If this is the year to sell your property, here are some top tips from estate agents and property experts across France…
1. Don’t assume that just because the central heating has been replaced or the double glazing installed it will be reflected in the asking price. Potential purchasers expect these things to be up-to-date. Furthermore, don’t cover up any faults in your home, be open about everything so nothing can come back and bite you after the sale. There are certain diagnostic surveys that need to be carried out by law at your expense prior to the completion.
2. Be mindful of the market regarding the asking price. Many vendors have an idea of what their home may be worth but it is the market which dictates it – often a property remains unsold just because the price has been set too high. An agent has a much better knowledge of the market and awareness of the current prices.
3. Provide the agent with as much information as possible once you have signed the mandat de vente (before the marketing starts). The title deeds, floor areas, floor plans, taxes, etc. It will speed up the process once an offer comes in. Also make sure you have a list of how much the house costs to run each year – heating, water, taxes etc. It is also useful for the agent to have a copy of the cadastral plan to assist them with discussing boundaries.
4. Be careful if you are selling your property without the aid of an agency. Remember it is the purchaser who pays the fees so as the vendor you have nothing to lose by giving it to an agency to sell. If you are putting it with an agent, make sure it is an agent that has an international clientele as well as French.
5. Be careful since the rate of exchange could change dramatically between the day you accept an offer and completion day. Contact a few currency transfer brokers to get the best deal for transferring your money back to the UK – you could save thousands of pounds on the deal. It may also be possible to use a forward contract to fix the exchange rate for up to two years ahead.
6. When you do have visits, try and go out or at least allow the agent to do the visit solely on their own. Nothing puts off buyers more than having the owner following them around as they are not then free to voice their thoughts neither to the agent or their partner. Give them space to really get a feel of the house. You will therefore need to make sure that the agent has keys to your house at all times, many potential sales are lost as the owners are away and there are no keys available.
7. If you have done your own renovations and have used either British electrics or plumbing, be sure to let the agent/purchaser know as these systems do not correspond to the French systems and in the event of a problem someone will want to have a few words with you.
8. If your purchaser is buying on the strength of a mortgage don’t go and buy another property after the 10-day cooling off period has passed. French banks are notorious for changing their minds even after giving a verbal agreement. The sale could still fall through up until the moment the bank gives its final written agreement.
9. Whatever you do, don’t declare that your fosse septique is up-to-date and in working order unless you are absolutely sure. Just before the final signing date a test is automatically carried out on your fosse septique by a commune employee and if it is not as stated in the compromis de vente the notaire can hold back funds to replace it. It is best just to say that it is working (if it is) but that you are not sure if it meets current requirements (unless you are really sure).
10. Be absolutely sure you want to sell. As the vendor you cannot change your mind after you have signed the compromis de vente. It’s the purchaser who has 10 days to change their mind.
With thanks to our Premier Partner Estate Agents, Mike in Ruffec, Matt in Chamonix, Jenny in Brittany and Elayne in Provence.
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