Why We Exist
There’s a reason we exist…and we know what we do. But, it may be hard for you to understand coming from a North American market where buying or renting real estate is a completely different game than it is in France. This all started about 20 years ago when my readers needed someone to help them buy property in Paris. It was an organic path to take at the time, and that is still true today.
You’ve likely bought and sold real estate more than once in your lifetime and think you have it down pat. Those notches in your belt make you feel like an expert. And maybe you are…but in America and not in France. Take everything you learned and throw it out the window, then start over.
First off, we are Americans devoted to Americans who desire to live and/or invest in France. Our team of property consultants knows the laws, customs, and language, and how to navigate the complex systems so you can rest assured you will not fall into the pits along the way…of which there are many.
Let’s start with the fact that there is no MLS in France—Multiple Listing Service. This is an organization that is widely used by real estate brokers across the U.S. to “represent sellers under a listing contract to widely share information about properties with other brokers who may represent potential buyers or wish to work with a seller’s broker in finding a buyer for the property or asset.” (Wikipedia.org) What this means is that a property goes up on the service for sale and everyone has access to it at the same moment. That’s a big deal, because the brokers can work for the buyer by easily finding a property with the wave of a wand (or a quick search on the Internet). And as a result, the agents are happy to share their commissions (usually about 6%, shared 3% each).
In France, this doesn’t exist. And what that means is that every agency has only their listings to represent and on top of that, are loathe to share their commissions unless they absolutely have to (about 5% is built into the asking price). In effect, the agents work exclusively for the seller and that leaves you, as the buyer, out in the cold to fend for yourself. When you hire us, we’re working for you, the buyer (or renter), and not the selling agent, or agency or property.
Without the MLS, properties that have been sold, or are under contract, may be left on the agency websites or advertised in their windows, just to act as “loss leaders”—left promoted to attract new customers, even if those particular properties are no longer available. By working closely with our trusted agents, we have access to properties that are not yet listed, because they will sell so fast, there’s no need for the agencies to post them! We also have access to properties that the agents are vying for their mandates…they don’t even have the listing yet, but wish to show the seller they can perform well! So, you’ll never have access to these “inside” properties.
Most of the agencies represent just the properties in their district or area because it’s physically difficult for them to go outside of that. So, this means that many agencies must be visited to find just one property. The agents don’t traditionally work nights and weekends like you are accustomed to in the U.S., so if you’re a working person, then finding the time to visit agencies and properties may prove to be very difficult. But, we can and do. It’s our job!
Let’s add to all this the fact that you may not be culturally or linguistically French. So, you take an agent that isn’t working for you, the buyer, and add to that the enormous amount of effort that agent must devote to educating you, the buyer, holding your hand throughout the whole process and what you get is a very uninterested agent. I hear the stories all the time about the agents who never even phoned or emailed back. It’s not at all surprising, considering that most have a guaranteed base salary that can keep them floating quite nicely without your business, so why should they go to so much trouble? You’re the most difficult client they will ever have, so why work so hard if the risk of winning a client is so slim?
We work with a number of wonderful, hard-working agents, but we always keep in mind that they work for the seller, not the buyer. The things they will say to make a sale can be just about anything. I’ve heard some of the most ridiculous things…from “It will only cost about 5,000€ to completely renovate this apartment” (realistically more like 3,000€ a square meter) to “Lots of owners rent short-term in the building,” when the bylaws clearly forbid it. And lets face it, they aren’t going to point out the negative aspects of the property that might cost them the sale…which is exactly what we do—it’s our job!
The agents really like us for all these reasons, however. We bring them qualified clients who have paid us for the service, so they are serious buyers, not wasting their time. We also manage the client and the process all along the way, so they have nothing really to do, other than meet our clients for periodic visits to the property, or ensure that we have all the documentation we need to close the sale. In fact, they really love us—we’re their partners making it much easier for them to make the sale and work through the transaction without having to give up their share of the commissions.*
With good advice and careful selection, we will not only reduce the time wasted visiting properties that don’t meet the criteria as the agents will show you anything they have listed regardless of whether it fits your needs and desires or not.
Once the property is found, then you have to navigate the transaction—the documents (in French legalese), the process (not at all like Stateside) and the legal and tax aspects (do you really want your kids to pay huge sums in French inheritance taxes?). By contrast, we provide the resources—the Notaire, the advisors, the insurance agents, the currency brokers, etc., so that there is really nothing for you to do, but sit back and let us guide you through the process. We will also save you money by providing expertise on negotiation, reducing currency transfer expense and risk, and structuring the purchase properly to minimize tax and other liabilities.
But, don’t believe me. Here’s what some of our recent clients have said:
“I felt I had someone in my corner, advocating for my interests”
Without their support, I suspect I would have made several mistakes along the way. I felt throughout the process that I had someone in my corner, advocating for my interests–even for things I never would have thought of myself. They helped negotiate the price, as well as inclusion of some of the furniture. I’m sure their efforts saved me more money than the fee I paid–which was one of the best investments I have ever made. I now have my dream home, and I know I would never have found it on my own. The experience in working with them far exceeded my expectations. Jennifer went above and beyond in every aspect. She held my hand every step of the way and helped me in every aspect (even some unrelated to the house purchase, eg. where to find a Christmas tree!). I would absolutely recommend the Adrian Leeds Group if you are making a move to France! I cannot imagine going through this process without them! They are worth their weight in gold.
“Worked in our best interest at all times.”
Everything that was promised, was delivered. Both Adrian and our agent did more than expected. Every facet and concern were anticipated and we felt safe and informed while navigating a complex and anxiety-producing process. We absolutely trust that the Adrian Leeds Group worked in our best interest at all times. They steered us away from temptations and constantly reminded us to focus on what is most important to us in the long run. We could never have navigated our purchase without them. I can’t even imagine the wrong turns we would have taken. We speak some French, but so many of the details are beyond our skills. I absolutely, without question, would recommend the Adrian Leeds group. I can’t say enough.
P. BARCUS & R. SLADE
“We couldn’t be more grateful.”
We love the apartment, and couldn’t be more grateful to the Adrian Leeds Group for finding the apartment for us. We are also very grateful for your help working with the real estate company, and for your help during the “états de lieu” process. Our entire experience with the ALG was exceptionally positive, from beginning to end, and I am happy to share my observations on your website readers.
GORDON M. AND ERIC R.
“I recommend the Adrian Leeds Group 1000%!”
I am so happy I chose Adrian Leeds Group to help me find my apartment. Adrian’s team was incredibly thorough, professional, prompt, and organized. Adrian and her team helped me find the perfect apartment despite the little time I had and showed up on move-in day to help facilitate the final paperwork and walk-through. The apartment rental process in Paris can be incredibly daunting and difficult, but Adrian’s team made it feel so much more manageable and easy than I imagined. I recommend the Adrian Leeds Group 1000%!
Want to see more testimonials? Visit our website.
*Note: On occasion, (but, never in Paris), when we have a commission share with the selling agency, we refund that back to the client, so it’s entirely possible you’ll pay us very little for all our hard work!!!
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. Considering a property purchase in France? Don’t do it lightly. Let us help you make the smartest decisions to ensure you make the best investment you can. We can also expertly advise you how best to create a profitable rental. Contact us to learn more.