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Paying to be allowed to bid on a house is Spain

Pago señal para hacer offerta

The email below was sent to me by a couple who are busy purchasing an apartment in Spain. The agent in Spain made a strange request. Read the story.

Dear Rinus,

I have read various topics from your website about buying a house in Spain. Good and clear information, by the way.

We live in the Netherlands and plan to buy an apartment in Spain, in the town of Roquetas on the Costa Almeria. We want to live there for 6 to 9 months a year in the future.

Through an email, I made an offer for an apartment in Roquetas de Mar. The asking price for the apartment is 195,000€.

I then received the following reply from the Spanish agent::

Sorry I can't speak your language. I hope we can communicate in English.

The sellers would take into consideration an offer with a deposit of 1000€. If they accept it, the deposit will be part of the price; if not, I will give it back to you. If they accept it and you don't go ahead, I would have let them have the 1000€

Please let me know when you would like to visit this property.



We do not want to make a mistake and want to prepare well before buying a house in Spain.

Our question is.

Why do we first have to pay an amount to the Spanish agent before the seller takes our bid into consideration?

Awaiting your response,


Corry and Peter van der Weegen

Hi Corry and Peter,

Selection system of the Spanish banks

This way of taking a bid seriously has made this Spanish agent look a bit like the Spanish banks that sell houses from their own portfolio. The Spanish banks started this once to make a selection between the serious bidders and people who make an offer and then no longer respond.

Strange request from the Spanish estate agent

With a bank, I can understand this because they receive a huge amount of bids. The banks use this system to separate the wheat from the chaff. But with an estate agent in Spain who occasionally gets a bid on a property and asks for something like that, I find it strange.

Recently I have received more and more questions about this topic. So it seems that the estate agents in Spain are acting in a similar way.

As I read it now in your mail, the agent will only pass on your bid to the owner if you make that payment.

If the bid is too low, you should get your money back

If the selling owner agrees with your bid, the 1000€ will be settled with the purchase price. If the seller does not accept your bid, you will be refunded the amount.

In case the selling owner agrees with your bid for the apartment in Spain, but you do not proceed with the purchase, so do not buy, the agent does not return the 1000€.

If you do not continue to purchase this property in Spain without reason, while the seller agrees with your bid, he will not return the payment.

This is where your risk lies

But suppose that during the check in the purchasing process you come across something that is not in order.

I will give a few examples - the surface area of the house differs; there is no certificate of habitability or there is a seizure of the house. In short, with closer inspection you can come across anything. In that case, you must of course have the certainty that you will get the money back.

The best solution

Before you make the first payment you must first be able to view more documentation for the property, so that you can check in advance that there are no surprises.


Another possibility is that you receive a document signed by the seller. That document states that if further investigation reveals facts that prevent you from continuing with the purchase, the payment of 1000€ made will be refunded to you.

Where I find the advance check a better option is that you can always reclaim money, but actually receiving it back is much more difficult.

When the time comes you can always contact me. I can check everything for you remotely and possibly talk to the selling agent if you are unable to resolve it.

Greetings, Rinus