Please allow me to respond as an Estate agent in France
A property finder for free ? Interesting concept?
When hiring a property finder, or a bird dog as they are called in the US, one expects him or her to find your dream house and support you all the way till the key transfer. This is a kind of tailor made service often associated with hefty commissions. In fact, compared to a XXxth Century estate agent, a bird dog costs almost nothing. Explanation.
A good estate agent will act as a property finder for you too. If a client has given us a brief we actively go and find something, as we do of course know our areas well and can dig out some gems.
During the search operations a property finder cannot charge the buyer anything. That’s legal. And if his client find a property by himself and choose not to hire him/her further for support in the purchase process, a warm handshake will suffice.
Sub Total : 0 € Neither can an estate agent. Totally free to both vendor and buyer unless they actually find a property you like and you decide to buy via them.
For negotiating on your behalf, a bird dog will share the buyer’s interests in getting the lowest price, unlike regular estate agents whose fees are based on the selling price. The more the buyer pays, the happier they are.
Sub Total : 0 € A good estate agent will negotiate with buyer and vendor to reach a happy medium price. As for the suggestion that an estate agent will drive a price up to get more commission, that is simply ridiculous. A deal ends up at the point a vendor accepts and a buyer is prepared to pay and is NEVER driven by an estate agent. Don’t forget we have had 6 years of a buyers market in France. I would love to have the power you seem to think I have!!!
A property finder will not charge anything for the viewings he does in vain but this will spare his client time and money. He will visit only selected properties fitting his requirements. It’s a less than 0 commission.
Sub Total : less than 0 € An estate agent NEVER charges to arrange viewings. He too will work to find you a suitable home, and do all of this at his own charge , so I see no difference.
If the property is sold by the vendor directly in parallel to estate agents, the bird dog will find out and contact the owner. No undue commission to be paid for some pictures and an address. Big savings for the buyer and much less than 0 € commission.
Sub Total : less than 0 € Agreed, but in reality a private buyer can go and do this himself anyway, saving himself even more money. Oh by the way have you tried to negotiate in French with an old and wise French farmer???
There is no charge for preparing the provisional sale agreement a property finder is legally permitted to receive. No need for the buyer in seeking (and paying) further advice on the contract stipulations. The property finder is acting on his behalf. Less than 0 € again.
Sub Total : less than 0 € That’s because a notaire does this. And guess what they dont charge for drawing up the provisional sales agreement. Are you suggesting estate agents charge for this service?? Guess what the notaire is there to act on your behalf as a buyer, all included within their set fees. So surely speaking with a legal representative is a more sound prospect than dealing with your property finder for legal advice? (P.S a good estate agent will help with the translation between each party free of charge).
If the bird dog knows his job, the buyer won’t pay for the bottle of champagne on final contract signature.
Sub Total : 0 € ???
At the end of the day, the property finder deserves a fair retribution. But he/she will not charge a commission of 6, 5 or 4 % of the selling price. He will be under 3 % and if his client has selected the option, his/her commission will be calculated as a percentage of the price reduction he has obtained. Provided this professional knows how to best haggle over prices, the extra price reduction he will obtains will roughly equal the amount of his commission. Sub total 0 € Oh wait a minute, your now saying this Free service costs money??? Even 3% seems to be on the high side to me, considering all he did was make a few calls, maybe drive around the countryside and then present his bill for this oh so easy work?? Agency fees are also charged as a percentage of the eventual price, it even states this in their sales mandate that if a price is reduced by negotiation then the agency fee reduces in line. As for agents charging too much, of course it can be argued both ways, however I am not trying to get a sympathy vote as I know it won’t work, but lets just take a look at what a good estate agent does.
He will take professional pictures of your home. (1-2 hours)
Write a professional description (1 hour)
Market your property through their website, but more importantly with numerous web portals, magazines, newspapers etc (Rightmove incidentally take between 15 and 25% of the agency commission for any sale where they have introduced the buyer, some portals take more). Magazine and press advertising costs a small fortune for property listings and is paid up front. Agents even pay to list houses on Le Bon Coin.
Drive any number of buying prospects around the French countryside at the agents own expense, many of whom aren’t even in a position to buy yet, as they ‘need to sell’ before buying in France, but hey ho we still go the extra mile to help out as of course they may buy one day!! Many experiences over the last ten years of clients who took 3 years and 5-10 visits viewing property before buying.
Oh don’t forget when we get this famed high commission that the individual agent takes a percentage of the agency fee and then pays 42% of the net figure to the wonderful RSi.
This is the best bit though folks!!! If you have a property finder searching for a house for you, he is most likely to have a network of agencies he works with to find houses. His 3% as suggested above comes out of the agencies 4,5,6,7%, You do realise that dont you?? So the agent does all of the aforementioned stuff and because the property finder has come in with a buyer, we give 50% of our commission away for the privilege.
Oh and we do all of this on Non exclusive sales mandates, whereby after all of the marketing, driving clients around etc etc we can receive a call from a vendor telling us, thanks but we found a buyer ourselves. I wish them well and move on. Of course we do all of that for free until we actually get to the final acte of a sale and then we get paid.
Don’t forget either that most agency mandates are for charges to be levied onto the buyer, so as a seller you dont pay anything. Believe me when I say you will be a seller one day. Seems like a reasonable deal to me.
**Total cost of hiring a Bird Dog : 0 € ** I think you are misleading people. Of course hiring him is free, but so is hiring an estate agent to search for you too, but if he is successful you pay a fee as you suggested of 3%??
I realise I am never going to convince anyone of the worth of a good estate agent, however I do love the culture we live in today, where no one is seemingly allowed to make a living and everyone over simplifies everyone else’s contribution to this world. I genuinely would love to bring you along to the average day in the life of an estate agent in France to show you that despite comments to the contrary we do earn pretty much every penny we take.
Good Lad !