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How to choose the best property hunter: presentation of services and remuneration methods

In the complex and competitive French property market, hiring a property hunter can be a wise choice for buyers looking to find a property efficiently. This activity, although recent, is rapidly becoming more widespread in France. But before you embark on this adventure, it's essential to understand what services these professionals offer and how they are remunerated.

The essential role of the property hunter

Unlike estate agents, who work with sellers, property hunters work with and advise buyers on their home-buying plans. They are professionals commissioned by their clients to find a property that meets their specific criteria, ensuring that their needs and objectives are fully met. There are 2 main types of property hunter on the market:

Specialist property hunters

This service begins with the definition of specifications and continues through to the signing of the deed of sale at the notary's office. They select properties that meet the criteria, carry out pre-visits, advise their clients during the visit, draw up detailed reports of the visits, negotiate for the target house, analyse the documents and accompany their clients to the notary's office to sign the sales agreement and the notarial act. These specialized property hunters do not sell properties (with the exception of family properties). Their job is to build up an extensive network of partners in order to offer their customers the most complete range of properties: off-market, previews, etc.

Agent hunters

Unlike the first type, these hunters make sales as well as searches. In fact, they often make more sales because these mandates are more common in France, making them easier to sign. However, when it comes to searches, hunter-agents offer their clients fewer off-market properties, because they are seen as direct competitors by the agencies.

Remuneration arrangements

Legal and ethical framework for remuneration

Although there is no precise framework for the amount of remuneration paid to property hunters, they are subject to the Hoguet law in the same way as estate agents. Regardless of the remuneration model chosen, the property hunter is therefore rewarded only if he or she is successful, i.e. when the property transaction is finalised at the notary's office. This approach gives customers peace of mind, because they only pay if the property hunter achieves his or her objectives.

Methods of remuneration

Property hunters can be remunerated in various ways, each option having its advantages and disadvantages. Here are the 4 main options:

Commission on the transaction

The property hunter receives a percentage of the value of the property transaction. This percentage is agreed in the search mandate and generally decreases as the price of the houses sought increases. Percentages generally range from 1.5% to 5%, depending on the region and the hunter's position. This is the most common method of remuneration in France today.

Fixed fees

These fees are agreed in advance between the property hunter and the client, and are often based on a percentage of the purchase price or value of the property being sought. This method offers the advantage of total transparency on costs and encourages the hunter to negotiate the price of the house.

The negotiation booster

The fees charged are a mix of a fixed fee (fixed or a percentage of the property found) and a variable fee calculated on the basis of the negotiation achieved. This variable is generally between 10% and 20% of the amount negotiated. The buyer can be sure of having a hunter who will try to negotiate as aggressively as possible. This method of remuneration is generally used when the market is less buoyant and therefore conducive to negotiation.

Commission shared with the agency

Also known as "intercabinet" in the jargon, the property hunter recovers part of the fees from the agency selling the property. The agent brings the house and the hunter brings the buyer; the 2 professionals generally share 50/50, but this can vary. This remuneration only exists if the house is sold by an agency. The obvious advantage is that it reduces the total amount of fees. On the other hand, with this method of remuneration, the hunter does not offer off-market properties or previews, as he only has access to houses for which the agency has not found buyers on its own.

Tips for choosing the right property hunter

When choosing your property hunter, I advise you to base your decision on the services they offer rather than on the total amount of their fees. The method of remuneration may tip the balance depending on your objective, but above all you should study the property hunter's expertise and professionalism to check that they meet your specific needs. Don't forget to consult their opinions and spend as much time as you need with the property hunter, as these projects are particularly intuitu personae.

Finally, beware of hunters who offer free services. Nobody works for free, so make sure you understand how they are paid. Generally speaking, you rarely get the best service for the lowest commission.

In this article, you'll find the selection criteria for choosing the right property hunter. You can also consult this page to find out how I get paid.


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