The “Mandat de Vente”
Volume XXI, Issue 14
Do you have a property in France you wish to sell?
We do this, as licensed agents, but we’re unlike traditional agencies who clamor for listings because without listings they don’t have sales. Instead, as consultants, we will only take on a property for sale that we fully recommend our clients buy. In addition, we don’t take on properties for which we don’t believe we have a strong market, unless we can partner with another agency that does have the market for it.
This is the reason you won’t see many listings advertised on our website. But it is why what you do see there are special properties, very worth buying. They don’t usually stay on sale very long, either. Our market knows they can trust our recommendations.
To see our current listings, visit our website.
As the seller of a property, we will meet with you to discuss the “Mandat de Vente,” or “mandate” in English—a legally binding contract between a property owner (the seller) and a real estate agent or broker (the agent) that authorizes the agent to represent the seller in the sale of their property.
The Mandat de Vente typically includes details such as the property’s description, the price at which it is to be listed, the duration of the agreement, the agent’s commission, and the seller’s obligations. The agent is then responsible for marketing the property, finding potential buyers, and negotiating the sale on behalf of the seller. It is generally signed by both parties and is legally binding.
The specific terms of a Mandat de Vente can vary depending on the agreement between the seller and the real estate agent or broker. However, here are some of the common terms that may be included in a typical Mandat de Vente in France:
Property description: This section describes the property that the seller wants to sell, including its location, size, number of rooms, features, and other relevant details.
Sales price: The Mandat de Vente specifies the asking price of the property. The seller and the agent may negotiate the price before signing the agreement. We tend to allow about 5% in negotiation room and add our commission so that the price includes all possibilities. The bottom line for the seller is exactly that—what is the net bottom line they want to achieve?
Duration of the mandate: This section specifies the length of time that the agent is authorized to sell the property on behalf of the seller. The duration can vary from a few weeks to several months, depending on the agreement between the parties. Normally a mandate is set for 90 days, but we prefer to have 180-183 days to allow for the time to prepare the property and market it most effectively.
Commission: The Mandat de Vente specifies the commission that the agent will receive if they successfully sell the property. The commission is usually a percentage of the sales price, and it may be negotiable. The most important question in this section is WHO pays the commission. The seller or the buyer?
When the buyer pays it, that amount is deducted from the selling price and therefore reduces the notarial taxes and fees, which are based on the net price. In this case, the buyer cannot mortgage that amount and needs the cash to pay it. If the seller pays the agency commission, then the bank will be willing to mortgage it, but the buyer will pay the notarial taxes and fees based on the gross amount.
Special note: on occasion, the mandate can be changed to benefit one party or the other, if all parties agree, and if the Notaire has not yet seen the document!
Seller’s obligations: The Mandat de Vente may specify the seller’s obligations during the sales process, such as keeping the property in good condition, providing access to the property for visits by potential buyers, and providing the necessary documents for the sale.
Exclusivity: The Mandat de Vente may specify whether the agent has an exclusive mandate to sell the property or whether the seller can work with multiple agents at the same time. We require an exclusive mandate. Other agencies may not. To be more specific:
There are three types of mandates: the Simple Mandate or “Mandat Simple,” the Semi-Exclusive Mandate or “Mandat Semi-Exclusive,” and the Exclusive Mandate or “Mandat Exclusif.”
A Simple Mandate is the most common type and provides the seller with the most freedom. It allows the property to be listed with multiple estate agencies and/or advertised privately. However, there is a potential downside as estate agents may not put as much effort into advertising or selling a property that they know may be sold by another agency. The duration of this mandate is typically three months and can be renewed.
A Semi-Exclusive Mandate provides estate agents with exclusivity, but the seller retains the right to sell the property privately. This could be a beneficial situation as the seller can benefit from the assistance of estate agents in selling the property or from a private sale without estate agent fees. However, it is crucial to carefully read the contract to ensure no fees or commissions are payable to the estate agents in the case of a private sale. Additionally, if a potential buyer has already visited the property through the estate agent and signed a “bon de visite,” then the seller cannot legally sell the property to that buyer without going through the estate agent.
A “bon de visite,” or real estate inspection voucher, is a document issued by the agency in charge of selling a property. By signing this document after having discovered the property in the company of sworn agents, potential buyers express their interest in the property for sale. If this document lists the main characteristics of the property put on the market (such as the surface, the number of rooms, or the location), it also testifies to the intermediary work of the agency mandated to carry out visits. It is a way to be accountable to the sellers.
An Exclusive Mandate grants complete exclusivity to the estate agent, meaning that the property cannot be listed with any other estate agents or advertised for sale privately. Even if the seller finds a buyer themselves, they will be obligated to go through the estate agent and pay the relevant commission. This option is the most restrictive but can lead to a quick sale due to the tight timeframe and exclusivity deal, which typically means that the estate agent will be highly committed to selling the property as swiftly as possible. The maximum duration for an Exclusive Mandate is three months, and the contract can be negotiated for a shorter period if desired.
Termination: The Mandat de Vente specifies the conditions under which the agreement can be terminated, such as the expiration of the mandate, the sale of the property, or a breach of the agreement by either party.
It’s important to note that the terms of a Mandat de Vente can be negotiable, and sellers should carefully review the document before signing it. As with all legally binding contracts in France, it’s important that you understand exactly what you are signing. The contract should include the details of both the seller and the estate agent/agency, along with details of the property and the agreed-upon sales price. The most important details to verify include the following:
The agency’s commission—this averages around 5% but could be as high as 9%. Make sure that you understand exactly how much of the property sale price you will receive after the fees have been accounted for.
The type of mandate, i.e., whether or not you are able to list your property with other agents and/or as a private sale.
The contract duration. This is typically three months for a single mandate, but don’t assume that this is the case. Be sure to negotiate an arrangement that works for you. In the case of single and semi-exclusive mandates, note whether the contract is automatically renewed at the end of the duration period, as well as the notice period that is required to end the contract.
Any additional clauses: for example, the estate agent might try to include a clause that prevents you from listing the property at a lower price with competing agents or privately, or may stipulate a commission to be paid to them in the event of a private sale. Remember that you can always refuse or negotiate on these clauses—which would be recommended in both of these example cases.
Finally, it’s important to understand when and how you can withdraw from or terminate your Mandat de Vente contract. Firstly, there is a 14-day cooling-off period after signing the Mandat de Vente during which the seller may withdraw from the contract with no consequences. However, once this period has passed, you will be bound by the terms of the agreement for the duration of the contract—the only way to terminate the contract during this time is if the professional does not uphold their part of the agreement.
You may end the agreement after the original period (typically three months) has passed, but you must respect the notice period and issue a formal termination request. Typically this means giving 15 days’ notice and sending a “lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception” (a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt).
If you are a North American owner of a property in France you wish to sell, and believe that your property fits the North American buyers we have, then before you contract with another agency, be sure to speak to us first! We may have solutions (and buyers) for you that traditional agents won’t have!
The Adrian Leeds Group®
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