Non-exclusive Belgium

One of the properties in Brussels we visited to find our dream Belgian rental.

A rant about real estate follows, after 2 days of looking at properties in Belgium:

1. Non exclusive listing contracts. In Belgium most contracts for listing of rental and sale properties are non-exclusive. This may help the seller/landlord, but is terrible for the tenant and buyer. If there are 4 agents who are trying to find tenants for your property and one of them succeeds, they may not rush to tell the others. So, let’s say you see a property you like and you want to go see it, you contact one of the said agents and they are happy to show it to you without realising that it has already been rented. The other consequence of this is that you see the same property listed with different set of pictures and differing details on sizes of rooms, energy consumption, etc.

2. No lock boxes. In US most houses have a lock box and any licensed agent can get in. Not so in Belgium. You can see what a logistical nightmare that is, especially with multiple agents trying to move the property.

3. Real estate agents in Belgium don’t like to work on weekends. Good for agents, bad for tenants and sellers.

4. No single source of truth. Because of the multiple non-exclusive listing agents, there is no MLS like system that shows you the most current state of a property.

I have a better appreciation of what is a far from from perfect, but much more convenient system in US.

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