Everybody in Nice uses an estate agent to sell their property. Even when you see a classified selling a property, it is nearly always also with an estate agent at roughly the same price. As an example, today on France’s biggest classifieds site PAP there are 137 results for Nice. In the estate agency MLS (Multiple Listings Service) we have 1,777 and in our other database 2,005. All three figures from 15th May 2013.
Occasionally we get a client asking whether it would be cheaper buy privately rather than through an estate agency, to save the agency fee. We can honestly say usually no. Of course you might think as an estate agency we would say this, so here is a concrete example from today (15th May 2013):
The references are in the screenshots so you can verify these adverts for yourself. At a lunch with a couple of property developers we asked how often they bought through classified ads. Their profession depends on the margin of their profits so surely they are scanning the classifieds every day? The answer was a unanimous “never”. When asked why, Valerie replied, “Because their prices are unrealistic. When putting up a private advert they put on whatever price comes into their head. They put a price they would like to have but it has nothing to do with the price of the market. Many of them have their head in the clouds, thinking it is still the prices of the boom days. An estate agent has to set a realistic price or he knows he cannot sell it”. There is no indication that the trend is going to change any time in the near future.