Would you like to be an estate agent in France? If you love the country and its homes as much as we do at France Property Guides, it might sound like your dream opportunity. So how can you start your career in French property?
If you are planning a full-time move to France after the end of the transition period this year, you’ll need to consider how to prove your income. You might even need to create an income – both to support yourself and to demonstrate this fact to the French authorities as part of qualifying for residency.
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Many of the estate agents you will meet in France have followed a journey something like your own, changing countries and changing careers. Some started their career before the Brexit complication; others were in France and working in estate agency before free movement in Europe was even a thing.
Who makes a good estate agent?
Few arrived in France fully conversant in property law, as fluent French speakers or confident in valuations, viewings and negotiations.
They all learned to do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! There is a lot more to the job of being an estate agent in France than looking around other people’s homes.
Yes, it’s fun, sociable and a great way of being paid for providing a service, but it can be challenging both physically and emotionally too.
The general rule is that ‘people-people’ do better than hard-nosed, cynical salespeople. By way of example – and example only – a few careers that typically transfer well to becoming property consultants are teachers, social workers, airline staff and other service providers, police and other critical workers – and even estate agents!
It is sales, but it’s soft sell.
Some French is useful, of course, but those consultants working as part of an office-based team can do well with one language so long as it is matched with real determination.
The law requires you to have certification as well as relevant insurance. This is arranged and managed by the company to whom the individual contracts.
Training is now mandatory, you may be reassured to know. It is a great bonding exercise too, sometimes conducted in small groups, either in person or online. You may also do the training by yourself, online at a time to suit.
One company that positively encourages people without directly relevant experience to join them is Beaux Villages Immobilier.
Founded at the start of the financial crisis in early 2008, the company has grown to 12 offices, with a team of 150 people across an area of south-west France the size of England and Wales. The team offers its clients a truly diverse range of experience across a dozen languages and is, to date, still family owned and run.
In recent years the industry has recognised ‘BVI’ as Best in France and then Best in Europe. This year saw it awarded, within south-west France, exclusive International Associate to Savills.
Property sales range from inexpensive village houses selling for a few thousand euros, to businesses and prestigious chateaux. Many property consultants find a preferred specialism, such as equestrian, lower budgets, buyers moving families… and more.
Full training is offered in English or French and the on-going support is bilingual.
Your own business
Agents work on commission only and enjoy much autonomy and flexibility. They are subject to legal requirements, of course, and brand standards, but there are no targets.
Self-starting is indispensable and it is quite possible to work hard without reward. Conversely, many people support themselves very nicely, and the high-fliers are extremely well paid.
It can take a while from the start of your career as an estate agent to beginning to earn money. There will also be some set-up and running costs, so you will need to be financially self-supporting.
However, viewed as an investment, it is a relatively inexpensive way to set up and train in a new career. It certainly compares well to, say, buying a franchise.
BVI is quite used to supporting incomers to France and stands ready to do so post-Brexit, with whatever that brings.
To find out more please email Judith Whitlow at [email protected]
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