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What is a property finder?

PUBLISHED: 16:30 03 December 2015

Buying property in France

Buying property in France

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A property finder could save you time and effort by searching for your French property for you, we find out how the system works

There’s a lot to be said for getting to know a good estate agent (immobilier) in the town of your choice. They’ll have inside knowledge of the town, location and the bargains. Some speak English, but not all. However, if you’ve not yet narrowed your search to town level, or you’re worried about speaking French, then a property finder may be the way forward.

In recent years property finders have become increasingly popular, especially with people who don’t have the time to visit France to view properties or lack local knowledge or language skills to find a property themselves. Property finders who know your ideal area will help you narrow your search, saving time, energy, expense and worry.

There are two types of property finders. Firstly, there are search agents who are regulated in a similar way to an immobilier. They’re contracted to search and act on your behalf, often viewing properties for you. Because their contract is with you, search agents normally charge you for their services.

The other property finders are normally affiliated to immobiliers in your search area and are great at helping the smaller, independent immobiliers to have an international presence. These companies usually either charge the immobilier to advertise with them or have an agreement with them whereby they share a small percentage of the sale commission. They rarely charge you a fee for their services.

The key benefit of using either type of property finder is that because the majority of immobiliers are independent with small advertising budgets, you’d probably never know they existed until you walked past their door. A property finder, however, will be able to provide you with access to properties from many agents. Also, most can recommend service companies specialising in products for international clients: holiday letting insurance, mortgage brokers, etc. Importantly, they’ll work with you to communicate your wishes to the immobiliers and will keep you informed of price reductions or properties new to market.

Debroah Plowright works for Chez de Chez Properties in Languedoc-Roussillon

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