the illegal activity among those who practice the profession of a real estate agent without being in possession of the license. The application of the new law makes disciplinary sanctions for abusive real estate agents heavier: “anyone who illegally exercises a profession for which a special state qualification is required is punished with imprisonment from six months to three years and with a fine from € 10,000 to € 50,000 “. There is also “the confiscation of the things that served or were destined to commit the crime”. Anyone who practices mediation without being registered in the role is punished with the administrative sanction of the payment of a sum between € 7,500 and € 15. 000 and is required to return the commissions received to the contracting parties. To ascertain the infringement, to contest it, and to collect the sums due, the provisions of Law 689/1981 apply.

To those who have already incurred the sanction referred to in paragraph 1, even if there has been payment with a discharging effect, the penalties provided for by art. 348 of the Criminal Code, as well as art. 2231 of the Civil Code. The sentence implies the publication of the sentence in the forms of law.

How to recognize licensed real estate agents

But how do you recognize a real estate agent and understand if who you are dealing with is a professional or a non-licensed real estate agent?

  • Check that the form that is submitted to you for the sales assignment or the purchase proposal is signed by the real estate agent who actually deals with the deal, and not by the legal representative of the company if he is not present at the appointments;
  • never sign blank forms;
  • you demand that the agent who followed you in the visits and appointments also deals personally with all the bureaucratic and legal aspects related to mediation, otherwise you have the right not to pay him anything, since this person is not authorized to carry out the activity that is actually exercising;
  • if everything seems to go up to the notarial deed, still check that he is qualified as a real estate agent, ask for the registration number in the REA (Administrative Economic Repertoire) and check for yourself at the competent Chamber of Commerce that the number and registration provided are regular and that he is actually registered as a real estate agent and not for any other reason;
  • to deepen the information and know all the data relating to the company, agent, or real estate agency, it will be good to request the chamber of commerce registration. The document provides information of various kinds, for example:
    .

    1. the registered office
    2. the Ateco code
    3. the date of establishment and start of business
    4. the share capital, in the case of joint-stock companies
    5. the shareholders and their shares
    6. directors, offices and qualifications

So, in case you find that the real estate agent who is following you or who proposes to follow you is an abusive real estate agent, you can take these steps:

  • immediately abandon any activity you are carrying out or that he proposes to do with him and go in search of a real estate agent duly licensed to the profession;
  • report for civic duty a real estate agent not authorized to the Chamber of Commerce of your Province, as you would report and you would certainly not rely on your doctor or your dentist if you discover that they are not graduates, also to avoid others running into problems;
  • in the event that you have already concluded a negotiation with an abusive real estate agent, assert your right not to recognize the mediation for the concluded negotiation. In the event that the real estate agent who is negotiating the sale or search of your property is a non-licensed real estate agent, he is not entitled to any commission.

The commission

In fact, the right to commission at the conclusion of a deal belongs only to those who are registered with the Chamber of Commerce and practice as a real estate agent on a regular basis. All this was confirmed by a sentence of the Court of Cassation.

Anyone who mediates the sale of a property as a business agent has no right to any mediation. The business finder will only be able to communicate news of potential business to qualified real estate agents (or to people interested in a sale) and be paid for the deal procured only by the party favored by the information provided.

How to report abusive real estate agents

The trade association FIAIP (Italian Federation of Professional Real Estate Agents) has created UNAF, the FIAIP National Anti-Abuse Office, with the aim of combating the phenomenon and providing assistance to users. The office collects the reports and forwards them to the competent offices, submitting a formal complaint to the competent authorities which are the competent Chambers of Commerce to which the documentation could be forwarded as an alternative.

In order to start the procedure it is necessary that the reports contain:

  • the particulars of the alleged abusive real estate agents;
  • a detailed and detailed statement of the facts;
  • evidence in support of the report (documents, photographs, web pages, witnesses, copy of the purchase/lease proposal, copy of the conferral of the mediation assignment, copy of business cards, advertising on the internet and/or newspapers, etc. ).

How to proceed:

  • fill in the form on the official FIAIP website;
  • send the form to the email address unaf@fiaip.it;
  • alternatively, send to FIAIP – UNAF Office (piazzale Flaminio, 9 – 00196 Rome, RM).

Once the complaint has been received, the investigation is started with the establishment of a written cross-examination between the parties and the completion of all the official investigations, also with the help of the administrative police.

