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Why are French realtors so useless?

Why are French realtors so useless?

Old Feb 27th 2023, 7:44 pm
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Default Why are French realtors so useless?

Trying to wrap my head around the seeming ineptitude and indifference I've been experiencing with French realtors. We are cash buyers, looking for a place near my outlaw parents and brothers and sisters in law in the Le Mans, Laval, Tours or Mayenne region. My wife is French who calls the realtors directly during working hours and we have a French local number that the realtor can call back on. Out of 4 realtors whom we contacted last week,, we've received one callback. The rest,? Zero, nada, zip... Emails go unanswered, calls are not returned and I cannot figure out why. Are they all just lazy? Certainly some of the listings smack of major incompetence, 4 out of focus photos, 3 sentences of a description, of which one sentence outlines their 5%+ fee.

Our latest encounter with a realtor was a complete farce. My BIL went to visit a house that we were sure was the one. The realtor turned up, didn't have keys to the garage or cellar and said she only had one hour.to spend with my BIL. He went away with a lot of unanswered questions, and asked the realtor for a second visit a few days later. She told him it had sold. He called the notaire as he frankly didn't believe her. Guess what? The notaire was very unhappy. The house hadn't sold and there had been no movement, offers or anything. The realtor straight up lied in a situation where it was very easy to determine whether a lie was being spun The notaire said to submit the offer directly to him and he would 'deal' with the realtor. It's absolutely bonkers what's going on. This same realtor also said another house we wanted to view had sold, but the listing is still up. My BIL lives 20 minutes from this house and of course is French. What in the heck?

Am I just unlucky or is this the usual 'standard' of realtors in France?
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Old Feb 27th 2023, 9:10 pm
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

I can't actually answer your question as to why, but from what you hear it is pretty typical.
I had heard similar stories so I decided to bypass the realtors/estate agents/immos/whatever you want to call them, and buy privately. That worked for me. It's not too hard to find properties advertised privately, and having bought privately I struggle to see what an estate agent could have contributed to the process. The seller showed me round and answered my questions, and once we'd agreed on a price the notaire did everything from there on in. Sometimes notaires have a list of properties for sale so that is another way to bypass the agent.

Could be the problem with your field reps is they sell so few properties, they get to the point where they don't actually expect an enquiry to turn into a sale. They assume everybody is a time waster and they got tired of having their time wasted. Reps generally work commission only, a lot take the job on because they think it will be quick easy money and when they find it isn't, and in fact they use a lot of petrol and waste a lot of time with zero, nada, zip to show for it, their enthusiasm quickly wanes.

No doubt there are good professional outfits out there if you're lucky enough to land on one, but you know, you don't actually need one.
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Old Feb 28th 2023, 10:40 am
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Part of the reason is the way that french estate agents are remunerated-ie the buyer pays the fees.This means that there is no incentive to push a particular house or property.They are very unlikely to tell a buyer about a property until they have seen you in person and you have signed a contract with them agreeing to pay their fees.
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Old Feb 28th 2023, 2:02 pm
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

I always handle it by being very interactive myself, never did Emails but rang them daily.
Maybe, I've been lucky but it always worked for me and I moved house (counting) about 12 times over the last 26 years

I'm a bit confused you seem to know which notaire deals with the house ?
I never knew that until I signed a compromis with a mention of the notaire from the other side (either buyer or seller).

And also, if the house is sold recently, it may be that the agency has dealt with the compromis de vente without the use of a notaire.
I'm not sure when they contact the notaires, either during the 10 days of retraction or after those days.
That's what happened when I bought this house.
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Old Mar 1st 2023, 11:12 pm
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Originally Posted by Annetje
I always handle it by being very interactive myself, never did Emails but rang them daily.
Maybe, I've been lucky but it always worked for me and I moved house (counting) about 12 times over the last 26 years

I'm a bit confused you seem to know which notaire deals with the house ?
I never knew that until I signed a compromis with a mention of the notaire from the other side (either buyer or seller).

