French Real Estate How do you estimate the price value of French property?

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Avignon, France. Photo by D. Hennessey

The process of estimating the market value of French real estate is not easy.

The lack of a centralized database of French property sale prices means you really have to find a local real estate professional to get you a proper estimate of potential sale or purchase price of a French property.

If you want to do some research on your own here are some suggestions:

Consult the Notaries of France website that shows pricing data and market tendencies

The notaries of France website can give you access to some of the data that is known by notaries. Remember the French notaries are the people who see all the transaction data. Here is the link to the French notary site in French.

Note one: This data does not disclose to you the individual value proposition of the property you wish to buy or sell. The data just shows overall pricing and size of French properties in a particular area. It is like you see the price of a car for sale but you don’t know the condition of the engine and drive train nor do you know if the interior is good or the tires are worn etc So this data is only a general overview.

Note two: This data also should not be seen as a minimum or maximum sale price, it is simply an average of reported sale prices during a certain period of time noted on the site. Remember as you estimate price, if as a seller you inflate the price you place your property on the market at, you risk the property never selling and potentially interest buyers never visiting your property. If you price your property too low you may make a loss. We recommend you do your own research, however, make sure you contact an English speaking French real estate agent to get final professional guidance.

Get Three Estimates

For French property sellers, we recommend you get 3 estimates of the potential sale price of your property, preferably from English speaking French agents from different offices. It is really important you ask the agents to show you how they come up with prices they offer you and if they know well the neighborhood your property is located inside. Don’t expect the agent to give you an estimate over the phone. If they do, it is unlikely to be accurate. Your property needs to be visited to be professionally evaluated based on all it offers.

French property buyers you must ask your agent to do an evaluation of the property you are thinking of buying before you make an offer. You cannot simply look at the listing price and make an offer, you need to know if the price is reasonable or needs to be seriously reduced. If you need an English speaking French agent we can guide you to an agent at no charge to you. Contact us here

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Wall Image Avignon. Photo by D. Hennessey

French Property: How much work needs to be done?

When you, as a buyer or seller, want to get the sense of the value of a French property you need to consider the work that needs to be done in the property. Once you have the diagnostic reports you get a certain idea of how much work needs to be done, for example, to bring the properties electricity up to current norms, to make the home energy efficient etc. Buyers need to seriously consider a professional home inspection to make sure the diagnostic reports are valid. Sellers are better off fixing minor defects in the property so the property presents itself well. Here is a guidebook that can help you maximize the sale price of your property.

Note: If there is a large amount of work to be done it is often better to adjust the price down since as a seller you may not have the money to do the work or you may not chose to do the work in a way that will be attractive to a buyer. See advice of a professional to find out what work is appropriate.

Once you know the cost of the work that needs to be done you take the market value of a French property that does not need the work to be done and subtract from your estimate of sale price.

Adjust for features included in the home

Some French properties are sold with completed kitchens included, some are not. Other French properties are sold with appliances, some are not. Then again some French properties are sold with light fixtures, some are not.

If the property has an important feature like a garage or swimming pool the price needs to be adjusted accordingly. Be aware the condition of the swimming pool is important, if it needs work it could be more of a negative than a positive.

Note: You need to know the value of these items indicated above and adjust up or down as appropriate your estimate of the potential sale price of your French property.

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House in Cannes Photo by D. Hennessey

Neighborhood value: close by

An identical apartment in a different neighborhood can be worth a lot more or a lot less. If one apartment looks onto a train track and the other to a view of the sea there will be a different value. If one house is on a busy street and the identical home is on a quiet side road the value will be different. You need to be familiar with lots of homes to get a sense of pricing this is why we recommend you speak to a professional. Contact us to find an agent in your area.

Neighborhood value: in proximity

If your French property is in safe walking distance to a school, library, bakery etc or on the bus route to work this can add value to your home in contrast to an identical property that does not offer these features. This is obvious but not always taken into account by sellers who see a photo or video of a home online and assume the listing price is the value of their home at a minimum. You need to know the features of the neighborhood.

Major roads close by not mentioned in any private or professional advertisement can also impact the value of your French property. Make sure you compare comparable properties.

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Sea View Photo by D. Hennessey

French real estate market timing

When there are more properties similar to yours available to buyers then your property must be priced more competitively to get the attention of buyers. When there are few similar properties for sale you can potentially increase the price of your property since there will be a greater demand.

The market changes at different times of the year. Once you know when the best times are you can plan as a buyer or seller to take advantage of this. Timing is one important item when it comes to buying French real estate. You can learn about this and other important buying essentials from us at ESREA France during a private consultation. Consultation details here.

Make sure you do not price based on other list prices

List prices are wishes from owners and they do not represent the market value of French estate. As you work to estimate the sale price of your French property remember you are looking for the price it will sell for not the price to place it on the market.

Once you have an idea of what price it will sell for add a small not large amount on top to allow for negotiation.

As a buyer you may become aware of a very well priced property if so there may be no room for negotiation. This awareness can be something you will have learned from your professional assistance.

Remember market value of a property is market value
Sometimes owners think the market value of their property is X and they place it on the market with an agent and demand a sale price of X plus the agency fee. This is not correct. The value of a property does not change because you have an agent working for you. The potential of selling the property does. So if the property sells with an agent you pay a fee for their service. If the agent does not sell the property you don’t pay the fee. Just like if you get an accountant to do your taxes you pay for their service. If you do your taxes on your own you don’t pay for the accountants assistance.

If you would like to learn more about French real estate in English you are welcome to contact us to learn more about the services we offer (seminars, books, videos etc) If you would like to find an English speaking French real estate agent in your area of choice we can help you connect with one at no charge for our guidance. Contact us here.

Note: The above information is for educational purposes only and is only as starting set of guidelines for estimating the value of a French property. As always seeking professional guidance is a wise choice and recommended by us.