The procedure can be concluded with:

  • administrative sanctions against abusive subjects;
  • report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office;
  • administrative sanctions for the use of non-compliant forms and/or not filed with the Chamber of Commerce;
  • disciplinary sanctions against the registered subject where conduct that does not comply with professional ethics is found;
  • filing, in the case of the groundlessness of the complaint.

Types of licensed real estate agents

The profession of licensed real estate agents has changed a lot. Recent reforms are the result of an ongoing change that was unstoppable. What hasn’t changed is the need to network, create, maintain and develop relationships with various professionals. Qualified real estate agents have had to evolve in order not to become extinct, so they have had to focus a lot on their training. With the training came knowledge, especially technological. Then a world of enormous possibilities opened up.

Hence the need to specialize. Each agent directs his skills and knowledge in one direction. The effective and persuasive communicator, with a professional history behind him, rooted in the territory and a beautiful office, will be the one who will find his strength in making acquisitions, obtaining exclusive mandates, preparing properties for sale, making renderings and presentations. This is the acquirer broker or acquirer agency. These licensed real estate agents work with landlords and want to sell properties, focus on real estate and develop web marketing strategies in order to attract as many buyers as possible, they are not afraid to indicate the exact location of a property because they are the strength and pride of their exclusive mandate. In the event of a sale, they have no problem reaching out to their network of more customer-focused agents, certain that their share of the commission is not remotely questioned.

More dynamic and enterprising licensed real estate agents, without much story to tell but with great skills, culture and training, who have traveled the world and know how to focus properly on other markets, specialize in finding customers. The best of those looking for real estate is the licensed real estate agents “Sellers”, who work and look after the buyers, are agents specialized in selling with one person at a time. They are able to listen to the needs, the most detailed, they count on showing a single property, perfect from every point of view and the location or neighborhood in which it is located, but they need to know what to look for. These new agents have understood how to adapt to changes and above all they have had to learn to network, to collaborate. They are the children of MLS, of Multiple Listing Service Listings but also of boutique agencies or boutique real estate firms.

The new licensed real estate agents know that they are no longer the only repositories of information. The web has literally put the power of information in the hands of customers, especially when sales have become generational with Millennials. Today the promotion is not played only on the property for sale, but first of all on personal branding. The personal skills and abilities of licensed real estate agents matter. Today the agent is no longer an intermediary, but a real expert consultant in problem-solving for the achievement of the objectives that revolve around the purchase of a property.

Two sides of the same coin, both on the web but also well rooted in the territory in the opposite way. Capillarity and interconnection of a personal consultant. Therefore no longer an agent equidistant from seller and buyer, who takes commissions from both parties, but a consultant who takes care of the interests of only one side of the negotiation.

Among these two figures, the one that stands out most is the seller known in the Anglo-Saxon world as a property finder, flat hunter, home hunter, in the United States as a buyer broker or exclusive buyer agent, in Canada and France as a chasseur d’appartement.

Real estate broker

If you are a very busy person, with very specific ideas about the property you want but do not have time to carry out an exhausting search, well, for some years now you can count on a new professional figure: the real estate broker. The broker is a consultant who looks for a house on behalf of clients according to specific needs and only after finding it he presents it to him. The client explains his needs to the broker and, on behalf of the latter, he will look for the properties available on the market.

A broker stands out for its seriousness, professionalism and excellent collaborations with other qualified professionals in the sector.

The broker is a figure in today’s world of work, an organized manager of himself, with an excellent culture, above all technology, enthusiasm, tenacity, the ability to find potential high-end customers and manage sales in a brilliant way.

The client of a broker expects to know perfectly the area in which he will live and for this reason, his professional figure must have extensive skills.

Brokers are fully licensed real estate agents who work for only one party, the customer and offer the latter the opportunity to save time in wrong searches. The interface with all the professionals who will lead them to conclude the deal and above all they will deal with the banks. They will also take care of contacting the banks and understanding the best mortgage solutions.

The broker, unlike a normal agent, must satisfy the economic and moral needs of fewer parties, possess more in-depth knowledge on real estate investments and the banking financial world.

How to find qualified real estate agents on WeAgentz

If you have carefully read our “bible” regarding licensed real estate agents, to know who they are, how to recognize them, what are the precautions you must pay attention to when you are in front of a mediator (or presumed such), you will know without a doubt juggle as best you can in a possible face-to-face with one of these professionals?

We at WeAgentz in fact are so convinced of the various advantages that the consumer can derive in being followed by a licensed real estate agent, who knows how to do his job at best by accompanying the customer in the tortuous path of buying and selling, as on the contrary we are – alas – aware of the obstacles and “rip-offs” that could be hidden behind the meeting of a self-styled real estate agent, which could cost dearly to the user of an incorrect and far from perfect service.

