Sales staff in real estate do not seem to want to educate themselves and become professionals of the level that is desirable. There are something like 400 registered estate agents around, plus another 270 assistant agents, who are allowed to be involved in sales.

Only registered estate agents and assistant agents can sell, as well as the owners of a property, and the agents should be well educated on the subject. The majority know the basics but not all the important details and buyers and sellers who put their trust in them may face difficulties during and after a sale.

In a recent case, a flat was let by a sales person for six months, but the contract was entered into without two witnesses per party (four in total), required for a lease of less than 12 months, meaning the contract was not valid.

On another occasion a client was promised by an agent that he could build on an agricultural plot of land. The potential buyer came to us for advice, and we told him otherwise. Upon our encouragement he visited the planning office and was informed that he would need a ’deviation’ from the zone in order to build, which involves a never-ending procedure of a doubtful success.

Others, including developers, who are eager to make permanent residency visa deals, declare that permanent residency visa holders can travel in all EU countries without visa. This is wrong, visas would still be required for EU countries.

These are a few simple examples. It is amazing what some agents come up with and the misinformation they spread.

Some agencies have sales staff with no salary that take a 50 per cent commission with all sales expenses being charged to them. The end result is indifference and a high staff turnover, with constant newcomers with little knowledge.

Basic knowledge for the sales staff is a must as is a higher level of knowledge for the supervisors.

There are many complicated issues when dealing with property. For example, regarding 19 per cent VAT, there are cases in which this may not apply. If a plot of land has a building on, it might only be subject to 10 per cent VAT. This depends on the zone the property is in and how big an area the buidling covers.

Things are also constantly subject to change. If we come back to the residency visas, for example, the parameters are changing as are the requirements for securing them. For this reason sales staff must be kept up to date.

Agents should also make clear to buyers whether a property has a title or not.

When dealing with a comprehensive development project with common expenses and so on, sales staff is recommended to look into the balance sheet of the project and the general agreement. Many do not bother with this.

These are many matters of importance which may be neglected by some agents. For this reason my office has recently extended its education programme (ALA Academy) by introducing a series of seminars regarding real estate topics, including statutory tenancy, common expenses regulations, buildings insurance and so on.

The market is moving upwards for urban properties, and matters get a bit lose, making strict control of the sales process ever more important.

Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Appraisers & Development Project Managers,, [email protected]