It is more than likely that you will chose to sell your property through the services of an estate agency (agence immobilière), and you will find these in the most areas; you may well be able to use the services of the estate agent who sold you your property in the first place, but if not it is probable that your neighbours and friends will know of other good agencies who service the area.
There are a number of ways that you can use an estate agency, and it is a good idea to think about how you wish to go about this in advance. Exclusivity agreements are not usual (although do still happen), and most people will choose to sign up with several agencies. There are pros and cons to every situation, although generally the more agencies that you sign up with the more likely you are to find a buyer.
Exclusive agreement (Mandat exclusive)
Signing an exclusive agreement will mean that the agency you choose is the only one that can sell your property. This is of course the preferred option for each agency, as it will guarantee them comission no matter who purchases your home, whether they have found the buyer or not – and this may encourage them to market your property more actively. You still have the option of sourcing a buyer yourself, but you will have to direct any serious contenders through the agency to make the actual sale.
It is best to sign up to this option if you are not in any rush, and if you are happy for the agency to carry out all viewings. This can be a simpler option as it means that only one agency has a set of keys to your property, and organising appointments and viewings is much easier.
This agreement is usually tacitly renewed every three months, with the terms of renewal included in the contract. If you wish to cancel or change the agreement at any time, or if you do not wish to renew, you will usually need to put this in writing by registered letter (letter recommandée avec A/R).
Semi-exclusive agreement (Mandat semi-exclusif)
Under this kind of agreement, you sign with one agency but agree that you can also attempt to find a buyer themselves. Under the terms of the contract, if you find a seller you will still need to send them through the agency for paperwork, but they can only take a certain percentage of the commission they would take if they had found the seller themselves – usually this is 50%.
Non-exclusive agreement (Mandat simple)
This is the most common agreement signed between sellers and estate agencies in France, and in essence would mean that you can use as many agencies as you wish. This means that as many agencies as possible are working on promoting the property, optimising the audience the property reaches. Once a buyer has been found, in theory you can discuss the paperwork needs with each agency and ask for the most competitive rates to offer them the business. In many cases though, you will work directly with the Notaire to draw up all paperwork.
No matter which option is chosen, and whether you actually use an estate agency to sell the property in the first place, the final stages of the sale must be overseen and managed by a Notaire. The Notaire will usually be chosen by you, and it will be up to buyer whether they use the same Notaire or a different one for their part of the transaction. The Notaire’s fees will be a certain percentage of the value of the property (split two ways if two Notaires are used). The Notaire will be responsible for the actual sale of the property, which takes place in the Notaire’s office with all parties present.
Selling a Rental Property
If you wish to sell a rental property free of rental agreements, you must give your tenant notice to vacate at least six months prior to the expiration of their lease. This notice is also seen as an offer to sell the property to the tenant, and should include the indicated price. The tenant has a period of two months to let you know if they are interested in the sale. If they do not reply, or if they waive such a right, they are required to vacate the premises by the end of the notice period. Should the tenant accept the offer to purchase the property, you must give them between two and four additional months to sign the deed of sale at the notaire’s office. If the tenant does not accept the offer to buy, but the conditions of purchase change, the tenant must be notified and once again be given a prior right to purchase under the new terms.
If the property is to be sold still rented out, you will still be liable for the tenant’s security deposit at the end of the lease. By paying the amount of the security deposit to the purchaser, you will become free from this agreement, providing the tenant has stated their consent in the deed of sale.