MYTH: Buying privately will save us money
“People often think buying privately will save money on agency fees, but this misses the point of what an agency actually does to earn its fees. It is very easy to get lost – with substantial financial repercussions – in an alien conveyancing system. Without an agency liaising between both parties and the notaire(s), a significant number of private sales fall through. Agencies also usually assist with all sorts of other issues which would be totally out of the remit of a UK agent, such as finance, planning permissions, utility contracts, insurance and so on.
“More than this, it is perfectly possible that an agency will be able to negotiate a much better deal. One client we worked with decided to buy privately a particular house that we had on our portfolio. If they had come through us they would have been able to shave a further €30,000 off the price – equivalent to both the agency fee and the notaire fee.” Charles Miller, Charente Immobilier
MYTH: The deposit is 10% and the notaire’s fees are 10% “There is no fixed amount for a deposit and in my experience a 5% deposit is much more common. There’s actually no legal requirement for the buyer to pay a deposit at all and if the vendor is in agreement it can be waived altogether. My advice if the deposit is to be waived, however, is to make sure that the compromis de vente contains a penalty clause stipulating that if the buyer or seller were to withdraw without good reason, they would owe the other party a percentage of the sale price. In the case of a penalty clause, 10% is not uncommon.
“When it comes to the notaire’s fees, it’s a common misconception that the notaire receives all of these fees. The term refers to the amount that the notaire receives, together with the taxes that he or she collects on behalf of the government. The notaire actually receives around 1.5% of the sale price. The total fees are calculated on a sliding scale – the higher the value of the house, the lower the percentage of the
fees and in reality any purchase above around €60,000 is likely to attract notaire’s fees of less than 10%.” Mark Sayers, Artaxa real estate agency
MYTH: The notaire acts on behalf of both parties “Actually, a notaire acts on behalf of the state and is not obliged – indeed is not allowed – to advise either the seller or the buyer. If a problem arises during the purchase process, a notaire is obliged to stop and invite the parties to go away and settle their differences; they will pull the shutters down on the transaction until the problem has been resolved.
“A notaire will assess and explain what is in a contract, but it’s not necessarily their job to advise on issues that might perhaps be better included in the contract that aren’t at the moment – things that might be in the best interest of one or both parties.
“A solicitor’s job, in contrast, is to say ‘there should be an X or Y in the contract and you could probably negotiate a Z’, which is why solicitors and notaires often work together.
“My job is to go through the documentation and check what’s missing as well as what’s there, and check my client’s understanding on rights across land, for example, or on inheritance tax and succession planning.” Matthew Cameron, Ashtons Legal
MYTH: Booking a removal company is the final job to do “You can never be too prepared when booking a removal company. We would recommend contacting a removal company between four and 12 weeks prior to your move if you can. Giving more notice on your upcoming move is never a bad thing, and getting a professional quotation done early can help you budget for your move.” Gary Burke, Burke Brothers overseas
removals and shipping