Monday, September 06, 2010
Three tips to help you pay less for your property in France
I usually hate this type of post as I click on them in high anticipation and yet am nearly always disappointed with what I read.
Hopefully this won't be the case with you.
The obvious way to save money (6-7%) would be to try and find the house privately using one of the many online portals, adverts in local papers or the AV boards outside the house itself.
I'm not going to suggest this though as I feel you need to be fluent in French, living here full time and fully conversant with the laws and buying procedure before attempting it. Over 50% of French purchasers buy privately but it's certainly not for the inexperienced. So:
Tip one: Make sure you collect as much "comparable evidence" as possible to help you negotiate on price. Don't just look through one estate agent because they are "nice" or speak English. You wouldn't do it at home and it means you can't possibly get a good handle on market values. If you have done your homework and seen lots of houses that fit a similar brief (house size, location, condition and plot size) then you will be able to use this information to your advantage when discussing price with the owner.
Tip two: Find out how long the house has been on the market for, if the price has changed during this time and how house prices have changed in the area over the last year or two. You can find answers to the first two by asking the owner/agent and you can find out answers to the third by looking online. The "Notaires de France" publish this information for houses, apartments and land and you can see the latest figures here. Once armed with this info you should be able to shave a fair bit off the asking price in the window.
Tip three: Use a currency broker to transfer money across, not your bank. I know it's easier to just ask your local bank to do it but you can save up to around 3% by using an FX broker.
It's easy to set up an account, you can forward purchase to avoid any nasty surprises and they will certainly save you money. I have been using these guys since I moved to France as they have a "best rate" guarantee and are friendly & efficient.
That's it then...hope you found these three ideas useful.
Of course, my number one tip would always be to instruct an experienced and regulated "buying agent" like myself.
But then I'm biased.....