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Is an exclusive contract or using multiple agencies best to sell my property in France?
Paris has no multiple listing service (MLS) and what some might call an “every agent for himself” mentality. It can therefore be challenging to find an agent you can count on to work hard and represent your interests. Historically property sellers have given their listing to multiple agencies to ensure they reach the most buyers, but is that a winning strategy?
Non-exclusive sales contract
This is called a mandat simple in French. With it, you are free to list your sale property with as many estate agencies as you want. You then pay the commission to the agency that secures your sale. You are also free during this time to find your own buyer and sell to them, cutting out the agent completely and saving on commission.
Listing with several agents in the hopes that your property will get better exposure is a common choice, but as the seller you lose out on price. This is because agencies know they will need to secure a sale the quickest in order not to lose out to competition, so will often rush to accept the first offer they receive.
Exclusive sales contract
Mandat exclusif in French, this agreement gives only one agency the right to market and sell your property.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but statistics show that an exclusive sales contract can often lead to a better sale. One reason is that some buyers are suspicious of a property they see listed everywhere. “A property listed in a magazine six times from six different agencies loses value in the eyes of buyers,” says Miranda Bothe, founder of Paris Property Group, “it signals that the property isn’t selling easily and that there is potentially something undesirable about the property.”
Exclusive contracts are generally agreed to encourage agents to fight for a better price as, freed from the pressure of competing with others, they can focus on maximizing your sale price and thus the value of their commission.
And the statistics prove the superiority of entrusting one agency with your sale. Meilleursagents, the foremost online portal for property price data in France, says that while overall 15-20% of properties are listed using a mandat simple, 40% of successful sales are those done through a mandat exclusif.
There is also evidence to suggest that one agent can actually sell faster than many. Stats cited by French business outlets last year showed properties sold through a mandat simple took 110 days to sell, versus only 72 when done through a mandat exclusif.
Paris Property Group gives our clients the best of both worlds, an exclusive listing agreement with Paris Property Group is better than listing with many agencies: you get the advantage of having many agencies working to sell your property in the style of a multiple listing service, but we manage all the visits and control all the listing information for the property, to ensure that the information is communicated effectively and correctly so that the property is presented in the best way possible – without the negative over-exposure – and we reduce our fees if we sell the property without other agency involvement. The reduced fee is our guarantee to you that our interests are aligned with yours, to ensure that you get the maximum possible out of the sale.
We find that our detailed, comprehensive approach to positioning and marketing property consistently brings in higher prices and more serious buyers.
In the UK and the US, 95% of properties sales are through the equivalent of a mandat exclusif; in France, this is only 15-20%. Why might this be, when the stats show its superiority? A lot of it comes down to old habits and distrust of estate agents. But the French are quickly becoming more like their neighbors across the water, as they begin to see the benefit of entrusting their sale to a single, reputable agency.