Property buyers should be aware that by law the French estate agent is an intermediary (“commerçant”) who will bring together two parties to accomplish a sale, but who has no fiduciary obligations to either party – nor do they have to negotiate the best price on either party’s behalf. When they walk into a French estate agency as prospective buyer, most people expect the estate agent to advise them regarding fairness of the asking price and whether there’s anything wrong with the property. However, they should think more of this agent as representing the vendor, lining up prospective buyers and getting the best possible price for the property.
Although some agents might honestly think that they can represent both parties’ interests at the same time, it is highly unrealistic – in the same way that a lawyer cannot represent both parties in a contract negotiation without a conflict of interest.
At the end of the day, although they are both licensed real estate professionals, listing agents and property finders are two very distinct professions. Because the tasks required to help a seller find a buyer are very different from those required to help a buyer find his dream home.