And also, if the house is sold recently, it may be that the agency has dealt with the compromis de vente without the use of a notaire.
I'm not sure when they contact the notaires, either during the 10 days of retraction or after those days.
That's what happened when I bought this house.
The notaire was on the listing and the house hasn't sold recently (>20 years). This particular agents seems especially useless. And I have a brother in law who is within a 30 minute drive of all the houses we are looking at and they don't call him back!
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Old Mar 1st 2023, 11:17 pm
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Originally Posted by Listen Very Carefully
Part of the reason is the way that french estate agents are remunerated-ie the buyer pays the fees.This means that there is no incentive to push a particular house or property.They are very unlikely to tell a buyer about a property until they have seen you in person and you have signed a contract with them agreeing to pay their fees.
In this particular case the seller was paying the fee. And either way, I for sure would not sign anything until I knew more about the property. It's a complete waste of time to go through all that only to find it's not what you were looking for. The in person thing is happening, as my brother in law is my on the ground proxy. He's visited 3 houses this week, made videos, token detailed photos and drew up at floor plan. He's a builder so its not difficult for him! And BTW, not a single agent who has got back to me has asked me to sign anything before disclosing more information. I've had one refuse to tell me address, so the French wife basically said ok, we'll move on. At no time did the selling agent in that case stipulate contracts. Just being the usual helpful French!
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Old Mar 2nd 2023, 8:06 am
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Originally Posted by TimFountain
The notaire was on the listing and the house hasn't sold recently (>20 years). This particular agents seems especially useless. And I have a brother in law who is within a 30 minute drive of all the houses we are looking at and they don't call him back!
Oh, I understood it had sold recently without the notaire knowing.
Anyway, I'm not sure why the notaire is on the listing ? Is he selling the house (some people do use notaires to sell their property).
It seems to be a bit complicated.
Good luck ! I'm sure you will find something.
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Old Mar 2nd 2023, 8:18 am
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Originally Posted by Listen Very Carefully
Part of the reason is the way that french estate agents are remunerated-ie the buyer pays the fees.This means that there is no incentive to push a particular house or property.They are very unlikely to tell a buyer about a property until they have seen you in person and you have signed a contract with them agreeing to pay their fees.
EDIT TO ADD : As far as I know ...
Don't think that is the case.
It is included in the preliminary agreement but if you don't buy a house with that agent, one shouldn't sign any contract with them.

It seems to me some agents take advantage of people not knowing the system.
The only signature one has to put is on a notice that you visited this particular house with them.
This is a proof you saw the house first with them, so it is illegal to buy that particular house with someone else.
The agents are very reluctant to give the address of a property but, with patience, one can try to find it on google earth (was a hobby of mine).

Last edited by Annetje; Mar 2nd 2023 at 8:42 am.
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Old Mar 2nd 2023, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Originally Posted by Annetje
Don't think that is the case.
It is included in the preliminary agreement but if you don't buy a house with that agent, one shouldn't sign any contract with them.

It seems to me some agents take advantage of people not knowing the system.
The only signature one has to put is on a notice that you visited this particular house with them.
This is a proof you saw the house first with them, so it is illegal to buy that particular house with someone else.
The agents are very reluctant to give the address of a property but, with patience, one can try to find it on google earth (was a hobby of mine).
I assumed that that was what LVC was referring to as a contract - the bit of paper the agency gets you sign to confirm that you viewed the property through them It is a signed agreement, so a contract.
I understand the OP's frustation but banging your head against the way things are done in France, only gives you a headache in the end. It rarely changes the way things are done. You have to find ways to work round it. Focus on private sellers, or get onto Google Earth, or whatever.
I still can't figure out where this notaire fits in. If he really does have a mandate to act on behalf of the sellers and you can put in an offer through him, why bother with an estate agent.
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Old Mar 2nd 2023, 9:05 am
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Originally Posted by EuroTrash
I assumed that that was what LVC was referring to as a contract - the bit of paper the agency gets you sign to confirm that you viewed the property through them It is a signed agreement, so a contract.
I understand the OP's frustation but banging your head against the way things are done in France, only gives you a headache in the end. It rarely changes the way things are done. You have to find ways to work round it. Focus on private sellers, or get onto Google Earth, or whatever.
I still can't figure out where this notaire fits in. If he really does have a mandate to act on behalf of the sellers and you can put in an offer through him, why bother with an estate agent.
Thanks for clarifying the contract bit. I misunderstood that completely.

Yes, the notaire bit is a mystery. If he sells it, he won't use an agency I think ...
Something weird (fishy) going on here.
That's the sort of houses one should keep well away from.

