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French Estate Agents France

French Estate Agents France

Whilst only 50% of French people use an estate agent when buying or selling a property in France, most foreign buyers will use the services of a French estate agent, or a foreign estate agent who is qualified under the French system.

Estate agents in France must be qualified, licensed and insured before they can even show you round a property. A French estate agent will hold a carte professionnelle, which is renewed annually, and the card number and place of issue is usually printed on their letterhead. Some foreign estate agents operating in France do not have this all important card, and are therefore not legally eligible to sell a property to you under French law.

Another type of property agent is the marchand de biens who can sell property that they've owned for at least three months without a licence. Some estate agents in France are also marchands de biens.

To find a French estate agent you can look in one of the English publications specialising in French property sales, such as French Property News, or under agences immobilières in the yellow pages (pages jaunes) in the local library when in France.

Most French estate agents tend to provide very brief particulars about a property, often with no photograph, or in the case of an old property for renovation, just details of the area and size of buildings are given. This is slightly different in Paris or the Riviera where particulars are more like those found in Britain.

As for money, French estate agents will charge a fee for their services and their list of fees (barème) should be displayed in their office. Fees are about 5% 10%, with more being charged for the cheaper properties. On expensive properties, the agent's fee is sometimes negotiable.

House prices will be either quoted C/C (commission comprise) where commission is already included, or net vendeur, which means that the commission has not yet been added to the price. Check in advance what is included in the price: this means how much commission and whether there are any other fees (not taxes) to be added/included in the quoted price.

Estate agents in France, providing they are properly qualified, must have a financial guarantee of at least €75,000 in order to be eligible to handle the client's money. For guarantees of more than €75k, the bank's details will be printed on the agent's letterhead. If their guarantee is less than €75k, pay your deposit to the notary or other legal professional involved in the transaction and not the agent.