The right real estate agent makes a difference when you buy property in France
One of the biggest frustrations that people from outside of France experience when they’re buying property here is dealing with French estate agents or immobiliers. Buying a house anywhere is a big decision and buying a house in France if you live somewhere else is a really big decision. You have enough to think about without feeling that your estate agent isn’t listening.
The cultural differences between the French and anyone else are very evident in real estate. French agents appear pushy and secretive to the non-French. This is from an e-mail I got yesterday:
…. a few other idiosyncrasies, the most annoying of
which is the penchant they have for trying to talk you out of a
property you want to see – sometimes you virtually have to fight to get
One of the things I’ve never managed to understand is the unwillingness of French agents to collaborate with each other. The "I have a client, you have a property for sale, let’s work together" approach is the one that has always made most sense to me.
Slow real estate and property market in the Aude means you only have to work with one agent.
One of the – to me – unexpected side benefits of the current buyers market in Aude real estate is the willingness of French agents to collaborate. It means that you, as a potential property buyer, don’t have to work multiple agents in order to find the right property.
I’ve actually been getting calls from French agents asking me to advertise their properties on my site – Aude France Property.
It’s the property buyer who benefits from being able to work with one estate agent. The agent gets to know you, to know what you like and what you don’t like. They know what questions to ask a French agent in order to find out what condition a house is really in. You don’t have to waste time driving for miles to see a house you wouldn’t consider buying in a million years.
At AFP our focus is the English speaking property buyer. We understand your concerns and know what information is important for you. We think the process of buying property in France should be enjoyable. Of course it’s going to be stressful. We try and minimize the stress as much as possible.
So how do you find the right estate agent?
- Your first contact with an estate agent in France is most likely to be on the internet. If you like the tone of the site you’ll probably like the agent.
- Email them with a brief description of what you’re looking for, when you plan to look, and your budget. It’s always a good idea to include a phone number. It makes it easier for the agent to contact you.
- Talk with them on the phone. Be open about your budget. If you have a long wish list tell the agent which things are deal breakers.
- If you’re feeling comfortable and they seem to understand what you want, ask them to arrange visits.
- Come on a house hunting trip. See some houses.
- If you stop feeling comfortable at any point just say "thanks, this isn’t working" and move on.
It’s your dream. No one should spoil it for you.
Of course, in my own self-interest, I hope you’ll get in touch with me when you start looking for property in the Aude.