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Some of your questions answered:

I can save time and money by using a UK company with agents in France
What if I don't speak French?
But it is expensive to call an agent in France.

I can save time and money by using a third party search "agent".

Third party search agents can offer a greater choice of properties than just one estate agent.

Are you restricted to the properties on your books?
Will I be shown all of your properties?
Last time I came over to see at house, I was told that it was sold when I got here.
Last time I visited, I was shown the same house by three different agents. They would not tell me where it was before I saw it.
Will you help me negotiate a good price when we find the right property?
I have been told that once I return home, you will forget about me.
Your fee must be higher than most in order to provide such a service.
The fees still seem high compared to estate agent fees in the UK.
What is included in your commission?
What do you offer?

 

Answers

 

I can save time and money by using a UK company with agents in France

This is not necessarily true. UK companies work in one of two ways. Some have their own agents in France who are obliged work under the licence of an existing French estate agent, thereby adding another fee to the overall cost. Others operate as pure marketing companies, acting as a go-between by providing introductions to French agents, for which they take a percentage of the French agent's commission. The disadvantages are that they will not have first-hand knowledge of the properties (or even know whether or not they are still for sale) and as French agents will have to give away a share of the commission, they will inevitably give the best service to someone who comes to them directly. Both may well then charge additional fees for helping you with the purchase process.

 
What if I don't speak French?
No problem - we do! Our team includes both English and French nationals.
 
But it is expensive to call an agent in France.
Email or call us and we will call you back.  Also why not take a look at our Links page to find out how to call France at very reduced cost.
 

I can save time and money by using a third party search "agent".

This is unlikely to be the case. Using such an agent can increase the time it takes you to find your property because they add an extra layer. We prefer to deal directly with our clients - we can then really understand your needs and find you the most appropriate property. Using a property search agent will inevitably end up costing more as you generally pay whether or not you purchase a property. Most will charge a fee of about 2.5% of the purchase price and for the average property, this amounts to about €4000 on top of all the other fees. If you do choose to use such an agent and they enter into any form of negotiation on your behalf (e.g. putting forward any offer to purchase) then you should ask them to provide their "carte professionnelle" - if they do not have one they may be operating illegally.

 

Third party search agents can offer a greater choice of properties than just one estate agent.

This is generally not true. Agencies work in a very different manner in France and most properties will be registered with many the agents in the area. Third party search agents are only able to deal with the limited number of estate agents who are prepared to work with them. And remember, we know our properties - we have visited them and talked with the owners. Most search agents have simply only undertaken an internet search - they may not know anything more about the property than you do.

 
Are you restricted to the properties on your books?
No, if we do not have a suitable property in our portfolio, we can undertake a free search with our network of contacts for you.
 
Will I be shown all of your properties?
This may sound like a strange question, but unfortunately, many French agents will not show you all of the properties available at that agency. Why? Because most agents that you meet in a French estate agency are self employed agent commercial - they work only for commission on properties that they bring to the agency and sell through the agency. You are therefore only likely to be shown properties that the particular individual who greets you at the door has taken on. We take a different approach - we work as a team to find what you are looking for and all of our properties are available for viewing.
 
Last time I came over to see at house, I was told that it was sold when I got here.
Our website is updated daily to help ensure that we only have houses that are for sale on display. If a house is sold, we will put a sold notice on the website. Many agents will leave sold house on their website (without a sold notice), presumably to give the appearance of a greater portfolio. Of course, we can only mark a house as being sold if the vendor informs us if the house is sold through another agent.
 
Last time I visited, I was shown the same house by three different agents. They would not tell me where it was before I saw it.
The fact that most houses are available through a number of agents has lead to some very secretive business practices. Most agents will try to disguise the location of a house in order to prevent other agents from knowing where it is and approaching the owner to get it onto their portfolio. This can often mean that an agent will not give a purchaser a full description - so you may well end up seeing the same house a number of times. We try to provide as full a description as possible - we will show you a large number of photos, show you where the property is on our "map wall" and only then, when we have discussed the house in full (and tried to ascertain whether or not you have already seen it!), will we take you to see it.
 
Will you help me negotiate a good price when we find the right property?
We work for you - we will even undertake the negotiation process for you, especially if the vendor is French.
 
I have been told that once I return home, you will forget about me.
Not true. We take contact details of all clients and, with their permission, add these to our database. We then send out regular newsletters and, when we take on new properties, we search our database for clients who have expressed interest in similar properties.
 
Your fee must be higher than most in order to provide such a service.
No. Our fees are generally the same as or lower than other real estate agents in France. Our fees are based upon a percentage of the amount that the vendor receives and range between 5%-10%. All agents in France are required to list their fees in their offices - why not have a look on your next visit.
 
The fees still seem high compared to estate agent fees in the UK.
Remember that our fees include French VAT at 19.60%. When expressed as UK agents do, excluding VAT, our lowest fee is 4.8%. Many agents in France charge rates like this without providing any of the assistance that we offer as standard.
 
What is included in your commission?
  • presentation of offer to vendor and negotiation on your behalf
  • review and explanation the building reports (asbestos/lead/termites) as supplied by the vendor
  • we can put you in touch with experts in order to obtain advice on French inheritance laws relating to the property purchase to suit your personal circumstances
  • advice on and assistance with buying of the euros and transferring the deposit and completion monies
  • help with arrangements for a power of attorney where attendance for the completion is not possible or desirable
  • assistance in arranging the transfer of any existing utility contracts into your name or setting up utility supplies to the property.
  • assistance in arranging building insurance cover for your new property
 

You will, no doubt, have many other questions. Please do not hesitate to contact us with them and we will try to answer them for you.

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