Circulars and window displays announcing financial incentives. | Elena Ballestero

The president of the API association of real estate agents in the Balearics, Natalia Bueno, has condemned "unfair competition" by which a financial incentive is offered to anyone who can advise estate agents of a property for sale and which is paid once the sale has gone through. In addition to unfair competition, she believes that this promotes the black economy, as "there will surely be no tax" on this payment.

There are examples of 500 euros being offered to individuals who can lead estate agents to potential sales, the methods of publicising this varying from window displays to circulars in letter boxes and on car windscreens. These approaches have come about, it is said, because of a scarcity of houses and flats for sale in Mallorca.

Leaflets seeking properties for sale are far from uncommon, but these are aimed at owners who may be considering a sale. The difference with recent ones is that there is a financial inducement to people with no connection to the property. In Bueno's opinion, "a good real estate professional should not use them". "Property acquisition should focus on offering a quality professional service and not on giving money in exchange for a contact. It is entering a race to see who can give the most."

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Bueno expresses her hope that when the regional registry of real estate agents is approved, this unfair competition will be eliminated, as "we would all be subject to a code of ethics and good practice".