THE ROLE OF THE ESTATE AGENT
15 January 2020
THE ROLE OF THE ESTATE AGENT
If you want to acquire or sell a property the estate agent is there to quickly facilitate and concretize your project. The following is a summary of the role of the real estate agent seen by our real estate agency Mougins CENTURY 21 Coast & Country.
Some are tempted to fend for themselves when buying or selling their property, but having someone with skills and experience can avoid many complications. Intermediary between the seller and the buyer, the real estate agent is present to assist you throughout the process, from taking on the property for sale to finalizing the transaction.
1. For the seller: the fair estimate of the price and the signing of the sales mandate
As a seller contacting a real estate agency is the first step in the sales process. With an intimate knowledge of the market, knowing what has been sold in the area, and after a careful study of the property, the agent is able to provide an objective estimate of the selling price. Among other advantages this avoids the property remaining unsold for a long period due to an over-evaluation.
When there is agreement on the estimate a mandate is then signed between the two parties: the selle or "mandant", and the real estate agent or "mandataire" The Mandate mentions the characteristics of the property, the sale price and the percentage of agency fees. The agency fees are standardized and amount to 6% includingtVAT for a transaction on a villa or apartment, and 10% on a plot of land. Whether it is a simple mandate or an exclusive mandate, the parties are engaged for a minimum duration of 3 months. After this period, and unless terminated, the mandate is renewed automatically for a period of 12 months at the end of which it will automatically end. Once past the minimum period, and subject to 15 days notice, either party may end the mandate by letter with acknowledgment of receipt.
The seller first signs the two copies of the mandate (if there is more than one owner all must sign) which is then sent to the real estate agency. Once countersigned by the agency and recorded in its register of mandates, the agency returns a copy of the mandate to the seller, and keeps the second in its files.
In order to facilitate the sale, upon taking on the mandate certain real estate agencies, including CENTURY 21 Mougins, ask the seller for a complete file on the property: compulsory diagnoses, the first pages of the title deed, the identity documents of the seller(s), the latest property tax demands, and the charges if the property is in a condominium. A detailed property description is then written and quality photos taken. This information will then be visible on the agency’s window, on its website, as well as on real estate ad sites and magazine/ newspaper ads.
2. For the buyer: the presentation of one or more properties to potential buyers
The real estate agent constantly receives requests from clients looking for real estate through one of his many communication channels. His role is then to help them to clearly define their research criteria: type of property sought (country house, townhouse, penthouse apartment, ground floor apartment, etc.), maximum budget, location , the number of bedrooms, the view (sea, countryside, garden, etc.), the area of the property / land / terrace, etc. This step is very important in the purchasing process. At the start of the search customers are often not entirely clear about their requirements, but as the visits progress a clear idea generally emerges. After selecting the properties to visit, the real estate agent organizes the planning of the visits. If certain properties visited arouse the interest of the potential buyer, then a re-visit is generally made in order to make a choice.
3. The purchase offer and the negotiation between the parties
Once the choice of the buyer is made, he will make a proposal in writing to the real estate agent, mentioning whether a loan is needed or not. This is very important and can become a key element of the negotiation (if there is no suspensive clause to obtain a loan, this limits the risk of the sale not being completed).
The agent will then forward the proposal to the seller. He has the obligation to transmit any offer that is communicated to him, even if it is much lower than the asking price. The seller then has three choices: he can accept the offer at the proposed price, make a counter offer, or refuse the offer if he considers it too low. The real estate agent intervenes to manage the negotiation and get the seller and the buyer to agree on a price. Once the two parties agree on the price, it is then possible to proceed to the drafting of the sales agreement (compromis) where the terms and conditions of the sale are detailed.
Many agents work today in collaboration with other agencies. It is not uncommon for an agency to present the buying client to another agency representing the selling client and vice versa.
4. The agreement to sell or “Compromis”
Our real estate agency always recommends having the compromise drafted by a notary, in order to avoid any litigation. As far as possible we also recommend that the notary of the seller and of the buyer be different, so that a double check is carried out, and that the interests of each are defended as objectively as possible.
The purchaser is liable for deed costs more commonly (and wrongly!) called "notary fees" as the majority goes to the state. These are generally around 7.5%.
It is important to check that the price and description of the property are correct, to look at the easements, and to pay particular attention to the diagnoses giving information on the state of the property compared to current standards.
At the signing of the agreement, a security deposit, generally between 5% and 10% of the purchase price, must be paid by the buyer to the escrow account of his notary. Once the compromise has been signed by both parties, the buyer has a 10-day cooling-off period, where he can decide to withdraw while keeping his deposit. The seller is already committed.
The real estate agent accompanies his clients to appointments with the notary.
5. The final sale document or “Acte de Vente”
It takes between two and three months after the signing of the compromis to gather all the documents necessary for signing the final act. It is only after this document has been signed, and after payment of the balance and delivery of the keys by the seller, that the buyer officially becomes the owner of the property The notary gives the buyer a certificate of ownership while waiting to receive the final duly registered deed (almost 1 year later!).
6. After the sale
The real estate agent can also help in all post-acquisition procedures. Our real estate agency CENTURY 21 Mougins offers its clients (especially foreigners!) to carry out transfers of electricity, water, internet contract etc., and to put them in contact with local companies for carrying out work, or maintaining their new real estate.