Finding a good real estate agent in France

Many British expats who relocate to France opt to purchase property rather than rent, either from the outset or after a period of living in the country. There is a lot of variety across the country in the kind of homes available, from chic Parisian apartments, to quaint townhouses, to sprawling rural villas.
Buying a property is quite a straightforward process, which we cover in our article, ‘Expat’s guide to buying a property in France’. One thing that we recommend is using a real estate agent based in France.
This is important, as real estate agents will be able to filter properties based on specific search criteria, including location, size and budget, which saves a lot of time hunting through listings. They will also know of potential purchases as soon as they are available, which can be invaluable as some types of homes are snapped up quickly. Using a real estate agent also helps with the formal process of negotiations, as they know the French system and the language.
The downside is that a lot of property changes hands without going through a real estate agent, which means that only a portion of available properties are listed. Many sales are done directly between buyer and seller, but this can be more complex for expats who may not be knowledge about the French market and terms of sale. The majority of foreign purchasers do use a real estate professional.

Picking an agent

Real estate agents are regulated in France, so it is fairly straightforward to find a good one. There are over 8,000 real estate agents who are part of the Fédération Nationale de l’Immobilier (FNAIM; the National Federation of Real Estate), a recognised professional body.
The FNAIM is the best place to start to find a good real estate agent. The website ( has a list of real estate agents by region, as well as a search engine to find property listings.
There are plenty of agents who speak English, which can make the process a lot easier. These agents are used to dealing with British expatriates hoping to buy, and can help guide through the system. There are also UK-based real estate agents who deal with French agents, meaning that the property search can be started from home before relocation.

Fees and finances

The agent’s fees are usually included in the price of the property, which is helpful for budgeting though they can be high – anything up to 10% of the sale price could be added on. However, it is important to bear in mind the other essential fees that are associated with buying a property in France.
Another expense is the use of the notaire, who is appointed to handle the legal sale of the property. The notaire is neutral in the sale, but is there to ensure that the conveyancing process is followed correctly and that everything is in order. The notaire will charge a fee that is a percentage of the property price, usually up to 5%. It is fairly common for both buyer and seller to use the same notaire, which streamlines the process, however it is possible to find and appoint a different notaire to the buyer.
Usually the real estate agent can recommend a notaire to deal with the sale of the property, and it is wise to ask for a final purchase price including these fees to ensure that the sale stays within budget.
There are other fees to take into consideration too, including mortgage fees if relevant, registration fees, running costs, utilities and all moving costs.
If you’re moving to France, find out how our international removals team can help to arrange packing, storage and transportation on your behalf.