Expert Insight, Breaking News, and Insider Stories on Real Estate in Paris
Ask Miranda: Can’t I search for an apartment to buy in Paris on my own? Do I need an agent?
Question: Why can’t I just search for an apartment to buy in Paris on my own? Is it necessary to use an agent?
The fragmented French market can make that a formidable task. With no Multiple Listing System, individual agencies only list their own properties. They can’t and won’t show you properties listed elsewhere, though sometimes properties are listed with more than one agency – which makes for even quicker sale, before you have a chance to make your move.
Thus, buyers must go from one agency to another, leaving their contact information and hoping for the best. Should you happen to walk in at the right time, you might be in luck. But since good properties sell quickly, competition among buyers is fierce and agencies have no real incentive to maintain a relationship with you as a buyer.
Furthermore, France has the biggest private seller market in Europe: more than half of the properties change hands without the use of a real estate agent. So even if you had first access to the properties listed in the 3500 real estate agencies in Paris, you would still only know about half the properties on the market.
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