The Real Estate Professionals in France

In France, the overriding mentality in real estate calls for centralized, efficient and well organized bodies that coordinate the search, buying and selling process and the closing of a deal between vendor and purchaser. Unlike other countries, only a few professionals are involved in the transaction.

Property management and experts

Four main organizations exist in France purely for the provision of expert personnel who can provide assistance to people involved in real estate, whether they are buying, investing or renting accommodation. Of the four operating real estate bodies, the most popular is FNAIM or Fédération Nationale des Agents Immobiliers.


The abbreviation FNAIM can be translated into “the French national real estate federation”.

  • It touts a yellow cube as its logo, coordinates the operations of 8,000 agency branches and employs 37,000 professionals who specialize in offering services ranging from property sales, to consulting. It has very strict work ethics, integrity and professionalism which both management and employees abide by and all employees are licensed professionals.
  • It represents and defends its own professionals and their clients, the consumers by creating a sound relationship with the authorities.
  • It provides expert and updated information on the economy and on legal matters. It issues quarterly business updates especially on the property market and a yearly account of the income from the market. It compiles studies that are based on accurate economic data and its influence reaches as far as the corridors of parliament when real estate issues are being discussed.
  • It is readily accessible via its website portal:

The experts

  • The estate agent – all the agents in France are required by law to be licensed and to be members of a recognized organization. In France there are 4 main real estate organizations:
    • FNAIM or the Fédération Nationale des Agents Immobiliers
    • UNIT or the Union Nationale de l’Immobilier
    • SNPI or the Syndicat National des Professionnels Immobiliers
    • CNAB or the Confédération Nationale des Administrateurs de Biens
  • Notaire – the notaire is a government official similar to a tax collector who is involved in real estate transactions of buying and selling. He is responsible for collecting the various tax payments that are made by the buyer and seller in any transaction.
  • Legal advisor – a qualified lawyer who usually represents one of the parties to deal with the legal aspects of the transaction. Very often, both parties will seek to be represented by a different legal advisor or notaire, in which case, the two professionals will share in the payment for their services.
  • Property search agent.- this agent specializes in the search, mainly on behalf of a potential buyer. His search often leads him to archives and other government repository where records are kept. The information he provides the buyer is valuable and needed for facilitating transactions.
  • Property manager – The property manager usually involves himself in the early stages of negotiations with the buyer. He is able to provide detailed information about the real estate which is the subject of a contemplated sale. He negotiates on behalf of the vendor.