“We take the commission from the buyer.” Yeah, right.

Apart from trying to find buyers for the owners advertising on our site Immogo, I’m also selling my own house. Just now, I received the following email:

Dear vendor, I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Xxxx and I work for Xxxx-Immobilier. I have noticed your advertisement and maybe you would like to have a look on our side nameofpropertysite.com. We have a lot of potential buyers manly from the uk and other european countries and we are providing a wide range of publicity. There are no costs for you as we take the commission from the buyer and we do not work exclusiv. So you are still free to sell your property alone or with other agences. If you like to benefit from our knowlegde and support do not hesitate to contact me via…

I wonder why the property agents (or their Agents Commerciaux) keep using the same blatant lie: “There are no costs for you as we take the commission from the buyer” It is just not true. The agent has a contract with the seller. It is the seller who has to pay the commission in case the agent finds a buyer for his property. The fact that this commission is usually added to the asking price doesn’t change the reality that there is a sum of money paid by the buyer that the seller can not keep, but has to turn over to the agent. If he had no agent, he would be able to raise his own asking price tot the same level and keep all the money. Or if he is pressed to sell, he could lower his asking price with the same amount and drop into another price category.

“Yes”, I hear you say, “but in the ‘compromis de vente’ and the final deed the agents commission is often noted as paid by the buyer.” This is true, but this is just an administrative trick to lower the net price of the house, and therefore the taxes (notary costs). These are not payable over the agents commission. Just like you might mark €10.000 in the official deed as being paid for furniture and fittings and such. This also lowers the taxes, since these are only due over the ‘immovable’ property, not over the chattel.  Again, without the agents commission there is 5% more leeway in the budget, so the house is easier to sell, with less stress on the negotiations.

I believe that an agent that uses this inveracity to sell his services to a buyer should not be trusted. Would you do business with someone who can’t even be truthful about who pays the price of his services?


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