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Is it usual to negotiate down the price when buying French property?

Reader queries what room there is for making an offer and what is the generally accepted rule

If you are looking to buy property in France, it is good to have a ballpark figure for price negotiation Pic: William Barton / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Is it normal to make an offer below the listed price when buying property in France? If so, what sort of percentage is acceptable?

Buying property can be a big step and with the prices involved, it can always be beneficial to try and place yourself in the best situation. 

To answer the first part of the question, yes, it is completely normal in France to offer below the listed price when buying property.

Negotiation is possible both on offers made and by the seller who is considering them.

Openness to negotiation by the seller can increase or decrease depending on factors such as, of course, the number of people who have expressed interest, how quickly they want to wrap up the sale and so on.

Average negotiation levels

Philippe Buyens, managing director of Capifrance, said that sellers could typically expect to see prices negotiated down 6% in 2023, during an interview with BFMTV

This is up slightly up from September 2022 when negotiations were around 5.5% according to Le Figaro Immobilier.

These figures have risen compared to recent years, said Mr Buyens.

Notaires have also highlighted that negotiations are becoming more common, perhaps due to slowdown of the market giving buyers a slight advantage. 

Even so, this is more a return to what was for years the norm after a period of high demand which saw more homes than usual being sold for the asking price.

Read more: Seven key points from latest notaire data on French property sales

Negotiating agency fees 

It is worth noting that agency fees, unlike ‘notaires’ fees’, are not regulated by law and so do not have to be at a set level.

In some cases, where an agency really wants to push a sale, or where a seller is being particularly stubborn, the agents may be willing to negotiate down their fees as an alternative to the price being dropped. 

The higher the property value, of course, the more open agencies will be to this.

For those selling properties, Le Figaro recommends offering it exclusively to one agency; this way, even if you are not willing to negotiate your price, they may be more willing to negotiate their fees to push through the sale.

Related articles:

French property in 2022 and 2023 predictions: Low sales, rising prices

Map: Where rural French house prices have risen (and fallen) the most

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