Guide for Sellers: How to Price Your Villa
If you want to sell your villa, you’ll need to know two things: the real true value of your property, and why agents tell you it’s worth more than it really is.
How to Figure Out What Your Villa is Really Worth
The #1 thing to know is: the market value. The market value of your villa is based on the past sales in the nearby area. This is what your villa will sell for. You can’t trust what an agent tells you the market value is (see below for why) — so you’ll need to do your own research.
- The way to figure out the market value of your villa is described here (it’s the same process for both buyers and sellers).
- The way to predict if it’s going to go up or down in value over the next several years is by analyzing the factors that affect the real estate market. Here is our guide to where the market is headed.
Buyers will find out the market value: When a buyer gets a mortgage, the bank does a valuation of the property and tells the buyer what the market value is (the bank won’t approve a mortgage that’s above market value). Also, in the luxury real estate market, buyers normally have financial advisors who will advise them to get a valuation of the property.
If you price your villa above the market value: It won’t sell. It’s that simple. It will sit on the market for years until you decide to take it off. You can see for yourself by setting email notifications on the aggregator websites.
Some sellers don’t mind their villa sitting on the market and not selling because they like the fantasy that their villa is worth much more than it really is, or they are stuck in the old thinking that Russians are going to overspend on their villa. Agents don’t love this, but they are in competition to secure the listing, so they don’t have a choice, as most sellers will blindly choose the agent who convinces them they can sell their villa for the most money (not realizing that this is not true, and that their villa won’t sell until they finally agree to a market value price).
Agents are very competitive and they get rewarded when they sign new sellers. As you’ll see when you talk to them, they will promise you the moon to get the listing.
Agents compete based on the price they tell you they can sell your villa for. But when you ask for justification of the price, they either give fake ‘past sales’ (ask for the addresses and verify here) or just tell you that you should blindly trust them because they’re ‘the expert’.
A quick way to verify the past sales they tell you about is to look on the Drimki mobile app (where you can see a map with an overlay of all the villas that have sold in the last 5 to 6 years), then check out the villas in Google Earth to get a sense of how the size and location of them compares to your villa (the prices listed are correct, but the m² and room number listed is not accurate – here’s why).
The reason they lie about your villa’s value is to secure the listing. It’s not that they are a bad person — it’s that the system in France is set up in a bad way. When they sign up a new seller, they get the commission no matter who finds the eventual buyer. They’re then able to advertise it (and their agency along with it) online.
They know that the villa will not sell until you lower the price. At that point they can say ‘the market is worse now’ or make an excuse, but in the end they will get the commission, since they’re the one who secured the listing.
If you’re serious about selling, you need to know the real market value and price the villa properly. Don’t listed to the agents who are trying to outbid each other, as this will just result in a hassle and no sale.
Online Real Estate Agencies
A dozen online estate agencies have opened in France over the past five years – and although they have a tiny share of the market, they are growing rapidly. They charge far lower fees than traditional real estate agencies. They’re worth trying before going to a traditional agency, as if you can sell via one of these, you’ll save on fees and effort.
Here are the main ones to check out:
You can also, for a very small fee, list your property on PAP.