You want to pay for your property at the lowest price, nothing more normal. You are therefore thinking of making a real estate purchase without an agency, to avoid an expensive commission. Is this a good plan? What are the avenues to explore to go directly with the seller? And the pitfalls to avoid? We give you all our advice so that your project succeeds in the best conditions!
Buying without a real estate agency: is it more economical?
Agency fees represent a significant part of the total cost of the transaction. At the same time, you will save some time, and maybe even money on the purchase price.
Note: Agency fees are not the only costs affecting your real estate purchase. You must also take into account in your budget the notary fees and the administrative fees relating to your mortgage.
Going through a real estate agency, how much does it cost?
The purchase of real estate without an agency is currently booming, thanks to the development of platforms for connecting individuals. In addition, buying directly allows you to make substantial savings. Real estate agents charge agency fees on a basis ranging from 1.5 to 8% of the sale price of the property, with an average of 5.3% in Paris.
For those who are not mathematicians, this commission represents €18,500 for accommodation offered at €350,000. In other words, a tidy sum. Which, moreover, is always left to your charge. Don’t be fooled by the statement “the fees are the responsibility of the seller”. In practice, it means that the sale price of the property has been inflated by the remuneration of the real estate agent.
The disadvantages of a real estate purchase without an agency
However, is a real estate purchase without an agency really advantageous? Not necessarily, for two reasons:
- The price: if you as a buyer are looking for the best price, the same is of course true for the seller. The temptation is great for the latter to overestimate the price of his home, both to realise a nice added value only because he is very attached to it. Conversely, a real estate agency sets a realistic price with the seller, in correlation with those practised on the market, so that the real estate transaction is carried out as quickly as possible. Indeed, if the primary goal of the real estate agent is to earn the highest possible commission (therefore selling the property as expensive as possible), setting a price too high would imply not finding a buyer and multiplying visits. , which constitutes a waste of time and a significant cost for the latter. As a result, you are more likely to find the right purchase price through a real estate agency;
- Lost time: you will have to look for properties within your budget, contact the owners to organise a visit, go to this visit… Tasks that quickly become time-consuming and steal precious time. On the other hand, with a real estate agency, you just have to indicate your essential criteria and they will tell you whether or not they have a corresponding property in their files.
Is it possible to buy a property without an agency and go directly through the seller?
During your research on the Internet, you spotted a 3-room apartment offered by an agency, and when you visit, love at first sight is confirmed. You also met the owner, with whom the feeling went well. So you wonder if you can make the sale directly with him, to dodge the commission. What do you risk doing this?
In fact, everything depends on the mandate that was signed between the seller and the real estate agent. If it is a simple mandate, the seller is entitled to sell his property directly to a buyer. However, if you visited the accommodation through the agent, then the commission is due to him. This is also the reason why the latter makes you sign a document during your first visit.
If he is aware of the transaction (which will inevitably happen at one time or another), he can claim damages from the seller… But also from you! At least in the event that you have used fraudulent practices. For example, if you visited the apartment under a false identity, then bought the property afterwards.
Within the framework of an exclusive mandate, the direct transaction between seller and buyer is not even authorised. Again, the ousted agent can ask for compensation if the sale takes place without his intervention. To the seller, in all cases, and to the buyer, if the latter is in bad faith. Be careful, then!
Where to find advertisements for the purchase of a house or an apartment without an agency?
Online sites for real estate purchases between individuals
You have probably stuck a “Stop Pub” on your mailbox, and anyway, the time is over for paper ads. You will therefore conduct your research on the web, where real estate ad sites abound.
Among the best known:
- From particular to particular (PAP of its nickname);
- Leboncoin: compared to the previous one, it allows you to add an additional search criterion on the type of sale (new or old and life annuity);
- SeLoger: it allows an even more targeted search thanks to criteria such as a garden, a caretaker, a fireplace, a southern orientation, a sea view… Another tool that the site offers and which can be useful for your real estate purchase without agency, free online valuation of the property;
- Bien’ici: this site offers innovative search criteria, such as the maximum travel time between your future home and your place of work, or a 3D map of The United States to discover cities and districts in detail.
Note: Some sites initially intended for real estate transactions between individuals now allow real estate professionals to position their ads.
Word of mouth and the off market
Your friends, your co-workers, your boss: so many people who are likely to know someone who knows someone who is selling their home. Talk about your acquisition project around you, you have everything to gain!
This type of transaction is commonly referred to as “off market” or outside the market. In the world of real estate, they are often synonymous with good deals, but as we said at the beginning, you can also take the risk of buying the property for more than its market value.
An alternative to real estate sales without an agency: public auctions
It’s time to unveil a good plan: that of real estate auctions. What types of goods are offered there? A little bit of everything :
- A dwelling put up for auction via a notary, on behalf of a seller in a hurry. In this case, you will have to show your credentials to participate in the sale, ie deposit a check for an amount between 10 and 20% of the fixed floor price;
- Housing owned by the state, abandoned or from a vacant estate;
- A property that has been seized and then resold following the default of a borrower, a divorce without an agreement on sharing, etc.
The advantage for those who wish to make a real estate purchase without an agency is that the starting price is lower than the market value of the property. If the bid exceeds your budget, all you have to do is stop raising your hand. But you have every chance of winning the bet and leaving with the keys to an apartment at a bargain price.
In reality, the purpose of the adjudications (auction) is to converge towards the market value of the property (market price). Many stakeholders being aware of the value of the property on the market, it is very likely that you will buy neither too much nor too little. As with the stock market, the goal of real estate auctions is precisely to arrive at the right price at a given time. Don’t expect too much to get the deal of the century.
Also, if you want to buy real estate without an agency to save the related costs, be aware that real estate auctions are not free either. Indeed, the costs of selling a property at auction can sometimes be higher than the intervention of a real estate agent. Known in advance and depending on the enthusiasm of the participants in the auction, these costs can nevertheless be absorbed by an auction lower than the market value of the property.
Buying a house without a real estate agency: why not with a notary?
Did you know ? Notaries not only take care of drafting the compromise or the promise of sale and the authentic deed of sale, but also of the real estate transaction. They thus offer sales on the websites of the departmental chamber to which they belong and on the official website of the profession. These can be classic sales or auctions. The advantage is that these professionals know the market inside out. No risk, therefore, of being ripped off on the price!
You also have the option of mandating the notary to carry out a property search for you. Yes, you will have to pay a fee, which has nothing to do with notary fees , but know that it is negotiable! You can therefore lower it below what an agency could have required. And since you are certain to pay the right price for the accommodation of your dreams, the purchase operation with a notary can prove to be more advantageous than directly.
Our advice for buying an apartment without an agency
Find out about market prices
We push the doors open, but it is advisable to find out as much as possible about the prices in the city and the district you are targeting, to avoid paying too much for your accommodation. There are a whole host of tools that will help you with this. You are not told that the sellers are all crooks, but the risk that the property is overvalued is real in the context of a real estate purchase without an agency. If it is too expensive, do not hesitate to negotiate before making an offer to purchase !
Request all key information from the seller
The law requires the seller to provide you with certain information, in order to protect you. These include the various real estate diagnoses (asbestos, lead, energy performance, natural risks, etc.) and documents relating to the joint ownership. A must to ask? The last 3 minutes of the general meeting, to find out if work has been voted on and not yet paid for.