Now that you have everything you need to recognize real agents, WeAgentz runs further to your aid, providing you with a web platform entirely dedicated to licensed real estate agents, their skills, and specializations, highlighting their background and experience in the sector. real estate broker, the cities and areas of expertise, the modus operandi in daily activities and a myriad of other information useful to the consumer, all with the utmost transparency and meritocracy.

We have also thought, to give all agents the same possibilities and to act as a transparent platform and outside the parties, to allow all authorized real estate agents to register for free on the portal, thus avoiding any inequalities between payers and non-paying, both with regard to the quantity and quality of information. All this with a view, as mentioned, to offer the consumer a truly transparent and super partes service.

So how to find real estate agents on WeAgentz?

The search bar on the homepage of the website https://weagentz.com/ allows you to search for real estate agents who operate in your city, or in the one where you are interested in getting in touch with a local real estate consultant. It is also possible to enter a series of parameters according to which to improve the search for the perfect broker for your needs within an advanced search form, which allows you to limit the search carried out with specific filters such as specializations, activities carried out and services offered. , languages ​​are spoken, years of experience in the sector, name of the agent or real estate agency, possible membership of MLS or trade associations and so on.

At this point, the user will find himself in front of a list of real estate agents, which he can compare with each other in order to find the perfect consultant to rely on and entrust one of the most materially precious assets of his life: the house.

You can take advantage of this platform functionality for free to carry out geo-localized searches in the Municipality where you reside or in the one in which you are interested in selling, buying or renting a property: to start getting familiar with this tool, for example, search for agents real estate in Milan, or real estate agents in Rome, then refine your search by entering other parameters.

And how to know if they are real estate agents licensed to practice the profession?

In order to provide the service with the maximum possible transparency, we have thought of a method that would remove any doubts and that would provide a definitive and decisive answer to this question. To do this, we have taken on the task of checking the actual registration of the real estate agent at the Chamber of Commerce of their own province, for those real estate agents who have chosen to get involved by creating their Agent Profile and send us their updated Chamber of Commerce registration.

We are talking about the Verified Agent Profile, which you will find in the list of real estate agents on WeAgentz marked with a green button and which assures the consumer that that consultant is a qualified real estate agent.

However, this does not mean that real estate agents who have an unverified Agent Profile are abusive, indeed we are sure that this is not the case since at the time of registration the professionals accept a series of measures and sign a self-certification in which they declare to be agents. licensed real estate. Except that for the WeAgentz staff it would be too expensive – in terms of time but also economic – to go and download the chamber of commerce registration of each registered real estate agent.

Now that you also know how to find real estate agents online on the WeAgentz portal, you have more than enough knowledge to make the best choice of the perfect real estate consultant for you. So you just have to trust and entrust yourself!

sell a house quickly

 How to sell a house quickly (for real estate agents)

Let’s face it right away: selling a house quickly is not easy, despite the real or alleged recovery that the Italian real estate sector has been experiencing in recent years. Precisely for this reason, we have decided to seriously investigate this topic and give you some useful advice to improve the approach to selling, in order to place the properties of your real estate agency faster and perhaps even at a higher price.

To sell a house quickly, lowering the price is not necessarily the right move, as many might think. On the contrary, those who sell real estate should think of property not as a house, but as a normal product to be promoted and enhanced on the market, according to the laws that the latter imposes.

When this happens, the odds of selling your home quickly, and possibly at a good price, are far greater.

All the moves to sell a house quickly

We have decided to give you some tips that could help you sell your house quickly, making the most of each of the houses you have for sale in your real estate portfolio, and therefore shortening the waiting times before you can place them at the highest bidder.

Optimize Home Staging

L ‘ Home Staging has proved in recent years, rapid and inexpensive method to increase the appeal of a property and to promote the sale. In this article, we will talk about how to do it in the most effective way possible to sell your house quickly.

First of all, it is necessary to remove all the small items that the seller has around the house, such as photos and various collections. In short, to operate a sort of ” strategic decluttering ” in view of the visits of potential customers.

After that, check every single room and determine if there are any extra pieces of furniture that can be removed. The key to optimizing home staging lies precisely in cleaning up, and therefore putting oneself in the perspective of thinking “ less is more ”. Buyers want to see large rooms where they can imagine their life. The more things there are, the harder it will be for them to identify with a new reality.

“Cleaning up” makes the rooms more spacious and this makes the house appear more interesting in the eyes of a potential buyer. Old memorabilia, photos, and artwork, for example, can represent distractions. On the contrary, eliminating them allows your potential buyer to portray in their mind what it would be like to live in that property.

