Take the best real estate agencies and sit them side by side with one central database, and what do you get? …The best portfolio of properties on the market, and the same personalized service that a small operation can offer. Such is the LPA.
If you haven’t heard about this liaison yet, you soon will. Take the best real estate agencies and sit them side by side with one central database, and what do you get? …The best portfolio of available properties, coupled with reliable, personalized service. Such is the LPA.
For the past decade, an upsurge of new real estate agents has gatecrashed the Costa del Sol, forcing traditional agents who built up the business, to take a second look at the impending future. Although they would need to take measures to remain competitive, they were reluctant to be bereaved of their long acquired identities by merging into a large, holding company, capable of competing within an increasingly ruthless and insensitive marketplace.
After juggling the pros and cons, the idea of the LPA budded, after Robert Germaux brought together some ‘old school’ names in real estate, to brainstorm over dinner. They came to a common denominator: that there was nothing to lose, and possibly an awful lot to gain, by teaming up to fortify their strengths, namely, a bigger and better property portfolio, without forsaking their identities and personalized service. They realized that if they – the cream of the crop – pooled their resources, given time, they could make a statement that would revolutionize the market.
Multiple Listing has been regulating the U.S. real estate market for years, and it has proved quite handy as a disciplinary body for buyers and agents alike, making the sometimes grisly business of real estate just that little bit less apprehensive. But loopholes in Spanish legislation make it very difficult to transfer effectively to the European marketplace.
If the MLS system can’t be transferred intact, it will have to be tailored to fit the needs and complexities of the Costa del Sol real estate market. So far, two systems, rooted in the MLS, have been born. One is the IN Network and the other the LPA.
The main difference between the two multi-listing systems, lies in the premises by which they will grow. Ian Bateman, co-founder of the LPA and owner of Holmes Property Sales, puts it like this in an article published in Property 123, a Gibraltar-based real estate magazine: “With LPA there is no central company that is going to profit from any two agencies successfully sharing a listing and a purchaser together. The member agencies of LPA have not just to pay an entry fee and ongoing commission and management fees, as do members of the Interagency Network MLS. They must first meet with the strict qualification requirements and be known to operate within pre-set ethical trading standards before they will be accepted into the LPA, and only then will a fee be charged.
Thereafter, the annual fees will be decided by the members, based on the costs of joint operation, etc. It is quite different from paying a percentage fee on every shared listing and sale.”
The In Network is a lucrative venture, run through an independent company. The LPA, on the other hand, is an association made up of Marbella’s most commendable real estate agents, which don’t really need to pool their resources to become big enough to play. They already are, and have been for some time, respected niche players, and they have long and clean business track records to show for it.
The LPA translates into a very demanding group of successful real estate companies that are trying to set new standards on the marketplace. To join, all an agent has to is to live up to those standards.
Article published in the third edition of ‘Costa del Sol Highlights’ showcasing the finest properties in Marbella and on the Costa del Sol, Spain.