Private sales are becoming an increasingly popular trend in the French property market. Here, we talk you through the advantages and potential pitfalls of choosing to go it alone in L’Hexagone without an agent…
Value Your Property Realistically
Without an agent’s input, it’s up to you to value your property as accurately as possible – and it’s easy to oversell. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to research the market in your local area to get a solid idea of asking prices for similar properties. You should also get an estimate from a professional and seek a second opinion.
Get Snap Happy
You need to put your property out there, but standing out from the crowd can be tricky. One of the easiest ways to make your adverts sparkle is the use of good images (it sounds obvious, but how many ads have you seen with dark, blurry pictures? It happens!). Agents will normally take high-quality professional photos for you, so you need to rely on your own time and resources if you’re taking the reins. One advantage unique to you is that you’ve actually lived in your home, so you know its ins, outs and ‘good sides’. Here are just some of the most important points to consider when capturing your property:
- Use a decent high-resolution camera if possible
- Take all photos in landscape orientation. Not only does this capture more of an area, but it makes for a stronger online gallery
- Take exterior shots on a bright day
- For interior photos, ensure all rooms are clean and well lit (natural light is best)
- Make each room appear as spacious as possible, even if you have to rearrange furniture
- Remove personal items from shot
- A fresh appearance goes a long way. Add new bouquets of flowers and clean, folded towels where appropriate
- Make sure you don’t lose picture quality when saving your photos digitally, otherwise all your hard work will be wasted. Save them as high-resolution .jpg files.
Be flexible and available
If you don’t have l’agent immobilier to field enquiries, as the seller you assume responsibility for all communication. This requires a great deal of dedication, as one missed email or call could mean a missed sale. Prepare to manage all messages and be readily available for meetings with buyers.
Understand the fees
There’s no way to circumvent the fact that every property transaction in France needs to go through a notaire. Buyers pay the notaire’s fee (7-8%), whereas the seller pays the agency fees (4-10%). However, if you’re solely responsible, then you no longer need to cover this cost – which reflects in the asking price and may appear better value to potential buyers.
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork
Don’t underestimate the paper-based prep behind selling! A significant amount of documentation needs to be in place, from your title deed to proof of identification, and you need to be extra careful and precise if you’re handling this alone. The ‘Diagnostic de Performance Energetique’ (DPE) is particularly time-consuming, as it demands thorough effort to prove accordance with laws regarding gas, electricity, lead, asbestos and a host of other health and safety considerations. For more information on paperwork requirements, check out our guide to selling your home in France.