Make the house interesting, not a work of art.

Putting home staging techniques into practice is not yet very common among real estate agents, as it is considered non-priority and too expensive. However, according to the results of research reported at HOMI 2017, in Italy home staging reduces the average time spent on the market by 4 times, even allowing, in 23% of cases, to sell a house within a month. .

Furthermore, it is important to think about Home Staging by extending it to everything possible buyers see before entering the house. In fact, the first thing people see about a property is its surroundings, be it the parking lot or the courtyard. The first impression, unfortunately, or fortunately, always has a significant effect on the interest of the buyer, and that is why when a buyer parks the car in front of the house, he will already have the first idea that it will then be difficult to make him change.

Think about it.

In knowing a new person, however good we ourselves may be at suspending judgment, unconsciously we will still tend to label them positively or negatively.

The first impression is everything, and the visit of a property is so short and fleeting that it requires attention to every little detail.

A practical example. In case you want to sell your house quickly and it has a courtyard, it will be essential, to give a positive first impression, to remove weeds, dead leaves and to keep the plants.

New plants, shrubs or other greenery can obviously add considerable value to the yard in terms of visual effect, but you will logically have to try to use a reasonable budget for the realization and leave big projects alone unless they are strictly necessary.

Ultimately, in order to sell a house quickly, a well-kept frame helps to give visitors a good impression, and this will heavily influence the interest of the buyers when they actually enter the house.

This phenomenon has been studied in psychology and has been renamed the halo effect or halo effect.

Clean, clean and clean

The value of good cleaning, inside and out, is invaluable. Start outside the house after setting up around. Cleaning the walls well and washing the windows is a good start.

If the seller is thinking of repainting the walls to sell the house faster, first inspect the site to see for himself what condition they are in: often removing the dirt is enough to improve their appearance.

Inside the house, the owners must remove various dust and dirt from every corner, remembering that the kitchen and the bathroom are the rooms to which people pay the most attention. The more the houses look new, especially in these two rooms, the better the impression of the potential buyer will be.

Why give the impression of having to go through a grueling renovation once you have bought the property? In most cases, buyers like to visit a house that appears to be in perfect condition: a house that they can already move into .

The more the potential buyer will perceive this sensation during his visit, the greater his propensity to buy it without waiting.

Reshape or improve

A greater return comes from smaller improvements: new ornaments, new paintings and new floors, for example, create a new and fresh look at a reduced cost.

If you want to take a further step, you can improve appliances, systems and fixtures. These improvements will make the house look new and therefore more attractive, which will help you sell it quickly.

More expensive improvements, such as renovating the kitchen or bathroom, should only be considered if you deem them indispensable. While this type of work will help sell faster, it can take a long time to get it done, as well as making the process too burdensome. So, think carefully before advising sellers to take this step.

Conversely, small incremental improvements to the kitchen or bathroom are most likely to give you a higher return on your investment. A new sink, a less flashy chandelier or more modern shower curtains are all inexpensive investments that can instantly transform your space.

For example: why invest thousands of euros for a complete renovation of the kitchen, when you can spend less than a thousand euros for a new and functional set of appliances? Small interventions can have a big impact.

Of the small incremental improvements of the kitchen or bathroom, they are the ones most likely to grant you a greater return on investment

It also takes care of the light. A dark or dimly lit house is unlikely to make a big impression. Pull back the curtains and let the sunlight up all the rooms, also use artificial lights if necessary, to give a lively look to the rooms.

Invest in professional photos and go for it with marketing

Given the difficulty in obtaining exclusive sales deals, some agents tend to post unclear and professional photos to minimize the risk of losing valuable commissions.

This is a problem that can create discomfort, as well as prejudice, not only in our own customers but also and above all by foreign customers, who often consider it irritating and time wasters.

For this reason, if you want to sell a house quickly, it is important to effectively manage the marketing.

Basically, having arrived first, the competing agents for the acquisition of that property will find themselves as high barriers to entry, the greater your ability to make an ad professional. This obviously also includes certain professionalism in the photoshoot.

With a large chunk of buyers looking online for their dream home, investing in a professional photographer to produce high-quality images is key to attracting buyers and selling homes faster at a better price.

Furthermore, doing good online and offline marketing, as we have often reiterated, makes a difference in how buyers imagine a home initially seen on the web. The integration of these two channels is essential: make sure that buyers see only professional photos both on real estate portals and in the MLSs with which you advertise your properties.

