Are you considering buying a house in France? Remember that many estate agents in France are extremely expensive (up to 9%!). And it is not very complicated to do business directly with the owner. How to go about it? All the information you need is available on the Internet. We’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
The housing market in France is not very transparent. There is no one big site where all brokers publish their portfolio. Each broker works on its own regional island, trying to screen his offer from all his competitors. This makes it difficult for buyers to get a clear picture of the total market. What’s more, brokers in France usually ask 5% up to 9% commission. So it is much more interesting to try and bypass the broker and conduct your business directly with the owner. This is therefore common practice in France. If you know where to look, you will find a wide range of FSBO homes: houses for sale by owner. There are even some good websites that translate most or all their home descriptions in English!
Not scary at all!
At home, we are used to rely entirely on a real estate agent. There are even property agents that specialize in house hunting and representing the buyer. This is very rare in France, where most brokers represent the seller. However, buying a house in France is less complex than you might think. You might well be able to do without a property agent. It is just a matter of knowing the customs of the French seller and the rules applicable in France.
A wealth of information online
On the Internet you will find several sites with information about buying property in France. One of the most complete sites is Buy property from the owner in France. This site provides in depth information about the search process and the negotiations and also looks at market conditions and the contractual side – including the famous ‘compromis de vente’. This informative site about the French property market was written up by a number of real specialists, unaffiliated with any brokerage firms or financial institutions in France or elsewhere. Objective advice here, and it’s free!