house for sale in france
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Selling property in France

However an owner chooses to sell property, the transaction will in the end be handled by a "notaire".  Whether to use a notaire directly, or go through an agency, is a matter of choice or local market situations

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Selling property  in France

Click here for information on buying property in France.

How to sell a house in France


Using an estate agency / Agences immobilières
The most common way to sell property in France is by using the services of an Estate Agency, or, as they are known in France, an Agence Immobilière. Estate agencies can be found in all French towns and cities, and - in particularly popular tourist areas - even in villages.

For the different types of estate agency, and other general information, see Buying property in France.

How many estate agencies to use ?
Normally in France agencies do not have exclusive rights, which is why you don't see "for sale" signs all over the place. The seller can put his property with as many agencies as he wants, and "que le meilleur gagne"; but some people only use one agency, as this simplifies things like visits and keys.
For a quick sale, advertise your property at a reasonable price through several different estate agencies. As long as the price is right, the more agencies that agree to take your property, the more likely you are to find a buyer... up to a point.
   However, you should note that there are three different ways of selling your property through an estate agent in France, and it is a good idea to understand the differences before signing up with an agency for the sale of your property.

A "Mandat exclusif" or Exclusive agency agreement

If you sign a mandat exclusif with an estate agency, you designate the agency as the sole channel through which the sale of your property can be undertaken. Agencies like this system, as it encourages them to promote your property more actively, in the knowledge that if a sale takes place, it must go through them.
Yet even if you have signed a "mandat exclusif" with your agency , nothing stops you finding a buyer on your own, but if you do, you then have to direct them to the agency, and the agency gets exactly the same commission as they would get if they had found the buyer.
Exclusive agency agreements are normally used only by people who are not on the spot, and cannot or do not want to show people round the property. A "mandat exclusif" is normally tacitly renewable after an initial period of three months. If you want to change or cancel your type of mandat, you will probably need to contact the agency by registered letter (lettre recommandée avec A/R). The terms of renewal will be indicated in the contract.

A "Mandat semi-exclusif" or Semi-exclusive agency agreement
This agreement is better for anyone who wants to keep fully open the option of finding a buyer directly. The agency remains the sole agency through whom the initial stages of the transaction can be carried out, but the agency and seller agree that both can actively look for a buyer.
If you, the seller, then find a buyer, you are still obliged to send them through the agency for the paperwork, but your contract with the agency will stipulate that in this case, the agency only takes a proportion, generally 50%, of the commission that would be taken if they found the buyer.

A "Mandat simple" or non-exclusive agreement
Most people selling property in France through an estate agent sign a "mandat simple", which means that the seller can use as many agencies as he wants, and if he finds a buyer directly, can do without the services of any of the agencies if he wishes. Since no agency can claim the right to do the initial paperwork, as none has any exclusive contract, the seller can then request competitive tenders from the different agencies with which a mandat simple has been signed, for dealing with the paperwork.
However, in many cases, the seller will then work directly with the Notaire (solicitor), who will draw up all the documents required for the transaction, from the Compromis de vente (binding statement of intention) to the final Acte de vente (contract of sale).

Whether or not the seller chooses to use the services of an agency, and whatever type of Mandat is signed, the final stages of the transaction must be overseen and managed by a Notaire. The seller normally designates a notaire for this purpose, and the buyer can either accept the same notaire, or else designate a different notaire to represent his interests. Notaire's fees being fixed as a percentage of the value of the sale, it should make no difference whether one notaire or two are involved. If two different notaires are involved, their fee is split two ways.
     The actual moment of sale of the property will take place in the office (cabinet) of the notaire in charge of the sale, normally in the presence of the buyer and the seller and, if possible, the seller's notaire.

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Property for sale in France

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