Dur­ing view­ings

French Property News - - Expert Advice -

So, now you’re ready to get go­ing. It makes sense to dress com­fort­ably and wear sturdy shoes – you may be ex­plor­ing un­even gar­dens, climb­ing lots of stairs or step­ping over bro­ken floor­boards in a ren­o­va­tion project. Don’t for­get a rain­coat or um­brella, sadly the sun doesn’t al­ways shine in France!

Take a note­book to record the pros and cons of the dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties, what you like and don’t like, any­thing you need to find out about af­ter the view­ing, and small points you might oth­er­wise for­get. A cam­era is an es­sen­tial tool, it will help you re­mem­ber all those de­tails that merge to­gether af­ter a few days of prop­erty view­ings. Re­mem­ber to ask per­mis­sion to take photos though. You may also want to take along a map and mark the prop­er­ties on it.

On full view­ing days, the chances are your agent will have built in time to stop for lunch, but it might be worth tak­ing along food and drinks just in case. You can al­ways check with your agent be­fore­hand.

This brings me on to the point that, in France, the agent will al­most al­ways ac­com­pany you on view­ings – they will meet you there or even drive you to the prop­erty. This can be par­tic­u­larly use­ful in re­mote ar­eas where find­ing prop­er­ties is al­most im­pos­si­ble un­less you know where you’re go­ing.

You may be asked to sign a bon de vis­ite; this is sim­ply a form that shows that the agent has in­tro­duced you to the prop­erty, to pre­vent you go­ing di­rect to the ven­dor later on and cut­ting out the agent (and their fees).

It’s ad­vis­able to meet the agent at their of­fice be­fore­hand; you can dis­cuss your re­quire­ments if you haven’t al­ready and check out their set-up in­clud­ing their carte pro­fes­sion­nelle cer­tifi­cate, which shows they are cor­rectly reg­is­tered. It goes with­out say­ing that you should al­ways use a qual­i­fied and rep­utable agent.

This (and the jour­ney to the prop­erty) is your chance to pick the agents’ brains, about both the area and the prop­erty it­self. You may want to ask why the own­ers are sell­ing and how long the prop­erty has been on the mar­ket, and if there are any ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ments planned for the area (new roads, rail lines, wind farms etc).

Con­tinue your ques­tions once you reach the prop­erty. How long has the ven­dor lived there? What work has been done to the house? When were the electrics/ plumb­ing/roof last re­placed? What fix­tures, fit­tings and fur­ni­ture are in­cluded in the sale? Is there mains drainage or a sep­tic tank, and if the lat­ter, where is it? What are the neigh­bours like? Can the ad­join­ing land be built on? Does any­one have a right of way over the land? Is good broad­band avail­able? What lo­cal ameni­ties are there (su­per­mar­ket, boulan­gerie, post of­fice, restau­rant, bar, train sta­tion, schools, doc­tor’s surgery, tourist spots, com­mu­nity events and clubs, and so on)?

What if you realise quite quickly that you don’t like the prop­erty? You should be hon­est with your agent, with­out be­ing rude to the ven­dor, of course. As po­litely as pos­si­ble, tell them the prop­erty is not suit­able for your re­quire­ments so that you don’t waste ev­ery­one’s time or get the ven­dor’s hopes up. As you go through the dif­fer­ent view­ings, make sure you let the agent know what you like and don’t like, as this will help them to se­lect fur­ther prop­er­ties for you to view.

Re­mem­ber to think with your head as well as your heart, it can be easy to get car­ried away. Don’t be tempted by prop­er­ties that are im­prac­ti­cal or over your bud­get.

What if you find the one you want; should you carry on with the other view­ings? Ob­vi­ously you don’t want to waste any­one’s time, but I’m sure you, like me, have seen those TV pro­grammes where the house­hunters think they’ve found ‘the one’, only to fall even more in love with the next one!

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