Find the answers to many of your expat questions here

View Latest Posts

You're missing out...

As a member you can enjoy exclusive info and offers.


Notaire or Estate Agent?

Posted by zojo691 - Created: 14 years ago
0 0
Sorry no image available

5 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 5)

Sorry no image available
Posted by Stargazer-780995 - 14 years ago

Bobs advise is excellent, take note!

We didn't know about this site when we made our decisions (out of interest, how long has it been up & running?) We'd spent many years visiting north west France and when we made our decision to move we knew the area quite well, knew almost exactly where and what kind of property we wanted, the situation/size/condition/price (we were never shown anything even slightly out of our price range,etc.)Which does help the search a great deal.

Back then we read 'French Property News' and went to the French Property Exhibition London for lots of info, also read 'Live & Work in France', had enough printed material to build the house! And of course visited a lot, we may have taken more time over it as we wanted to live here permanently, not use it as a holiday home. This site will be of great help, do as much research as possible, and enjoy those ferry crossings, I really miss them now, even the rough winter ones......


Sorry no image available
Posted by jaypeter - 14 years ago

Rule of thumb property prices are a better deal with notaires.Admittedly there are some good estate agents around, but just as in the Uk the industry does not have a tarnished image for nothing!Most sensible advice is not to jump in and buy without some local knowledge -all French property prices will seem reasonable compared with the crazy UK market.

We can give you names of several good notaires whom we work with if the Basse Normandie region is of interest to you.

Best of luck


Sorry no image available
Posted by bob-780838 - 14 years ago


a common misconception is that buying from a Notaire is much cheaper than an agency.

The Notaires also add a commission for selling a property, which they call "frais de négociation", which can often be lower than an agent by several percent, but the right Agent should save you untold hassles if they are "real" Agents.

Selling or rental of properties is regulated in France and any "real" Agence Immobilière will have a Carte Professionelle number which ensures that they carry financial guarantees and insurances to protect the buyer, and that they have the appropriate qualifications and have no criminal record. They are also required by law to display their tableau of fees in the front window of the agency, so you know exactly what you are paying and to who. 

BEWARE any "Agent" that is not correctly registered, there are some who operate a property finding service where you pay a fee and not a commission, but without any regulation, how do you know you arent paying the Notaires fees and a commission to the agent? (Plus perhaps the property has been bought and re-sold by the agent themselves)

NEVER hand over any cash, ever - full stop - especially if the agent says it will "smooth the wheels" This is totally illegal and will probably only line this agents pocket. Do not even give a cheque to an agent who does not have a carte professionnelle, if you must use an unregistered property finding service make sure that all your financial dealings are direct with the Notaire that YOU choose (English speaking ones are here)  

So, have a read through the relevant INFOrmation pages here, then choose an area that interests you.

Go to the Real Estate and Property section of AngloINFO here to find registered Agents in the area you have chosen. E-mail them with your full requirements and see what they have to offer you - let them do the work of finding and negociating a property for you - its what you pay them for!

In my experience, doing a general search by internet will throw up a whole pile of sites full of unregistered agents trying to attract you to their corner of France with a selection of properties, many of which "already sold" at unrealistically low prices. You will waste your time and become confused. Trust me!

Sorry to go on - but property buying, if done "correctly" in France can be very easy, stress free and safe - leaving you time to enjoy the experience.

happy hunting!




Sorry no image available
Posted by Stargazer-780995 - 14 years ago


Just want to reiterate what Brian says really, if it helps.

We bought through an Estate Agent, although we had viewed a property via a Notaire who was just as helpful and thorough in going through the details. But with the Estate Agent we did get the 'complete service', the electricity/water etc connections was sorted out by them, all sorts of advice and options were given.

They came to the Notaires with us for the contract translation etc. Bought us coffees when we were ever waiting for people, even helped out when we broke down once ! They also offered a complete 'after sales' service, would help find tradesmen, phone for appointments for us if needed, and so on. It's all part of the cost I suppose, which we thought was good anyway, but it is worth it for the peace of mind.

Maybe purchasing directly through a Notaire this happens also? I don't know. Maybe others have more experience of this?

As Brian also says, once the decision is made it's a breeze. We were almost expecting a knock on the door from someone saying it's all gone wrong!! You wonder why there so much hassle in England.

We used La Manche Immobilier, in St.Lo, also have offices in La Haye du Puits and Pont D'Ouilly. They have agents who speak excellent English. If you are looking around those areas, they have a web-site now, have a look.

Happy searching.

Sorry no image available
Posted by Brian MFC - 14 years ago

Hi Rory ,

Have just purchased a house in a little village near Gace 61 , We used an estate agent in Gace (success immobilier) . the guy Rogier could not have been more helpful .

Rogier sorted all the buying , electrics ,water , bank with english speaking employee who is so helpful , it is incredible we keep waiting for something to go wrong .

We found our property , agreed a price , payed the deposit , 5 weeks later we received the keys ,wish it was like this in England.

Hope this is helpful if you need any more info , do not hesitate to contact me.

Good Luck

       Brian R