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Old Mar 3rd 2023, 10:26 am
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Originally Posted by TimFountain
Trying to wrap my head around the seeming ineptitude and indifference I've been experiencing with French realtors. We are cash buyers, looking for a place near my outlaw parents and brothers and sisters in law in the Le Mans, Laval, Tours or Mayenne region. My wife is French who calls the realtors directly during working hours and we have a French local number that the realtor can call back on. Out of 4 realtors whom we contacted last week,, we've received one callback. The rest,? Zero, nada, zip... Emails go unanswered, calls are not returned and I cannot figure out why. Are they all just lazy? Certainly some of the listings smack of major incompetence, 4 out of focus photos, 3 sentences of a description, of which one sentence outlines their 5%+ fee.

Our latest encounter with a realtor was a complete farce. My BIL went to visit a house that we were sure was the one. The realtor turned up, didn't have keys to the garage or cellar and said she only had one hour.to spend with my BIL. He went away with a lot of unanswered questions, and asked the realtor for a second visit a few days later. She told him it had sold. He called the notaire as he frankly didn't believe her. Guess what? The notaire was very unhappy. The house hadn't sold and there had been no movement, offers or anything. The realtor straight up lied in a situation where it was very easy to determine whether a lie was being spun The notaire said to submit the offer directly to him and he would 'deal' with the realtor. It's absolutely bonkers what's going on. This same realtor also said another house we wanted to view had sold, but the listing is still up. My BIL lives 20 minutes from this house and of course is French. What in the heck?

Am I just unlucky or is this the usual 'standard' of realtors in France?
I must agree with you, from the rubbish photos, iffy descriptions etc of properties seen in high streets agents and often on-line, estate agents here are frequently a waste of time. As for your query, "Emails go unanswered, calls are not returned and I cannot figure out why" comment, it's simply because this is the way (unfortunately) it works in France. Most handymen, especially plumbers will never answer e-mails, and if they call you back by phone you may have found a rough diamond - and if they turn up following a fixed rdv you've certainly found a true diamond! Most administrations too will rarely if ever answer e-mails.
Back to estate agents. There are so many real-life issues that they just don't disclose, ditto for 'A Place in the Sun' series.
With this in mind, and in a facecious and hopefully entertaining moment, many years ago on this forum I put together a 'guide' to what some of these French estate agent terms conjured up in my mind, with a buyer-beware perception. These I don't doubt have now vanished deep into internet archives.
Over the last hour, just for the fun I looked up a number of recent properties on French estate agent websites, and came up with the following:
What the estate agents, the Connextion or A Place in the Sun never tell you (with tongue firmly planted in-cheek)
The Revised Tongue-in-cheek Guide to Estate-Agent Yuckspeak

Frais de notaire = Under-the-table payments of strawberries to the notaire.

En tontine = You’ll end up sharing the property with the owners uncle.

Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT) = Large quantities of synthetic insecticide were required to eradicate the termites and other nasties living in the woodwork.

Clauses Suspensives = The previous owner has included a hangman’s noose in the cellar.

En indivision = The property features an underground secure & soundproof bunker for unloved mother-in-laws.

Residence secondaire = The ideal property for a bigamist or cheated spouses.

Property avec grenier à grain = Rats and other pests in the loft are guaranteed to keep you awake all night.

Hotel particulier = Your friends won’t like it here, and the heating bills will even have you checking out permanently.

Maison à colombage = New owners soon get used to the odour from the dovecot and visiting pigeons.

Fermette de charme = A pig farm with complimentary gas-masks supplied.

Maison bourgeoise = If you don’t have a poncy accent you’ll be ignored by all the neighbours.

Property includes une cave à vins = Below floor space for your vintage years of Beaujolais nouveau.

Imposing domain = A delightful property but nobody has yet found the entrance.

Maison au bord de la mer = Comes with complimentary calendar to mark up each months significant cliff erosion.

Longère = A ‘must’ property for dachshund breeders.

Maison de Maitre = Ex property of the local Squire, who was hung for money-laundering gained from running a hooky ‘Club Med’ for visitors to Lampedusa.

Propriété avec un grand jardin très bien exposée = Previous owners rented out the garden to nudistes.

