Friday, June 03, 2011
Top tips for buying in France
1. Identify your preferred location:
France is a huge country offering seaside resorts, skiing, cheap equestrian property with acres of land, plush penthouses in Paris and much more. Find your ideal area before beginning your house search.
2. Write down your "brief":
If you're vague with agents then don't be surprised if what they show you doesn't take your breath away. The more thought you put into your brief the better the results.
3. Make sure you see a good cross section of the market:
You'll find that some agents are friendlier and more knowledgeable than others but you're buying a house not on a blind date. Agents can only show you what they have on their books. Also, don't forget that every second house purchase in France is actually a private sale but do remember that this route isn't for the faint-hearted and carries plenty of risk if you don't know what you're doing. If possible use a buying agent (see 10).
4. Get your finances in place:
It's pointless finding a little gem if you're not in a position to buy it. This is a simple thing to do and will save masses of heartache.
5. Check out www.immoprix.com:
This site shows average house prices (and price fluctuations) from around the country.
6. Don't deal with an unlicenced agent:
There are still plenty of sharks around. Ask to see their carte professionelle or you could get your fingers burnt. There are thousands of professional agencies offering an excellent service - make sure you use them. If in doubt go to http://www.fnaim.fr/ where there are plenty of friendly & efficient immobiliers to choose from.
7. Use a good notaire:
Quality differs among notaires and you 100% have the right to choose (don't be told otherwise), ask around and find one you are comfortable with.
8. Try and collect as much comparable evidence as you can:
Houses are notoriously difficult to value in France and it's often the owner who sets the price. Visit as many "similar" properties as you can and use this comparable evidence to help negotiate a good price.
9. Don't be greedy:
It's tempting to get more land than you need (you'll live to regret it) or to buy a house with masses of barns (roofs cost a lot to repair). If in doubt take your time to really think it all through.
10. Use a buying agent:
Let's face it you may well not be fully conversant with the language, laws, process and local area. Buying a house is a huge commitment and a good buying agent will save you time & money as well as give you peace of mind. Not sure where to look? Try here.