We've previously covered preparation and presentation, two fundamental points to ensure you get the best price and attract the best buyers. There are two additional things to consider.
The most delicate question first: Have you got the price right? The French property market is experiencing tough times and this includes hot spots such as the Côte d’Azur. There are more properties for sale than buyers coming along, and I think this statement covers the majority of the region.
France is quite a curious country when it comes to real estate valuations as all too often a property is on the market at the owner’s appraisal. While it is perfectly reasonable to expect an owner to want to gain the best price possible, there is often reluctance on his or her part to accept that the downturn in the market has an impact because “I bought in a great location”.
I recall many occasions when an evaluation was offered to a vendor who was not in a rush to sell. Subsequently the owner priced the property in excess of a 40% premium, with a view to attract an offer and negotiate, while single-handedly ensuring to deter any viewings or interest.
There is a flaw in this “I’m in no hurry” method. During the last few years, while the one person who has not heard of the financial crisis has appeared and bought the house in this part of the world, the market has continued to fall and now this house is worth less, and so when the owner does decide to reduce the price, the proverbial boat has been missed.
I am not suggesting you give your house away. However. I am perhaps advising to at least listen to what your agent may have to say with regards to your home’s true market value and discuss together the way forward. In my experience a good agent will always try their best to get you the highest price possible. The number of new sales we are transacting at close to asking price, when a house has been priced for today’s market, proves this.
I mentioned another essential issue to consider when selling your property, and this one may get me into trouble … As I said earlier, buyers are a somewhat rarer breed today and it’s important that your agent is doing more than sitting in an office hoping someone comes in the door or finds the website amongst the countless other realtors in the region. Be prepared to question your agent on what is being done to attract buyers:
• Are they proactively marketing to French as well as international buyers?
• Are they working tirelessly to reference their web listings?
• Do they work with international property portals?
• Do they actively sell your property to their client base or await an enquiry?
A final word, though. While it’s not all doom and gloom – enquiries are up, sales are up and things are starting to move – I bring this message to anyone who has been on the market for over a year without an offer or a visit (there are lots, believe me): it may be time to look at your price!