Entertain your prospects with storytelling.

Storytelling is a very powerful weapon to grab attention: think it’s even part of our DNA.

For your potential client, buying a house also means establishing an emotional relationship with the place: make it dream.

The neighborhoods and villages of our country lend themselves perfectly to the purpose: we are a country rich in stories, anecdotes and historical-artistic events. Not to mention uses, customs, and culinary traditions. So why not delight your potential client with some small anecdote expertly mixed with the various architectural and purely technical features of the property? This will help make them less cold and more appealing.

Do not forget to implement the best SEO techniques to give visibility to your property on search engines and therefore be able to sell the house quickly.

Even the local SEO strategies can be exploited strategically to get visibility. On the other hand, users tend to add the location in which they are looking for a property, for example, “houses for rent in Florence”: so why not take advantage of this opportunity?

A 3D Real Estate Virtual Tour to amazing your potential customers

Admit it, 3D Virtual Tours are very fascinating from the point of view of the User Experience. Especially for operators in the sector, it is always special to see every corner of the property being dealt with virtualized in 3D.

If we also consider that the Virtual Reality market is destined to reach 25 billion dollars in value by 2021, there is reason to believe that this type of content will be consumed more and more by users. In this regard, we have carried out interviews with the founders of Realisti.co and Sferical, startups that concretize the technology linked to virtual tours for real estate agencies.

Using a 3D camera it is now possible to literally “stitch” an entire property and make it virtually open to visitors, directly on your ad. At that point, it doesn’t matter how far away your potential client is : he will have an excellent tool at his disposal that will help him get a first idea of ​​the property. This will help you have a very powerful weapon to be able to sell your house quickly.

Another really interesting technology that could help you present the property for sale better and without wasting time is the one offered by CubiCasa, an application that allows you to create a floor plan of any property in a few minutes, using only the smartphone.

Go beyond the simple Video Tour, use a drone

In recent years we have been witnessing the explosion of Video Tours shot with the use of drones. In reality, it must be said that this type of content is now a reality in the Anglo-Saxon world, where Video Tours by drones are particularly effective for advertising not only properties outside the city but also condominium apartments.

It is not difficult to imagine why this type of shooting is more and more frequent in real estate ads. Presenting your property with a drone makes the Tour much more captivating and allows you to show not only the surrounding landscapes but also details of the property that would be difficult to show with a simple photo shoot.

Thanks to this kind of shooting, your client will be able to get a more complete idea and will also be able to perceive in a more intuitive way the context in which the property is immersed, all directly from home. This will make the difference when he has to decide whether to visit your property or that of your competitor.

Don’t forget about the Millennials

The Millennials, or Generation Y, in Italy are 11 million and they are the target that in recent years is entering the real estate market for the purchase of properties. You certainly don’t want to be caught unprepared for this new type of customer?

The expectations of this target are very different from those of Baby Boomers. By the way, we made an article about new real estate buyers: the Millennials.

According to a survey by Immobiliare.it, 67% of the real estate offer on the market today does not coincide with the needs of Millennials.

The reason? 50% of the properties in Italy require maintenance and renovation, and it is clear that a generation raised with certain media models (the result of films, TV series, video games, etc.) has in mind an idea of ​​a house with a modern and functional.

For such a flexible and highly mobile generation, the concept of experience has become central. It is no coincidence that Millennials are great aperitif lovers and consider smoking an opportunity for sharing and socializing, and no longer a status symbol like the Baby Boomers.

data searches real estate online

If the concepts of experience, sharing and socialization are so important for Millennials, the kitchen and the living room will be the spaces to enhance and focus on, to quickly sell a property to this target. Replacing and modernizing obsolete furniture and creating an ad hoc Open Space arrangement for social moments are two of the most used low-cost solutions.

Improving energy efficiency helps you speed up the sale

Thinking about energy efficiency also means considering the possibility of having to make important changes to the property. Nowadays, buyers are much more sensitive not only to environmental and resource-saving issues but also and above all to save on their bills.

Equipping the property with solar panels, sensors or consumption monitoring systems such as a simple digital thermostat, or installing soundproofing panels in the living room, will immediately catch the eye of the potential buyer, allowing you to increase the selling price and your margin. the final. Everything must obviously be implemented without losing sight of the starting budget.

Put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyer: it would be quite impressive to be able to experience significant annual energy savings by showing the bill receipts with the consumption of the property before and after the changes made!

These are the facts that will convince him.

To help you achieve this, you can periodically take a look at the new IoT trends for monitoring and saving households.

