Who pays estate agent’s fees in France?
Is it the buyer or the seller who pays estate agency fees and what is a reasonable commission for a €2million house? Can you bargain to improve the rate? A.V.
It is usually the seller and they are also included in the sale price as quoted to the buyer and written in the sale deeds. However the estate agency will generally quote the seller the sum which he or she should expect to receive on sale.
When the two parties are at the notaire’s office to sign the acte de vente the buyer pays over the full amount. The seller signs a document allowing the notaire to give part of it to the agency and receives the rest (minus the ‘notaire’s fees’).
Vice president of estate agency group Fnaim Loîc Cantin said technically who pays depends what it says in the mandat de vente signed by the seller and agency when the home is put on the market, but it is generally “simpler and more logical” for it to be the seller as he or she engages the agency. If it is the buyer, adverts will state the breakdown between the sale price and agency fees and it is just the sale price that goes into the acte de vente. The buyer pays the price for the property and is given a separate agency fees bill.
The percentage of the agency fee is agreed between agency and seller and depends on what actions the agent will take to sell the property.
It is not regulated by law, unlike notarial fees, but the usual range of rates do have to be displayed in the estate agency with VAT included, so TTC (toute taxe comprise).
Amounts vary according to service provided, region and individual agency but rates of between 5-10% are common. Generally the percentage fee is lower if the value of the property is high and yes there is some room to negotiate.
Reader's query answered by Hugh MacDonald
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