Buying a new home can only be improvised at the risk of disappointments to the tune of the sums involved. Defects, missed deadlines and other post-purchase disappointments are sometimes denounced in the local press; it is so true that when a real estate developer erects a building, the error:
1: has no place
2: stand out.
The imposing armada of development professionals (nearly 700 companies belonging to the Federation of Property Developers of France) can be separated into 2 groups:
Small local promoters who together form 70% of real estate development companies in the national territory. These small structures with 1 to 9 employees represent less than 30% of total turnover.
The giants which concentrate more than 1/3 of the construction of real estate programs and the sales of goods such as: Nexity, Bouygues Immobilier, Altarea Cogedim, Groupe Pichet, BNP Paribas Real Estate, Eiffage Immobilier, Vinci Immobilier, or even Promogim Groupe.
These large national and international groups tend to concentrate their activity on large real estate projects (large housing estates, office buildings, etc.) when local developers are more devoted to the construction of intimate individual and collective housing.
The top 10 French promoters according to their turnover in 2020:
Nexity: € 5,264 million;
Altarea Cogedim: 4,254 million euros;
Vinci Immobilier: 3,262 million euros;
Bouygues Immobilier: 2,699 million euros;
BNP Paribas Real Estate: € 2,225 million;
Kaufman & Broad: € 2,177 million;
Pichet Group: 1,540 million euros;
Atila: € 1,339 million;
Eiffage Immobilier: 1,367 million euros;
ICADE: 1,275 million euros.
1. Observe the passive
Like humans, a company is defined by its actions. Nothing is more revealing than a careful examination of the real estate developer’s past accomplishments.
You will be able to get an idea of the quality of the promoter’s work:
Quality of achievements and finishes (with the necessary years of hindsight);
Respect of deadlines;
Conformity of delivery;
Comfort in use;
You can also take a look at any unfinished projects and find the reasons. Do not hesitate to inquire to see if your promoter claims labels or has obtained distinctions and other prizes awarded by the profession (Prize in the Silver Pyramids competition, Prize for Quality of Use, Property Aesthetics, GIP prize for innovation, etc.).
Some developers are specialized in the rehabilitation of prestigious real estate, in ecological construction or claim a creative architectural touch. If you are looking for originality, prospecting for specialist promoters can be fruitful.
2. Go to real estate fairs
In Toulouse, as everywhere in France, real estate fairs are places dedicated to meeting and presenting developers. Do not hesitate to go to the exhibitions that take place in your region to scan all the choices at a glance, compare, discuss with each, and play the competition.
These meetings are the exhibition stage of the promoters’ communication. You can collect the details of the profiles of the different companies as well as enjoy a detailed presentation of current or upcoming projects in the region you have targeted and ask your questions live.
This also allows you to assess first-hand the potential candidate to support your real estate project.
Once your first lap, you can already make a preselection, then meet those who have caught your attention by scheduling individual meetings.
The Toulouse-Occitanie real estate fair takes place every year in the heart of the Pink City. This year, the meeting of real estate professionals, open to the general public will take place from 1er to October 3, at the MEET, new Parc des Expositions.
3. Survey the reputation of your real estate developer
Word of mouth
Talk to those around you about your project (preferably to your senior contacts). For both buying and selling, word of mouth remains an effective and unfiltered way to choose the right real estate developer. If you know any owners, residents or investors who have bought off-plan or sold their property through the same company, do not hesitate to contact them to gauge their level of satisfaction.
Not everyone enjoys the contact book of a Martin Bouygues or a François Pinault. If this is your case, Forum build, Tacotax, UFC Que Choisir, … the forums will make up for the lack of investment specialists in your social circle. Do not hesitate to look at the reviews online.
With your shortlist in hand, you can even look at reviews of company employees on Indeed. A solid indicator of reliability, respect for commitments, employees and ethics of a company.
The references of the promoters are presented on their website. Some large groups have a site for clients and an institutional (or corporate) site which will give you more information on the history, commitments, philosophy and major projects of the company.
Elements which can be revealing in the testing of the coherence between the speech and the actions of the companies.
4. Consider the financial strength of the promoter
“Strength” is not a secondary virtue in the world of building construction. Many programs with promising potential never go beyond the project stage for lack of resources. To choose a real estate developer, it may be advisable to learn about his financial strength. Sales are almost always subject to conditions precedent in the event that the operation cannot be financed. In this case, you are of course fully reimbursed for your first payments, but the loss of time spent waiting for a property that will never be built is not compensated.
The number of projects properly completed by the promoter is a good indicator of financial health. A substantial variety of recent construction is obviously a pretty good sign.
5. Choose between a local and national promoter
This is one of the first questions that arises when one tackles the onerous task of finding the ideal promoter. There is no single answer to this question. Choosing a real estate developer is a matter of prioritizing your expectations.
A promoter who practices near you already knows the local regulations, the course of action and the direction of the policies of the municipalities and the region.
A local player knows his market like the back of his hand. Do you want to get into rental investment? He will offer you a project in line with local needs. Do you want to build the house of a lifetime? Its collaborating architects know the local building codes, the characteristics of the land, the specificities of the climate and other environmental constraints … inside out.
The mastodons of real estate development have a significant advantage: their reassuring financial base. The construction of a program undertaken by a national promoter is very unlikely to fail. National promoters will generally offer you to acquire goods within large-scale, more standardized projects. In the context of an apartment purchase in a large city-center collective, it is also possible that national property developers are the only ones present on site.
The choice, if it may seem difficult, often automatically results from the location chosen for your acquisition. Particularly if you have already targeted a specific location for a collective purchase.
However, for a rental investment without preconceived ideas or if you like to investigate the possibilities for your future place of life, starting by selecting an effective developer is an excellent approach.
To reach them, nothing could be simpler, all real estate developers offer online contact forms and get back to you very quickly.
By the way … What is a real estate developer?
In the field of real estate construction, the developer buys the land, defines the program and carries out the plans in partnership with the architects. It is his responsibility to find construction professionals, to follow the realization, before ensuring the communication around the project and launching the sale and rental of the lots.
The promoter assumes the financial, administrative and commercial risks of a real estate project.
Design, finance, build and deliver a new real estate program: from the demarcation of the land to after-sales service, including notarial offices, banks, design offices, craftsmen, designers or even landscapers … asks the promoter for qualities of prospecting, evaluation and organization. The construction of a new real estate program involves at least twenty professionals.
It must take into account the expectations of the community.
Real estate developers realize residential buildings taking into account the needs of future occupants, sometimes according to a specific profile as is the case for the construction of a senior or student service residences. They are also at the initiative of the construction of office, commercial or industrial buildings (warehouses, factories, etc.) or even public facilities.
The real estate developer is a dynamic economic player and a major employer.
The volume of activity of real estate developers weighs 2% of French GDP, or 41.9 billion euros excluding tax. In 2018, the real estate development profession had 30,400 employees (up 9% compared to 2017. Since 2015, the real estate development workforce has increased by 21.5%.
Contrary to popular belief, there are more women than men in the profession (52.5% women for 47.5% men).