Af­ter view­ing

French Property News - - Expert Advice -

If you haven’t found a prop­erty you want to buy, make sure you give clear and hon­est feed­back to your agent(s), in or­der for them to en­sure any fur­ther prop­er­ties they show you will be suit­able.

If, on the other hand, you want to make an of­fer, it’s best to wait un­til af­ter the view­ing. Seek the agent’s ad­vice on whether the ven­dor will be open to ne­go­ti­a­tion, and if so, by how much. Al­though the agent is man­dated by the seller, they should be able to ad­vise you pro­fes­sion­ally. Check too if there have been any pre­vi­ous of­fers (ac­cepted or re­fused).

When de­cid­ing on the price you will of­fer, take into ac­count whether any work is needed to the prop­erty, how much it will cost and whether the ask­ing price re­flects this. Don’t for­get to include buy­ing costs too (agent’s and no­taire’s fees and taxes).

Tech­ni­cally, once an of­fer has been ac­cepted, the sale is bind­ing, but in prac­tice it is the ini­tial sales con­tract, usu­ally called the com­pro­mis de vente that is legally bind­ing. The buyer has a 10-day cool­ing-off pe­riod dur­ing which they can pull out for any rea­son. You may be asked to sign an of­fre d’achat be­fore the of­fi­cial con­tract; this just shows a com­mit­ment to buy the prop­erty.

The com­pro­mis can include con­di­tional clauses, such as whether plan­ning per­mis­sion or fi­nance is needed to go ahead with the pur­chase.

Don’t be pres­sured into sign­ing the sales con­tract for a prop­erty un­less you’re sure it’s ‘the one’. If you are sure though, don’t dither about mak­ing an of­fer – you wouldn’t want to lose out to an­other buyer.

Once the 10-day cool­ing-off pe­riod has passed, the no­taire will com­mence the con­veyanc­ing process, with com­ple­tion ( acte de vente) usu­ally tak­ing place around three or four months later.

The ven­dor is obliged to pro­vide a se­ries of di­ag­nos­tic re­ports, cov­er­ing the pres­ence of as­bestos, lead and ter­mites as well as en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, nat­u­ral or in­dus­trial risks, gas in­stal­la­tions, elec­tri­cal wiring and sep­tic tanks. Don’t con­fuse these with a build­ing sur­vey; they are not the same.

Should you wish to or­gan­ise a sur­vey or get a builder in to quote on ren­o­va­tion costs, it’s ad­vis­able to get this done within the cool­ing-off pe­riod if pos­si­ble. If not, you may be able to include a suc­cess­ful sur­vey as one of the con­di­tional clauses.

Your no­taire and agent should keep in touch with you through­out the whole process, and be­fore you know it you’ll be celebrating with your favourite French tip­ple and the keys to your new home.

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