How the PAP family resists Boncoin and SeLoger

How the PAP family resists Boncoin and SeLoger

When Corinne Jolie in 2013 expressed her desire to take the PAP trend, her parents Katherine and Patrick weren’t too warm. After forty years fighting against real estate agencies, the 68 couple haven’t seen themselves closing the line yet. But the young woman, an engineer by training, felt able to imagine the new PAP, in the age of the Internet. “We were hesitant, it was our adventure,” his mother admits. Her father admits, “It was a painful giving up, but Corinne was excited and the internet is nothing to us.”

We don’t regret it, as the family stands in front of a capital photographer. The PAP ship is still going strong. Despite the two restrictions during the Covid period, which forced “difficult” real estate agencies to close, and more recently the sudden rise in interest rates, the family group appears unsinkable. And above all very profitable.

In 2020, the company announced a pre-tax result of €4.2 million against sales of €20 million. Rebelote in 2021 with a comfortable profit of 5.6 million euros. With 150,000 real estate ads published each year, 70% of which end up in front of a notary public, the business model continues to prove its worth. “We have never suffered any losses, assures Corinne Jolly. Our financial results are stable because we do not depend like real estate agencies on commissions paid and therefore on market fluctuations.”

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Uncovering the story of PAP is like telling the successive revolutions of the stone market. In 1975 Catherine Nerecis and Patrick Joly—who studied literature at Nanterre, and studied building engineering—created De Particulier à Particulier almost on a whim. The two lovebirds were looking for their first home.

“With agency commission, security deposit, and the first month in advance, we had to pay three months’ rent, which we couldn’t afford,” Patrick recalls. Why then do they tell themselves not to launch a Central-style real estate classifieds newspaper for ordinary people in cars?

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The young couple used all their savings (20,000 francs) on the project, and on October 17, 1975, a new title hit newsstands. Sold for 3.50 francs, the first issue contains only 12 pages and a hundred advertisements illustrated with rare black and white photographs. 10,000 copies were cut one morning. “In our columns, the editorial of the first issue declares, there are no real estate agencies, no real estate dealers, no charter pharmacies. In short, there is no trap.”

Hardcore but not free, the weekly quickly reached a peak of 20,000 sales. In the summer of 1976, an advertisement in the subway changed everything: “Are you looking for housing? From one person to another, every Thursday at your newsagent.” The label hits the mark. Sales are taking off, advertisements are pouring, cash books are filling up. Catherine smiles: “We even started paying each other.”

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The title quickly sells 100,000 copies per week. Success multiplied tenfold when 3,615 PAPs were launched in 1987. “For us, the Minitel was a revolution,” Patrick Jolly stated. Then the station, the predecessor of the Internet, equipped 5 million households. With each connection, PAP receives its share of the phone bill. It’s the big prize.

Thanks to the miraculous recipes of Minitel, the title of admiral was enriched with other newspapers devoted to individual construction, charming dwellings, offices and stores, vacation rentals … In total, dozens of addresses and practical or legal guides appear. A small press empire! However, the rise of the internet will rock the beautiful building. “Minitel costs nothing and brings in a lot of money. The Internet is the opposite,” Patrick Jolly laments.

Web’s turn came, so it was Corinne who negotiated it. At the helm, it updated the search engine, put practical information and legal advice on the web, launched the new app… The results are in: 400,000 visits were claimed per day, and the app was downloaded 3 million times. One could have imagined that the arrival of mastodon Leboncoin, which only bills its advertising to professionals, would sound the death knell for PAP.

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With 12 million unique visitors in the real estate category, wouldn’t the French subsidiary of Norwegian company Adevinta do four times better than PAP in the latest Médiamétrie ranking? “Only a small part of the people who came to us went to Leboncoin,” Corinne Jolly sighs. As for SeLoger, another heavyweight on the network, it remains more than 90% dedicated to advertising for professionals.

From her parents, the head of the PAP retained the fibers of the hardcore and never hesitated to cross swords with real estate agencies. To the extent that a package of services has been offered since 2019 (legal aid, virtual visit, training, etc.) called simply “better than an agency”. Much provocation to the national real estate union, Al-Fenim, who filed a complaint for illegally practicing the profession. without result. At the end of June, the group launched a new, free online property automatic assessment tool. “Our estimate will give the value of the property with complete transparency, and explanations of the discount or premium in relation to the market and the price of sales made in the surrounding area,” Corinne Jolly details.

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Another innovation, PAP hosts a dedicated multi-week platform that gives free access to HLM rental offers from social realtors who are partners in the process. “You fill out a file and we tell you right away if you qualify, knowing that 70% of the French are eligible for social housing,” confirms Corinne Jolly. Avec ce nouveau service, PAP est présent désormais sur l’intégralité des segments du marché immobilier (achats, ventes, neuf, location, loisirs, HLM) et se pose donc plus que jamais en rival des Century 21, Laforêt, Orpi, Guy Hoquet And the others.

Going forward, PAP must also face competition from 100% online agencies (Liberkeys, Welmo, Hosman, etc.), which are halfway between traditional agencies and one-to-one sales. These new agencies offer their services (advertising, virtual visit, appointment management) for fixed packages between 1,000 and 5,000 euros. The cheapest is therefore not too far from the complete package at the price of 790 euros from PAP.

What about the future? “Staying wedded to the idea that real estate agencies are futile, Jules errs on historical interpretation, deals with Sebastien de Lafond, co-founder and former president of Melor Agents. Direct selling owners take longer to find a buyer and their properties generally sell for less. PAP is a mirror Lark. Corinne Jolly replies: ““This is not true. By selling without a middleman, you can offer a better price and therefore sell faster. Assuming an average agency fee of around 5%, PAP ensures that its clients earn €12,500 on the sale of an apartment of 250,000 euro.

A pure product from the ’70s, PAP has been fighting it all. Real estate specialist, economist Michel Mollart is convinced of this. “PAP is an extraordinary player, but it has dealt with many of the earthquakes that have hit real estate since the subprime crisis, while staying true to its early values. The dinosaur probably had stronger skin than we imagined.”

“Real estate prices are expected to fall by 3 to 7%”

Henri Bouzy Cazaux, president of the Institute of Real Estate Services Management.

Will the real estate market continue to break sales records in 2022?

Mostly not. Sales are slowing due to concerns raised by the war in Ukraine and inflation that is destabilizing households. Compared to 1.2 million transactions in 2021, which is a record, we can expect a volume decrease of 15-20%.

Should we worry about high credit rates?

This is the other big topic. The cost of credit is only starting to rise, and after inflation, 20-year rates should end up increasing by more than 100 basis points, approaching 3%. More and more candidates are being excluded from credit, due to the requirements of banks, but also because of the technical problem of usury rates.

Will we see lower prices?

The conditions for a price increase as in 2021 are no longer met. Sale times are getting longer, and some properties can no longer find buyers…so we’re risking 3 to 7% corrections, having seen increases of more than 10% in certain cities last year.

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