Thursday, September 23, 2010
French estate agents - the tricks of the trade
I'm just back from a trip to the UK where I met up with the team from FrenchEntrée and my colleague Rebecca Russell from Cote Abode who had flown in from Nice.
After a full on day of brainstorming and plotting our marketing strategy for 2011 we hit the pub and, over a chilled glass of wine, started telling war stories of the tricks that some local immobiliers get up to.
Rebecca kicked off with with the tale of a local agent on the Riviera who had added 10% to all of the room sizes in an apartment. This would be bad enough in the charente where prices are low but it's a dastardly trick in Nice. Fortunately Rebecca is eagle eyed, diligent and a terrier when it comes to negotiating on behalf of her clients.
I then pitched in with a story I have previously posted - the one where an immobilier in Cognac put a picture of the next door house on his website and in his shop window because "it was prettier".
Guy had a similar tale. He had been looking to buy in Aubeterre and had enquired about a particularly pretty house, only to be told it had just been sold.
He bought something else but when he was next over he saw the same house in the agents window. A few discrete enquiries with his neighbours revealed that it actually belonged to the cousin of the owner of the agency. It's used to get people through the door where they can be shown other "legitimate" houses.
Gaelle, who is from Dijon, laughed out loud at this and said it's so common that the French even have a name for this:
"Le produit d'appel".
It made me chuckle too.... but I suspect that if you have spent time and money coming over to specifically view one of these non existent properties then you wouldn't be joining in quite so heartily.