Estate Agents in France
- Choosing Estate Agent
- Carte Professionnelle
- Mandat de Vente
- Property Description
- Code of Conduct
4. Property Valuation
The best way of obtaining a valuation of your property is to ask several local estate agents. Estate agents are not permitted to charge for a property valuation (estimation).
You can also ask the local notaire, who will be aware of all of the property prices in the area and who should also provide the service free of charge.
You can also do your own research, by looking on-line at prices and by consulting the on-line land registry (cadastre) which is available to members of the public. You can read about it in our Newsletter article: Access to French Property Prices.
Estate agents in France do not differ that much from their other European counterparts in a tendency to offer prospective clients inflated valuations in order to obtain instructions.
Indeed, it is not unusual for the client themselves to instruct an agent on the price.
An agent may well accept such instructions in the reasonable knowledge that, at some point, the client may be forced to accept a lower valuation, either because no offers have been received, or offers have been substantially below the asking price.
However, do not always assume that an inflated valuation has been given or is necessarily in the interests of an estate agent.
Estate agents only earn their living if they actually sell a property and it serves no purpose for them if they overvalue a property and never sell it!
The overhead costs of running an estate agency are not inconsiderable and to survive many agents rely on a high turnover of properties. This is one reason why, in a difficult market, many agents will ask clients to reduce their price aspirations.
It is quite likely, therefore, that in a difficult market estate agents will value at the lower end of the range, but whether or not the client accepts their valuation is another matter.
In fairness, the valuation of rural properties in France is a difficult task, as the absence of a satisfactory number of comparable sales of similar properties, and the varied nature of the housing stock, makes it difficult to be precise about the market value of a particular property.
This makes it even more important that you research the area thoroughly to find out about the level of prices. Remember that advertised prices rarely reflect actual sale prices.
You should also ask the agent how they have arrived at their own valuation. Unless the property has very particular characteristics, only a comparison of other recent sales in the locality would offer a suitable guide.
In may rural areas of France, given the diversity of the housing stock, and the low turnover in sales, such a comparison may be difficult to achieve.
Accordingly, as will be evident from the above comments, the advertised price of a property for sale does not necessarily represent its true market value, and that obtaining an objective valuation of a rural property is frequently not an easy task.
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