Optimize your online presence and your reputation: in one word, do Personal Branding!

The more your professional figure and that of your agency enjoy a good online reputation, the more interested users will be convinced to contact you.

When we interviewed Gianluca Lo Stimolo, an expert in Personal Branding, he confided in us the most frequent mistake that real estate agents often make: focusing too much on the product, in this case, the properties, to the total detriment of the person, who is “snubbed” in most cases.

Having a good reputation is what has always characterized a good Real Estate Agent, especially in the last century, when most of the new clients arrived thanks to offline word of mouth.

But today, offline reputation alone is no longer enough.

Investing time in the development of your Personal Brand in the real estate market ( here we also talked about it with Gerardo Paterna ), pausing and learning to juggle the use of new technologies, is the best investment you can make in the era of Reputation Economy, the current historical period characterized by the convergence of online, offline and personal branding reputation, which becomes fundamental components of the image of a professional.

WeAgentz is the first online showcase in Italy for real estate agents qualified to practice the profession, defined by Il Sole 24 Ore as “the TripAdvisor of Real Estate Agents”.

Choose the right price

A good real estate agent will analyze recent sales and select a price that is suitable for the property for sale, to encourage buyers to bid and thereby try to sell the house quickly.

Defining the price of a house is not like defining a price for a car or a TV: what buyers ultimately pay often differs from the list price, and you know this better than we do.

In most markets, the best strategy for attracting buyers is to price slightly below the real market value.

This often generates numerous offers, which will compete with each other and allow you to sell the house quickly and at a higher price. On the contrary, setting a price too high from the beginning risks leaving your property in the ads for months. In addition to this, exaggerating the selling prices, thus making the properties out of price and far away from market prices, will negatively affect your reputation as a real estate agent, putting you in a bad light both towards more professional colleagues – who will probably keep themselves in the dark. away from possible collaborations with your agency – both at the level of perception of you as a professional by potential clients.

The reason the process described works is that the lower price makes the house visible to more buyers, who will therefore consider it a real bargain.

Another strategy is that which exploits what in the field of neuromarketing is defined as the ” anchoring effect “, that is the tendency of a consumer, in the decision-making phase, to rely excessively on the first information given to him, perceiving an excessive value and totally unjustified of a product or service.

You can take advantage of this effect by raising the first proposed price, with the aim of increasing the perceived value of the property among the public.

Once entered into the negotiation phase, the potential buyer will have the perception of having made a real bargain, saving compared to what he believed to be the true value of the property

When one of these pricing strategies is combined with all the previous steps, buyers will see a great home, in perfect condition, at an affordable price. Without a doubt, they will want to make an offer!

In conclusion?

In conclusion, the three key factors for selling a home quickly are home staging, cleaning and/or remodeling, professional marketing. Taking all three of these factors into consideration will increase the speed at which the house will be sold, and at the same time will contribute to increasing the perceived value of the property, with natural upward repercussions on the price.

You just have to roll up your sleeves and go for it.

GDPR

GDPR and privacy for real estate agents: data processing

Privacy is important for all of us, everyone should safeguard it especially in the workplace.

A modern real estate agent cannot afford to underestimate this aspect of his daily life, finding himself in contact with the personal data of his clients on several occasions and with the most varied facets.

Therefore, the correct processing of data becomes a must for the mediator, even more so by virtue of the stringent privacy regulations that have followed in recent years, up to the introduction of the much-discussed GDPR.

Normative requirements

Italy is a country that has always been at the forefront with regard to privacy regulations, think of the Code regarding the protection of personal data, also commonly known as the “privacy code”, or the Legislative Decree no. 196 of 30 June 2003, in force since 1 January 2004.

 

The introduction of the famous GDPR

As is known, on 4 May 2016 the European Regulation 679 was published in Italy, in full General Data Protection Regulation, known as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), a European Union regulation on the processing of personal data and privacy.

After a period of about two years for all companies in order to adapt, on 25 May 2018 the privacy legislation officially came into force and the right to privacy has thus become a fundamental right: in Italy, the Legislative Decree 101 of 10 August 2018 sanctioned a sanctioning truce and on May 20, 2019 the first checks and sanctions began.

Finally, after other small truces, from January 2020 the verification and control activities on privacy regulations are at full capacity in our country.

What is personal data?

The regulations enacted in recent years have meant that there is no longer privacy protection for legal persons, but only for individuals. In fact, personal data is nothing more than any direct or indirect element, capable of identifying a natural person.

