Expat Living and Real EstateLiving in ProvenceSophia van Woensel-Mose

Provence Property: Why Hire a Buyer’s Agent?

Most foreign house hunters do not realize that they can hire a buyer’s agent in France. They only ever encounter real estate (listing) agencies, either online or on the ground.

French estate agents are hired by vendors to find a buyer and get the highest possible price. Vendors usually list their property with several listing agencies to reach as wide an audience as possible. In general, only the agent who manages to find a buyer gets any commission. The others do not share in the fee.

Owners can usually also sell privately at the same time. In that case, none of the listing agents receive any commission. This is one of the reasons why it’s so hard to get exact locations or details for properties in France. The agencies do not want you to find the property on your own and cut them out of the sale.

Some agencies do share listings with a few colleagues. However, they do not have access to the listings of all their colleagues. There simply is no central database (MLS) in France.

France does have a large number of property advertisement “portals,” such as seloger.com, leboncoin, and so forth. Each of these only contains a portion of the market and often include many outdated listings. Some are only in French, others in several languages.

As a consequence of this French real estate listing system, buyers must scan all portals and every single agency website in order to access all houses on the market. Only once you visit a property will you know where it really is and what it truly looks like. This can lead to a lot of wasted time and money!

How Do You Find a Buyer’s Agent in France?

An exclusive buyer’s agent or property finder is a local property expert with a real estate licence. They do not list properties for sale and exclusively represent buyers in their search and acquisition. They pre-screen properties for clients, send you a detailed report and photos, point out any potential problems, negotiate the best possible price and best conditions, and are on your side throughout.

The French Property Finders is a website that lists exclusive buyer’s agents in several regions of France that are bilingual, licensed and insured. They all have at least five years of experience as buyer’s agents. The website explains in more detail how a buyer’s agent can support you in your property purchase in France.

This article previously appeared in French Entrée magazine.


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Sophia van Woensel-Mose

Certified functional health coach Sophia Mose left behind a career as a corporate lawyer in 2005 when she moved from London to France with her family. They live in beautiful Aix-en-Provence, where Sophia was a property journalist and consultant until 2019. In her coaching practice Sophia works with busy professionals anywhere in the world (via Zoom) supporting them to make peace with inner critics and other saboteurs so that they can reach their optimal health and wellbeing.

Learn more about Sophia’s services on her Facebook page here.

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