Are you paying the right price for your French property?

Many of my clients (and many sellers I meet) want to know how the value of French property is calculated. This is not, however, an easy question to answer because there is no one agreed method or set criteria for valuing property here and there are also different criteria used in different regions. The old-fashioned method, still used by far too many agents, is to use the price per square metre calculation but while this may work relatively well in cities, it means nothing here in the countryside where properties are so varied and hence each region and each agent tends to use a mixture of calculations, comparisons and professional or local knowledge to come up with the figure of an asking price.

Some of the most important criteria used here in the foothills region are:

Location – is it a popular or thriving area or an area that is in demand?
Situation – quiet or on a road? Private or overlooked?
View – a property with a mountain view is worth more than one without
Access – to the motorway, to the airport and to the ski resorts
Proximity – to amenities such as shops, cafés/restaurants and schools
Orientation – south or north facing? Sitting in middle or on edge of land?
Number of rooms – particularly bedrooms and bathrooms
Quality of construction – is it a well-built, solid, stone house?
Quality of renovation – has it been renovated professionally or had the dodgy DIY treatment?
Condition – of the roof, woodwork, floors, kitchen, bathrooms etc. Outbuildings – add value if there is possibility of converting them to accommodation but reduce value if they need lots of work and money spending on them
Quantity and quality of land – there is a set price per metre for agricultural land (around 4000 Euros per hectare) which will be added to the property. However, there is then a premium for certain criteria pertaining to the land, for example, if it is flat, if there is woodland, if it is fenced, if there is water and if the land is attached to the property (here land is not necessarily right next to the house)
Demand – if it is the type of property in demand, the price will be more. For example, in this region, a Maison de Maître is generally worth more than a farmhouse of a similar size and condition but an isolated mountain barn in its own land is worth more than a small village house even if the barn needs renovation. And a house in a village that has a bakery or shop, or school will be worth more than a very similar house in a village with no facilities.

In addition, a well presented, maintained and clean house will generally be given a higher valuation than an almost identical house that is dirty and unloved because the agent knows that buyers often cannot see through the mess and so will need to price it lower in order to attract interest.

Hence, there are many criteria that an agent will take into account when assessing and valuing a property but often it will simply come down to experience and knowledge of the market and gut feeling which means that two agents might come up with very different estimations. However, in the current, very dynamic market, agents are pricing to sell, and it is rare to see a house that is wildly over or under priced – unless it is being sold privately which is a whole other matter. Luckily, I see many hundreds of houses each year so I can generally tell as soon as I walk into a house if the price is right.

If you have questions or need help with your French property search, please get in touch:



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