Real estate agents are often convinced that in their daily work, they should not become aware of the sensitive data of people and therefore that they should not comply with current regulations, but beware: the current legislation does not only speak of sensitive data but of all personal data, therefore relating to natural persons residing within the European Union.

The list of personal data according to European legislation

These data cannot be processed without the consent of the interested parties and we are talking about:

  • Data of minors (Article 8 of the GDPR);
  • Particular data (Article 9) or former sensitive data, to which biometric data such as fingerprint, particular facial features, data on political and sexual orientation have been added;
  • Judicial data (Article 10), which concern criminal convictions and offenses.

While common personal data can be processed according to different conditions of lawfulness, as regards the three categories set out above, the data can only be processed with the free and express consent of the interested party.

What is meant by the processing of personal data

The processing of personal data is any operation or set of operations carried out on personal data, therefore relating to natural persons. This means that if my mailing list, for example, collects the e-mail addresses of legal persons, I am not obliged to respect any privacy constraints.

When you receive an email containing personal data, the processing of the same must already begin, even if the real estate agency does not collect that data: this is why any real estate agent should comply with current regulations.

When is the treatment lawful?

One of the main requirements to understand if you are treating a data in the correct way is that of lawfulness: a treatment is lawful only and exclusively if you have a legitimate reason to process it. 

For example, the mandate to sell or rent a property received from the owner already justifies the processing of that person’s data, in the event that the latter’s signature is present in the consent to treatment. In fact, it is not sufficient to provide the owner with information on the processing of data, but the relative consent must be made explicit and therefore signed.

Practical and concrete examples in the daily life of a real estate agent

The publication of an advertisement for the sale or rental of a property on a real estate portal by an agency, in the event that the publication of the photographs of the same is also envisaged, requires the express consent to the processing of the principal’s data.

Similarly, consent is required in the event that an email marketing campaign is to be carried out on a database of leads, who therefore must consent to the sending of advertising material via email by the real estate agency.

In the event that the data of potential customers are collected on social networks, it is possible to contact them only if they have expressly agreed to be contacted by the agency, otherwise any attempt to contact is illegal.

The purpose of the data processing

Another fundamental requirement is that of the limitation of the purpose: if the data of a natural person have been collected for a specific purpose, obviously with the express authorization of the interested party, it is not possible to use those same data for a different purpose.

This means that if a client in the past has signed an assignment for the sale of a property to a real estate agent, the same mediator will not be able to contact him again in the future through a marketing action to propose an investment or another property to buy. Likewise, signing on a visit sheet does not justify being able to contact that person again for real estate proposals.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to be in good faith and act in the interest of that customer, but in order not to incur sanctions or disputes, it is necessary to act in any case within the framework of legality.

Obviously, what is legal or illegal is not the marketing tool that is used, such as management software, a CRM or software for sending newsletters, but the methods of acquisition, management and storage of the leads that are then loaded on their tools, to be used finally for web marketing campaigns.

Who are the privacy members

It is important to define who intervenes within the privacy system of your real estate agency, i.e. all the figures involved in this process:

  • The data controller, which is the real estate agency in the (physical) person of the owner;
  • The person in charge of the treatment, or the person who works on behalf of the data controller, such as a business agent with VAT number or a real estate agent other than the owner;
  • Authorized persons, i.e. agency staff, who have received specific training in data processing by the owner.

Who is the external processor

The data controller, in practice, could receive personal data directly from customers who enter the agency, from a colleague, from a real estate ad portal.

Subsequently, he entrusts the data received to a VAT number collaborator, defined as an “external processing manager” through a written mandate or a document signed by the owner. In this case, the processing will be bound to the assignment entrusted by the owner and will not have any other purpose than the one commissioned, such as eg. show the apartment you are visiting or post the ad on some real estate portals.

When the collaborator, on behalf of the data controller, acquires the data of the people who must view the property, he does so by means of the forms that the data controller has already produced with the customer, and consequently can act independently with that same customer.

The obligations by the data controller

To comply with this type of relationship with your collaborator, the real estate agent responsible for the treatment, therefore:

  • Must acquire from the customer the authorization to process the data
  • He has to handle it properly
  • He must have defined a practical organizational model in the company to determine who is in charge of what
  • It must have established in advance what are the minimum security measures within the real estate agency (through the principle of accountability or responsibility of the data controller with regard to the protection of privacy)
  • He must have appointed the employee responsible for the treatment by providing him with the information in writing

With regard to the method of transmission and acquisition of information to customers, instant messaging apps such as Messenger or Whatsapp should be avoided, preferring more suitable methods such as the transmission via email or better via pec of communications containing the reference via link to an ad hoc information notice contained within its website.

