You’ve agreed a price with the agent and appeased the owner, but now you need to secure financing. Not an easy task living in a foreign country with different ways of doing things. In France, it can mean knocking on the doors of countless banks and partaking in complex negotiations. If it all sounds very complicated and long-winded, that’s because it usually is.
A courtier or broker can offer the solution: their expertise and relationships with the country’s banks will help you save time and money. Obviously their services don’t come for free – most courtiers will charge around €1,000 or 1% of the amount borrowed – but they can deliver results and rates that an ordinary person simply wouldn’t be able to achieve. According to consumer association 60 Millions de Consommateurs, savings are €12,000 on average.
A good broker will offer an all-round package that, following client consultations, will propose a strategy that makes sense both financially and legally.
“We act as the client’s solicitor with the bank,” explains Amandine Rophé, Managing Director of Abba Courtage, an independent loan brokerage office located in Le Cannet, “and guarantee to negotiate more attractive mortgage terms that would have been possible if they’d visited the bank themselves as well as terms that best suit the client’s individual situation.”
An Ifop study in October 2017 revealed that a third of mortgages in France are now negotiated by courtiers (in 2000, 15% of mortgages were negotiated by a broker) while figures published later that year by economic firms IHS Global Insight and Xerfi suggested that the market share is expected to grow to 50% in the next five years.
An Interbanque Institute study, which interviewed 2,300 borrowers who had used a courtier, released at the same time noted the principal reasons for using a broker: preferential rate, expertise and time savings. 35% of respondents said the nominal rate of the mortgage put forward by their courtier was the decisive factor in using their services. 33% pointed to a broker’s professional expertise as the second main reason, citing the complexities of credit and its procurement if handled by a layperson. In the afore-mentioned Ifop study, 88% of respondents said they thought a courtier could save them time and 71% stated that they believed a broker would help them save money.
Rophé says that her team, which is bilingual (English and French) and specialises in an international clientele, manages and explains every step of the credit process until the loan is signed and secured. Part of the job is being up-to-date with relevant tax legislation in France and Europe, and a reputable courtier should also have knowledge of state funding opportunities, credit insurance and the various forms of credit available to a diverse market. Their role is unique.
“The courtier doesn’t represent the banks,” explains President of APIC (the Association Professionnelle des Intermédiaires en Crédits that was set up in 2010 that represents around 60% of all qualified courtiers) Philippe Taboret, “the courtier is mandated by the client and works in their interest with a duty to advise.”
*Originally published in the #177 edition of Riviera Insider