What is a bon de visite?

Ah, the mysterious bon de visite

Bon de visites are shrouded in mystery, mainly because they do absolutely nothing for a buyer or vendor and everything for an agent.  When I first started selling real estate in France I was told I had to get a client to sign so that if anything happened on a visit – the roof fell on us, one of us broke our leg on slippery stairs – insurance would cover it.  I thought it was a bit strange, there wasn’t anything about insurance in the text of the bon de visit but went along with it.

I mentioned it to another agent and they said no, no.  It was so that we could show the vendor who had been through the house.  Again a bit strange.

Then one day I asked a broker and he said the only reason it exists is so that if agent x shows a house to a buyer and the buyer then negotiates the deal through agent y then somebody has to pay agent x the full commission.  It’s crap.  What if the buyer really hates agent x, can’t possibly deal with  them.  Where’s the choice in that.

I suspect that some immobiliers use the bons de visite to track their agents activity.  To see how many properties an agent is showing to potential buyers.

The only time I ever use a bon de visit is if someone wants to go and see where a house is located and look at the outside before making an appointment to see it.  The reason I use it was in case the owner comes out and decides to do a direct deal with the potential buyer.  I always explain to the vendor and the buyer what I ‘m doing and the vendor always understands that if I send a client to look at the outside and the client does a deal directly with the vendor then the vendor owes the agency fees and commission anyway.

Clear as mud.  Right?

French immos will undoubtedly ask you to sign a bon de visite before they show you a house.  At least you should know what you’re signing.  I’m assuming if you don’t speak French you’re going to have someone who can translate with you.  Ask them to translate the text before you sign.

About Sam

Sam started Aude France as a companion site to her real estate site Aude France Property so that she could have a place to write about life in the Aude. Now that she's in Canada she writes about things that can affect owners and buyers in the Aude - or anything that strikes her fancy. On Pinterest you can find her by searching for Sam Mooney or clicking this link
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