Good agencies charge only the seller for their services. However, the seller can transfer the cost to the buyer by raising the price. The agent's commission is usually about 2.5-3% of the purchase cost, but you should always bargain with your agent.
Although using an agent may be good for those who don´t have time, many real estate specialists advise double-checking all the information you receive from the agencies (e.g. in land registers). You still have to devote some time to doing your own research, or else a company can easily cheat you.
If you decide to look for a property on your own, you may realize that the majority of adverts on the internet leads to agencies, which means it is quite hard to avoid them.
To find a real estate agent, you can consult the Polish Yellow Pages.
Tips to avoid scams
As in any other country, real estate agents in Poland are not always trustworthy, so be cautious when choosing one. Make sure your agent has a license, and be aware of some devious practices you might encounter.
According to Polish law, an agency must employ at least one person who holds a licence for property trading. This can mean that you might talk to one of the agency's associates who does not actually hold a license. When you sign a contract, it should be with the licensed agent and contain the exact personal data of the agent and his licence number.
Other pitfalls include not specifying the responsibilities of the agent in the agency contract (which means he's actually not obliged to do anything) or the exact price of the agent's service, as this can lead to unexpected additional costs. Some agents even try to charge their customers after the contract has expired.
You should also be careful about:
- uninsured agencies
- indefinite contracts
- exclusive rights to selling a property (in this case you will have to pay the agency even if you have found a buyer by yourself)
- agents that are charging both buyer and seller for their services