For house buyers here are some of the typical questions and pain points they face, yet solutions exist !
Location - where to buy a house?
Getting advice on the best area to buy from agents is not easy, as each agent covers a small geographic area next to the physical agency. As a result agents will be less objective and will tend to push buyers to look at a property in their town or area. One solution is to find a professional that spans all of France and deals in your specific type of property, like only chateaux or sea front properties. Another solution is to use a property finder who will cover a whole region in France, like Smartfinder Home in the South East of France.
Choice - how to see all the properties for sale in a given area ?
Property portals on the Internet were designed to give buyers the widest selection of properties, and this is one of the biggest improvements in the last 10 years for buyers. The ideal is to have like in the US, an MLS that lists 100% of properties for sale. As France has no MLS, and before we can get a “virtual MLS” running, to help buyers pick the best portals, we have provided a list of the largest portals covering the Cote d’Azur, the Var and the Alpes Maritimes that anyone can view and share.
Property details – getting all the pros and cons of a house and its precise location ?
As you would expect owners or agents will highlight just the positive points and show the best looking photos only. If that initial information is tempting, the buyer has to visit the house to discover the negatives points himself. A new generation of agents are more objective and will share up front any limitations or defects on a property, to avoid wasting time in pointless visits. Once again, property finders can do these upfront checks on behalf of the buyer, and find out the location, so that the buyer can filter and focus on the best properties.
Clearly transparency and trust are key in meeting house buyers expectations, and the property finders or buyers agents are best placed to meet those expectations. So will house buyers adopt this new house hunting approach or would they rather continue the slower traditional route, contacting agents one by one ? Our bet is that media coverage of house buyers experiences will bring about this change.