property in France
to sell a house in France
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.
many estate agencies to use ?
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
avec A/R). The terms of renewal will be indicated in the contract.
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
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
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.
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
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