Fees on selling a property

I have been quoted 4.5 per cent by an immobilier, who explained that 50% of their fees goes in tax!

I have also been quoted €1300 for the required expertise when I know that there are no termites, no lead, no asbestos Tec, money for old rope!

Is this reasonable?


OK Raymond but in principle I'm talking France (for me northern France). My house is built of granite which I guess is pretty similar to insitu concrete in terms of insulation. The walls are circa 600mm thick and inside I have lime plaster or in some rooms original timber panelling. This time of year it's much cooler (?colder!) than the outside. It looks lovely from the o/s though and no plastic cladding will ever see the outside of my house!!!

David, that's not strictly true as insulation keeps a house cool in a hot climate. I lived in Cyprus for a while, houses built to UK ARMY specs since an earthquake in the late 40's ....reinforced concrete has very low insulating properties so roasting in summer and freezing in winter!

Good point bt Gregor- for instance if a house is only occupied when it's very hot who worries too much about thermal insulation? Anyway IDS says France is a hot country and we all know that's right don't we?

Just in case... you know that for a secondary home the DPE is not needed anymore? Since they just look at the energy bills in comparison the the square meters, it would be unfair to class homes that are empty part of the year.


I got a diagnostique for a friend recently- very small house cost 450 TTC but it only took about 2 hours plus the report which is a standard format. Not like a UK house survey at all and those cost about £1000 plus VAT now depending on what they find. UK agents are about 2% plus VAT starters plus brochure/photos etc but the property prices in London and the SE are about four times as much so they make up there. Basically professional time should be in some way based on likely time expenditure and I reckon would start at about 500 euros a day plus VAT. (This should be compared with London where ten years ago I got £125 per hour plus expenses and VAT for senior partner work. Solicitors in London now get about £450 per hour plus VAT. Here the basic premise is that the whole thing is for the governmemnt and the professional gets a bit on the side. Glad I am retired!

I was quoted 1300, didn't accept! If I wait, it may put potential buyers off : I want to sell as soon as possible for a fair price.

Is the €750 for the expertise? I thought you said €1300?

You can always wait with the expertise until just before the signing of the Compromis de vente. Try to talk to your agent about a lower percentage if you manage to find your buyer yourself. Did they tell you on which websites they would put it?

Thank you all for your comments, I agree that it's a mess but how can it be changed? I offered 6 months sole agency which is how I got 4.5 % and it's on 15 websites and I've got a quote for €750, just need to check that the expertise is updated to eventual sale!

The seller pays the fees as per contract, but adds these to the price of the house. In the end it just comes out of the negotiation margin. When a company says '50% goes to taxes', this is a bit like kicking in an open door. EVERYBODY with a business pays 50% in taxes. A butcher doesn't go around saying: "Yes, my meat is not cheap, but remember... 50% goes in tax." now does he? So why should a property agent use this excuse?

The problem in France is there are too many brokers sharing the same sales. Most people take 4 or 5 agents. So when the house is sold, 4 of them earn nothing. This loss is spread over the cost of the houses he does sell. So on average they earn 6% : 4 = 1.5% on each house they sell.

What it boils down to is that we, the consumers, pay for the surplus of property agents in a diseased market.

We should all choose one good agent, offer him the exclusive rights for six months, invest in good pictures and some 'home stageing' and insist on paying maximum 3%. This is a very good price, considering that he will have no competition and for 6 months he'll be certain to make this money.

You could then add a stipulation that if you find a buyer first, the agent will take only 1.5% for handling the paperwork. This gives you the right to also use the FSBO market, which consists of about 50% of the total.

As for the diagnostics, shop around! Ask your notary, who is not allowed to take commissions. I'm certain you'll find a better deal.

Who pays the fees? Well technically it is the buyer who writes out the cheque but at the end of the day the agent says I can get x for your house and that either includes or excludes the fees. In our case the price to market included the fee. The price to market came down to meet market conditions and yet the fee stayed fixed at x thousand euro. So in the end we took a lower price. So who paid the fees? As I said technically the buyer wrote the cheque but it was us the sellers who took a lower price.

The seller agrees the fees to be paid on the sucessful sale of the house with the agency but the buyer actually pays them. Different agencies can set different fees so the amount the seller receives can be different depending on the agent the client chooses to visit the house through. Or the selling price to the buyer can be varied, when we bought our first house it was up for 3 different prices with 3 different agents because of the difference in the fees.

I should edit my original post to read 'the buyer is commited to pay the 5% even if the sale price is less'

4,5% is cheap, it's often 6 to 8 % depending on the area and yes half of it does go in tax and charges sociales. Running a business here I count on roughly 60% going to the state in one form or another.

1300€ seems a bit steep for the diagnostiques but I haven't had them done for a while and you can't get round that one, it's the law :-(

We paid 450 euro for our diagnostic DPE - have a look at this link for an idea of costsDiagnostic Prices.

We paid 5% for our immobilier.Attention that if you reduce your house sale price make sure you reduce the value of the 5% so that the amount of the commission is recalculated! Sounds obvious but if the 5% is calculated on the original sale price and then written in words as x thousand euros rather than 5% of eventual agreed sale price - you are committed to pay the original 5% even if the sale price is less...making it a higher percentage!