Consumer market study on the functioning of the real estate services for consumers in the European Union. Final report

European Union Publications Office
Publication date:


The real estate services market is underperforming in terms of consumer protection, an area the EU monitors and emphasizes. It is a complex sector, with several parties involved on convoluted processes with information asymmetries. This study explores regulation, practices, problems and understandings between all parties in the sector. Although practices and legal frameworks vary across countries in scope, common trends emerge. Processes and practices are problematic across the EU. Transparency of information, its clarity and comparability remain a challenge as consumers consider it difficult to obtain and understand, or insufficient. Similarly, information on agent’s fees and costs is not easily conveyed. Most frequent problems referred to hidden costs, terms and conditions that were too complex or unclear, and missing or misleading information on properties. These challenges were heightened in the case of cross-border transactions, and even if consumers seemed confident in national markets, this was not the case when dealing with transactions abroad. Consequently, the consumer experience is unsatisfactory, with the demand side of the market being more prone to experience problems. And although several mechanisms exist for consumers to formally raise a complaint very few do so and only a minority are aware of their consumer rights.

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