More than half of the homes in France are sold without the help of a real estate agent. By private sale (see for example Pap.fr), auctions or via a notary. If you speak French well, you don’t need to use an expensive real estate agent. If you do decide to work with a real estate agent, here are some tips you should pay attention to when choosing a good real estate agent.
Is the agent registered with the FNAIM? The FNAIM is the French professional association of real estate agents. Always ask a real estate agent for his Carte Professionelle. There are also agents operating without Carte Professionelle, but they always work under the auspices of a recognized agency.
How long has the agent been active?
What reputation does the agent have in the region? Try to obtain information about this from foreigners who already live in the area.
Does the real estate agent only speak French or does he also speak English? It is important that you can communicate well with the agent.
How far is his office from the object you are looking for? If the agent offers an after-sales package in which he will help you to apply for all kinds of permits, with tax-related matters, etc. then it is useful if the office is close by.
If you buy a property in a region where many foreigners have a home, it is helpful to have a real estate agent who has specialized in the market with foreign buyers and sellers. If you prefer a region without foreigners, please take a local real estate agent. A local agent knows the market and is sometimes at an early stage already aware of which houses will soon be on the market. A local real estate agent can also give you tips about a good doctor, dentist or bank. There are also national chains of agents, but these are somewhat more expensive.
How expensive is the agent? Always ask explicitly whether the commission has already been included in the asking price of the property. Negotiating the amount of the fee is normal. Collecting 5 to 10% of the price must be possible. But pay close attention to whether the asking price is inclusive or exclusive of the commission.
Is the real estate agent preparing to show you different properties? And do these homes correspond to the wishes you have formulated? If the real estate agent shows you the wrong objects, make clear what demands you have on the property. It may also be that the real estate agent has his agenda.
If you have found a good real estate agent who trusts you and with whom you can communicate well, you can look forward to buying a property with some confidence. If you want to build in extra security, you can have yourself represented for the contract part by your lawyer and you can also hire English speaking purchase assistance.