Selling Real Estate in France: PRICE




  • When will I receive the money? The day you sign the sale's contract at the notary office, the notary will wire you the purchase money.
  • Usually, a first binding contract called "Promesse de vente" or "Compromis" is signed (one or) three month before the sale's agreement in order to secure the transaction. It give time to the buyer to ask the bank for a loan based on this "compromis". If the bank refuse the loan (and If the buyer applied in good faith, meaning asking the exact amount and interest rate and duration stated in the contract), the contract is cancelled without prejudice. But if the buyer changes his mind for another reason, he will have to pay contractual damages (usually 10% of the sale). THE PRICE OF THE FIRST CONTRACT IS THE FINAL BINDING PRICE.
  • Usually in France, the fees of the real estate agent are paid by the buyer and not the seller.

MISTAKES to avoid when selling Real Estate in France

  • Never pay any fees to a real estate agent until your house/apartment is sold. Even if the buyer already signed the first contract called "promesse de vente" or "compromis" . IT IS ILLEGAL IN FRANCE (criminal offense of the agent).
  • When you ask an agent how much they can get for your house/apartment, there are two answers:
    • The price that makes you happy
    • The "real" or likely price.
  • Don't start too high to test the market. If the price is really too high, you could have to sell it low because the property stayed too long on the market and especially on the real estate agency website.

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PITFALL to avoid

  • Choosing the agent who gives you the highest likely selling price is usually a mistake.
  • Some agents over-quote to sellers to get them to sign up. After several weeks or months the agent suggests lowering the asking price of your house/apartment because it is overestimated and you should follow the current market price (what is probably true).


ADVICE given by a French real estate lawyer

  • DIVERSIFY your sources in France (local newspapers, several real estate agent, internet etc.)
  • Ask the agent why he would be the best agent to sell your house/apartment. Ask the agent how is he going to get you the best price for your house/apartment? Compare the different answers of the real agent you interviewed and the strenght of each selling point.
  • Get a friend to mystery shop your agent. See what they say about you and your house and how they try (or not) to obtain the best market price for you.
  • Don't sign anything before being informed and taking advice
  • Always get independent legal advice. Hire a lawyer in France to review the contract (approx. cost: 500 euros)

BEST scenario

Everything goes well. Congratulations you probably choose a good agent. The buyer is paying the agent "commission" (fees) and your buyer is not complaining after the sale about a latent defect ("vice caché") or a breach of contract or a false information provided by the agent or someone else in your name.

WORST scenario

  • Loosing time (several months) and a lot of money (thousands euros)
  • Sometimes real estate agents in France work only for themselves, when they give you sales advices.

Smart questions to ask yourself

  • How and where can I find different reliable sources to know the market price?
  • Do I understand the Contracts and the French Real Estate Law?

Smart question to ask to your lawyer in France

  • Is there something else I should know?
  • Could you take a look on the contract?

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Me Bruno Traesch on radio FRANCE BLEU: