Quite often people ask me for the address or location of the house in France as they would like to put it precisely on a map to see what is around. Unfortunately in France, estate agents tend not to give the address of the properties they have on their books.
Compared to the UK, private sales in France are common and because of the easiness of this option, estate agents are afraid that potential buyers would run to the vendors once they have the exact location of the house and avoid paying the agency fees.
Are French estate agents paranoid? No. Buyers approaching private vendors after contacting the estate agents for the address of the house they have seen on their books happens quite frequently and that is why estate agents had to find a way to protect themselves. Yet if you are really interested in a house but “want to make sure” before booking your plane tickets to view it, there is a way for you to obtain the exact location of the house.
The “bon de visite” is a document explaining that you have been given details of the house by a specific agency and that in case you decide the purchase it you will buy it through that same agency.
Some websites have recently developed the mapping of the French properties for sale that they promote but this tool, though very useful with the UK house market, is completely unreliable when it comes to French property as two French villages just a few kms apart can have the same postcode.
My advice is talk to your estate agent or intermediary and don’t be afraid to sign their “bon de visite” as it is only a document explaining that you won’t cut them out of the deal if you were purchasing the house in question, or even better hire a local property finder who will be able to give you all the details about the surroundings of the house, including the ones that no map will show.
•With thanks to Gaëlle Perreaux-Booth, Manager at FrenchEntrée property services.
This article first appeared on the Q&A pages of French Magazine.
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