Estate Agents in France

A good French estate agent can be invaluable in helping you to find your dream home in France.

Most French estate agents only deal with properties in their local area and don’t have details of properties in other regions. It can therefore be helpful to get in touch with a local estate agent who knows the area well and the properties that are for sale once you have decided on the right area of France for you.

Many estate agents in France do not advertise through online portals so it can be difficult for foreign buyers to see many of the properties that are on the market without the help of an estate agent in the area. Some French agents in areas popular with foreign buyers do work with overseas agents who help to market the properties to foreign buyers.

The estate agent profession in France is regulated which provides a degree of protection to buyers. Unfortunately however, there are many that act without the required licences. Although there are some very good estate agents in France, it is important to make sure you exercise some caution when choosing a French estate agent.

For details of a recommended English-speaking French estate agent contact Total Buying Abroad on 01244 478 911 or email us at info@totalbuyingabroad.com.

What should you look for in a good estate agent in France?

Your French Estate Agent should:

  • Be qualified and registered with an official body (there is more information about this below).
  • Have experience and knowledge of the local French property market and the local area.
  • Make an effort to understand your particular property requirements and help you to understand what your budget will realistically achieve. They should provide you with details of French properties that actually meet your criteria and not just properties they are trying to push.
  • Respond quickly to your enquiries in a professional manner.
  • Be organised and have a file with details and documentation relating to the French properties they are selling. Good agents should also have information about the local rates, utilities and service changes where relevant.
  • Encourage you to find and instruct your own independent lawyer.
  • Not try to put you under any pressure during the process.
  • Be honest about issues such as the rental potential of the French property and any restrictions there may be on altering the property.

What is the role of an estate agent in France?

Estate agents in France advertise and market properties that are for sale and connect buyers looking for properties in France to those looking to sell theirs.

Many French estate agents will help you to find a property that matches your search criteria even if they do not have a suitable property on their own listings. Some agents will contact other agents on your behalf to try to find suitable properties on the market for you.

Estate Agents also help you to negotiate the purchase price for the property. However, remember that the Estate Agent’s fee is usually connected to the amount the property is sold for so it is in their interest for the purchase price to be as high as possible!

When you have arranged a viewing, your French estate agent will usually take you to the property themselves rather than arrange to meet you at the property. They will often also arrange to spend some time showing you around a few of the properties they have for sale. This can be helpful as some French properties, particularly in rural areas, can be tricky to find! French estate agents will not usually give you the location of the property to prevent buyers and sellers dealing directly so as to avoid the estate agent commission.

In terms of the buying process, once you have negotiated a sale your French estate agent may offer to assist you throughout the buying process and may accompany you to the notary to sign the legal documents. Many estate agents will also assist you by advising you about local amenities such as schools and doctors or provide information about local builders or architects.

For the legal process however, although many estate agents may offer to help, it is advisable to instruct your own French lawyer/solicitor to assist you with the legalities.

For information about how to find an independent English-speaking French estate agent call Total Buying Abroad on 01244 478911 or email us at info@totalbuyingabroad.com

How much are estate agents fees in France and who pays them?

French estate agents will usually earn a commission of between 5 and 10 per cent if they successfully arrange a sale between a buyer and seller. This percentage is usually on a sliding scale, so the cheaper the property the higher the percentage and vice versa.

The buyer traditionally pays an estate agents commission in France. It will usually be added to the advertised sale price although sometimes this in included. It is therefore a good idea to check whether or not this has already been included in the price if this is not clear before making any offers. You do not want to negotiate a property price so it is within your budget only to find you have to pay another 5-10% on top!

You should also check when these fees will be payable. Fees are usually paid on completion but can sometimes be due when the initial purchase contract is signed or when certain conditions have been met. You should check the position and confirm whether the fees will be due if the sale does not go through to completion.

However good the French estate agent may be, always remember that they get paid on the sale of the property, which means that their ultimate aim is to ensure the sale of the property.

Foreign agents working with French agents usually share the standard commission, so buyers usually pay no more by using a foreign agent. This is not always the case and so it may be wise to check to ensure you are not paying any extra commission.

Are Estate Agents in France Regulated?

The estate agency profession in France is regulated by law and estate agents in France must be professionally qualified, licensed and hold indemnity insurance.

France estate agents must have a carte professionnelle in order to practice. This card provides a licence to assist with property transactions and is granted to those with certain professional qualifications and experience.

Before undertaking any viewings with an estate agent in France you should ask to see the Carte Professionnelle.

The estate agent should also be registered with an official body such as FNAIM  (Fédération Nationale de l’Immobilier), SNPI (Syndicat National des Professionnels) or the UNPI (Union Nationale de la Propriété Immobilière).

This regulation and membership means that you as a buyer have some protection and guarantee of a quality level of service as well as recourse to a professional body should the service you receive be substandard.

Getting a recommendation for a good reputable estate agent can help you to navigate your way through the French property market and save you valuable time and a lot of effort!

For further information or details of a recommended estate agent in France, contact Total Buying Abroad on 01244 478911 or at info@totalbuyingabroad.com.