Courtier: Should you hire a broker when buying property in France?
If you're researching the French property market, you might have come across mentions of 'courtiers' - here's what they do and whether they are necessary.
Published: 26 September 2022 13:46 CEST
The French ‘courtier‘ is usually translated as a broker, and the Notaires Association describes their role like this: “the broker is a true intermediary in banking operations. His/her role is to negotiate the best rates for you, but not only that: they will also find the most advantageous financing conditions for the realisation of your project.”
Essentially they act as an intermediary between you and the banks, so they’re only required if you need a mortgage or a loan in order to buy your French property.
Their job is to research the best deals for you and then to help you put together your application and ensure that all your paperwork is correct – unlike the notaire, instructing a courtier is not a required part of the process, so the decision on whether to instruct one is up to you.
So is it worth it?
Among French buyers, around 30 percent of mortgages are obtained using the services of a courtier, and this rises to 60 percent among young, first-time buyers, who generally find it harder to access credit.
Some of things to consider are your level of French and confidence in negotiating French bureaucracy, your financial situation (since French mortgage lenders tend to be stricter than those in the UK or US) and whether you currently live in France or not (since there are extra hoops to jump through for overseas buyers).
In France, you make an offer on a property and then you begin the mortgage process (while in the UK it’s the other way round) so problems in getting your mortgage approved could lead to you losing your dream property.
“[Using a courtier] can be the difference between buying and not,” added Trevor.
“It’s not just any possible language barrier – but understanding the process and the different players in the market.”
The cost of hiring a courtier is borne by the buyer – but how much do they charge?
The courtier usually charges a percentage of the total mortgage amount – fees must be fixed in advance and are only payable once your mortgage application has been approved.
Fees vary between different areas and different businesses, but the average fee is €2,000, which amounts to around one percent of the purchase price.
Many brokers set a minimum amount – around €1,500 – for smaller loans, and take a percentage of larger loans, so how much you pay depends on your property budget.
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