For sending to the customer, the form can be the classic one written on paper, with an authentic signature at the bottom, or the digital signature obviously remains very valid in the case of electronic sending, to have the maximum protection in the proof of transmission of the information.

The case of receiving personal data from a portal

On the other hand, when a transfer of personal data is received from a real estate ad portal, from an MLS or other types of platforms, the authorization to process the data lies with the portal itself, which originally acquired the data. and is, therefore, the owner of the treatment of the same.

In this case, the real estate agent can act without presenting any type of information to customers, but it is obvious that he will have to process the data received exclusively for the purposes for which the data were transmitted to him.

When and if the lead or prospect received becomes a contact and therefore could become a potential customer, it would be advisable to have him also sign his own information.

But beware of the reverse case, that is, the one in which we want to transfer the contacts in our possession to third parties, such as colleagues, business brokers, and collaborators, to MLS: it must be borne in mind that in this case, for the passage of contacts, it is necessary that they have given their consent to the transfer of their data to third parties. Therefore, always pay attention to the purpose of the treatment!

Is it possible to delegate the ownership of the treatment to an external party?

We know: real estate agents, especially agency owners, are very busy. It is certainly possible to delegate someone to deal with the processing of the data, and therefore to appoint him/her responsible for the treatment, but the ownership remains with the person who acquired the data.

At that point, however, it is normally necessary to follow the chain of communications between the owner, the managers and all the sub-managers: the owner must be able to understand at any time where the customer’s data is and to delete it at the request of the customer.

Data processing by a third party real estate agent

In the event that a real estate agent finds himself dealing with a client’s data transferred by a collaborative agency, the latter will have to submit to him a liability contract limited to that specific client, or generic in the case of continuous collaboration.

At that point, the controller will act on that client either through the authorized persons within their agency, or directly, or through the sub-processors. The important thing is that the data controller is informed by the person in charge of the path of the personal data transmitted.

The obligations regarding the information

The regulatory obligations concern 4 levels:

  • Organizational model of privacy, i.e. the formalization of documents such as the organization chart, relations with third parties, storage times and specific training.
  • Formal adaptation, i.e. appointments, disclosures, consents, keeping the treatment register.
  • Risk management, which consists of IT and logistical security measures to be adopted in the agency such as pseudonymization, encryption, anonymization and tokenization; periodic vulnerability assessment; DPIA; privacy by design or by default.
  • Updating and control, such as procedures, policies and periodic audits to be completed and documented to show the methods of surveillance of managers and appointees.

To be “compliance” with current legislation, the information must not only be correct from a formal point of view but also accurately reflect the organizational structure of the real estate agency.

The owner and the data processors must be able to demonstrate the effective adoption, according to the accountability principle, of measures aimed at applying the regulation, and this is possible only if upstream there is a document that precisely defines the whole process.

What are the rights of the customers?

The data controller must obligatorily respond within one month to all privacy requests received, and by doing so he can extend the time to fulfill the request up to three months if this provides for longer resolution times.

The GDPR has introduced some fundamental rights for data subjects:

  1.       Art. 15. The customer has the right to access their data: what are the data that the real estate agency is processing, what are the purposes, where the data were acquired, as well as the lawfulness to process them.
  2.       Art. 16. The customer also has the right to object, as he may request, except for legal obligations or for reasons that have greater importance than that of the protection of privacy, the opposition to the processing of data, such as eg. the request to stop receiving the agency’s newsletters.
  3.       Art. 17. Another fundamental right of the customer is the right to be forgotten or to cancel their data.
  4.       Art. 18. Right to limit the processing of data, in the event of opposition, unlawful processing, dispute: this means that the interested party has the right to have his data used limited to what is necessary for the purposes of conservation.
  5.       Art. 20. Right to data portability: the interested party has the right to receive, in a readable format, the personal data concerning him provided to a data controller, as well as the right to transmit such data to another without impediments data controller.

The risks in case of failure to respect the right to privacy

It should be borne in mind by the data controller that anyone can contact the Privacy Guarantor in a very simple and completely free way, by submitting a complaint without the help of a lawyer on the appropriate website. The Guarantor at that point is required to verify and take any measures.

The penalties provided for in the event of non-compliance with the regulations on the GDPR and unlawful processing can be very high, leading to criminal provisions that also include imprisonment.

In light of this, after having treated the subject with such specificity, you have no more excuses, all that remains is to adapt to the legislation on the GDPR: real estate agent warned, real estate agent saved!