Last edited by Tweedpipe; Mar 3rd 2023 at 10:51 am.
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Old Mar 3rd 2023, 1:53 pm
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Fantastic and sadly so true! Thank you.
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Old Mar 3rd 2023, 9:58 pm
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe
I must agree with you, from the rubbish photos, iffy descriptions etc of properties seen in high streets agents and often on-line, estate agents here are frequently a waste of time. As for your query, "Emails go unanswered, calls are not returned and I cannot figure out why" comment, it's simply because this is the way (unfortunately) it works in France. Most handymen, especially plumbers will never answer e-mails, and if they call you back by phone you may have found a rough diamond - and if they turn up following a fixed rdv you've certainly found a true diamond! Most administrations too will rarely if ever answer e-mails.
Back to estate agents. There are so many real-life issues that they just don't disclose, ditto for 'A Place in the Sun' series.
With this in mind, and in a facecious and hopefully entertaining moment, many years ago on this forum I put together a 'guide' to what some of these French estate agent terms conjured up in my mind, with a buyer-beware perception. These I don't doubt have now vanished deep into internet archives.
Over the last hour, just for the fun I looked up a number of recent properties on French estate agent websites, and came up with the following:
What the estate agents, the Connextion or A Place in the Sun never tell you (with tongue firmly planted in-cheek)
The Revised Tongue-in-cheek Guide to Estate-Agent Yuckspeak

Frais de notaire = Under-the-table payments of strawberries to the notaire.

En tontine = You’ll end up sharing the property with the owners uncle.

Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT) = Large quantities of synthetic insecticide were required to eradicate the termites and other nasties living in the woodwork.

Clauses Suspensives = The previous owner has included a hangman’s noose in the cellar.

En indivision = The property features an underground secure & soundproof bunker for unloved mother-in-laws.

Residence secondaire = The ideal property for a bigamist or cheated spouses.

Property avec grenier à grain = Rats and other pests in the loft are guaranteed to keep you awake all night.

Hotel particulier = Your friends won’t like it here, and the heating bills will even have you checking out permanently.

Maison à colombage = New owners soon get used to the odour from the dovecot and visiting pigeons.

Fermette de charme = A pig farm with complimentary gas-masks supplied.

Maison bourgeoise = If you don’t have a poncy accent you’ll be ignored by all the neighbours.

Property includes une cave à vins = Below floor space for your vintage years of Beaujolais nouveau.

Imposing domain = A delightful property but nobody has yet found the entrance.

Maison au bord de la mer = Comes with complimentary calendar to mark up each months significant cliff erosion.

Longère = A ‘must’ property for dachshund breeders.

Maison de Maitre = Ex property of the local Squire, who was hung for money-laundering gained from running a hooky ‘Club Med’ for visitors to Lampedusa.

Propriété avec un grand jardin très bien exposée = Previous owners rented out the garden to nudistes.
I always thought “Cave du vin” just meant we never got round to concreting the floor in the basement room furthest from the back door.
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Old Mar 17th 2023, 3:37 am
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Just a quick update. After looking at 50+ properties online, virtually visiting 4 through my BIL who is a builder, we finally had our offer on a house near Le Mans accepted. We ended up offering the full price as we were competing with 2 other sets of buyers, we were first with a written offer at the asking price, which iMHO was very reasonable for the house size, condition, land and outbuildings. In other good news, I got an email from the Irish Foreign Births Registrar asking to confirm my address, which hopefully means I am getting close to acquiring Irish citizenship, and by inference, EU citizenship. Since the better half is a frog, I could have gone the more complex route to a visa, but the Irish citizenship was the better route....
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Old Mar 17th 2023, 8:57 am
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Default Re: Why are French realtors so useless?

Originally Posted by TimFountain
Just a quick update. After looking at 50+ properties online, virtually visiting 4 through my BIL who is a builder, we finally had our offer on a house near Le Mans accepted. We ended up offering the full price as we were competing with 2 other sets of buyers, we were first with a written offer at the asking price, which iMHO was very reasonable for the house size, condition, land and outbuildings. In other good news, I got an email from the Irish Foreign Births Registrar asking to confirm my address, which hopefully means I am getting close to acquiring Irish citizenship, and by inference, EU citizenship. Since the better half is a frog, I could have gone the more complex route to a visa, but the Irish citizenship was the better route....
A frog ?
Nice one !
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