Real estate agents in France
The role of a realtor in France is not that much different from anywhere else. A realtor puts up properties online, advertises them, gives guided tours, and facilitates the sale.
However, there are a few requirements that were put in place by French lawmakers. Some of these requirements, you can easily check yourself. You can always ask for their “carte professionelle”, which is basically their state license to operate. Often they will have this license hanging in their office displayed like a trophy. Right next to it, you will almost always find the ‘bank guarantee’ that they have. A real estate agent needs to comply with the following:
- Has the required knowledge and diplomas
- They need a guarantee from a bank for at least 75 000 euro in order to handle the actual payments.
- The need to own a (valid) "carte professionelle"
- They have a professional liability insurance
- For the properties they have for sale, they need to have a mandate. In France they have two types of mandates, an exclusive one (Mandat exclusive) and a mandate that is not exclusive (Mandat Simple)
You shouldn’t be surprised when the same property with a non-exclusive mandate gets listed at (slightly) different prices at different agencies. The commissions that French real estate agents charge are not regulated and thus can result in different listing prices.
Not all properties in France are sold via a real estate agency. About half of all transactions are done without. In those cases, the notary will take over some of the tasks that otherwise are done by a realtor. To make things more complex, those are not the only two scenarios. There are also situations where two real estate agents are involved. It is also prudent to keep in mind who a realtor is representing.
- Realtor representing the seller
- Realtor (or intermediary) represents the buyer
- Both sides have their own realtor (or intermediary), in those cases commissions are split amongst them.
- No realtors or intermediaries (notary acts as real estate agent)