Don’t rush in, and talk to the bank and your insurance agent before your even think about property searches. Sounds dull, but it could save money and heartache in the long run. Having established your budget and understood how your insurance agent can help with protection and tax deductions, you may now start looking.
“But hang on a minute, you also told us to watch out for dodgy estate agents,” you might be thinking. This is true, but we also explained how to make sure you find a good one that plays fair. Now we would like to show you that, if you choose, you can bypass the estate agent altogether. How does no agent sound?
NoAgent is the name of an online platform that, “Offers the opportunity to sell, buy or rent a property without an agent and hence, without any commission to pay.” Philippe Linster, CEO of NoAgent talked to Delano about how it works and why it was set up.
“We believe that in Luxembourg, as well as abroad, people should have the choice to decide whether they would like to use a broker for their real estate transaction or not,” Linster explained. “As there was no local platform guiding people through the real estate transaction process, without the assistance of an intermediary and subsequent costs, NoAgent.lu was born in 2016.”
A real estate transaction can be a complex process and NoAgent offers its users guidance and various services that will help to close the deal. “We offer online services such as topping and highlighting of ads, the automatic generation of rental or sales agreements, or the creation of inventory reports including meter readings and key tracking,” Linster explained.
“We also offer ‘offline’ services via our partners and can provide clients with professional pictures, value estimations, property visits, energy certificates or commercial ad boards to be fixed onto the property window,” he added.
Most sales or real estate rentals are still done through a real estate agent. The maximum commission of the real estate agent is 3% of the selling price and remains subject to VAT at the normal rate of 17%. But the jury is out on whether their commission is always justified.
According to Linster:
“In a pre-internet era, the work of a real estate agent surely justified such a commission. But the time has come where the real estate market has also entered the world of digital network business models and everybody can increase his property's exposure thanks to our digital platform.”
“Anyone who wants to work with an estate agent, can still do so,” he continued:
“However, anyone who feels autonomous enough to make the sale or purchase of a property themselves will find all the tools that he might need on the NoAgent platform. Tenants will save 1 month of rent and property owners will save up to 3% commission on the sales price.”
Linster believes that using a platform such as NoAgent is a win-win situation for all involved:
“It’s an advantage for the buyer to negotiate with the seller directly. In those negotiations, the buyer might have more bargaining power as he knows that the seller is saving a substantial amount of commission.”