Exhibitors from the forthcoming French Property Exhibition in London in January share some advice about buying in France…
BUYING IN THE ALPS
Howard Watts, Alpine Property World, Stand 25
- Choose multi-season properties to maximise your investment. Clients are increasingly looking for a property for skiing, for summer use near water, such as a lake or the Med, plus spring and autumn periods for a rest from the pressure of business.
- Quick access is important to be able to use it frequently so I would suggest choosing a location within 90 minutes of Geneva such as the following areas, the Portes du Soleil (Chatel and Morzine valleys), Thollon-les-Mémises and Evian-les-Bains (close to Lake Geneva and skiing), plus the Evasion Mont Blanc (such as St-Gervais and Combloux), all of which could be suitable.
TOP TIPS WHEN BUYING
Fabienne Atkin, Ashtons Legal, Stand 43
- Be open in negotiations: If you need a mortgage to finance the purchase and/or if you would not consider buying unless you could affect certain works, make this clear to agent and seller, who could pull out if new information is added later on.
- Understand the documentation: This may sound obvious but don’t rely on standardised translations, and do seek independent advice. The first contract is extremely important.
- Consider a survey: The pre-contract inspection reports may tell you about the property, but they are limited. An independent structural survey will cost you more, but it may offer more reassurance.
- Explore inheritance law and tax implications: This can be very complex. Ensure you understand it in full. Seek expert cross-border advice.
REMOVALS: SAVE THE DATE!
Gary Burke, Burke Bros, Stand 3
Notify your removal company as far ahead as you possibly can of the date. Avoid cancellations or postponements as much as you can, because this can add to the costs. It’s also important to be aware that a move now takes longer due to custom formalities. The need to deal with more documents and restrictions has increased transit times and the amount of paperwork that as a customer, a removal company will need you to complete, has increased. The bureaucracy in local French town halls can often cause delays, so you’ll need to factor this in too.
BUILDING AND RENOVATION
BUYING A PROPERTY
Lyn Barker, ASI immo, Stand 17
Foreign clients often ask whether the seller pays the agency fees or the purchaser? A common misconception among purchasers is that when properties are advertised as ‘seller pays agency fees’, the purchaser gains. This is not the case, and it can be confusing. To simplify, the purchaser does pay the fees, as the advertised price comprises agency fees and the property price. Legally. the system doesn’t require that the two amounts be defined individually. The purchaser then also pays elevated notaire’s fees as they are calculated on the full amount advertised (including agency fees) and not just the property price. This system may be used by agencies to hide high fees. However, when a property is advertised saying that the purchaser pays the fees, the agency is legally required to provide a breakdown of both property price and fees within the advert, giving full transparency of the individual amounts. Therefore, you only pay the notaire’s fees on the property price and not on the full advertised price which included the agency fees.
Ben Franklin, Franklins Removals, Stand 51
- Choose your removal company early.
- Make a full list of goods to be moved.
- Declutter unwanted goods in advance.
- Start packing goods into boxes as early as possible.
- Think about which goods cannot be transported across international borders.
- Start gathering required customs documents (your removal firm will advise which are required).
- Check that access at collection and delivery addresses is suitable for the removal vehicle.
Diane Nyerges, French Connections HCB, Stand 31
Since January 2021, the freedom of British people to come and go in France has been restricted to 90 days out of 180. While 90 days might sound like plenty, it’s often not long enough for people with second homes in France or those looking to rent or buy a French property. Say hello to the six-month short stay visa! Often overlooked, it offers certain advantages.
- One, it’s easy to acquire. You can start an application three months before the date you intend to travel.
- Two, you don’t need to show proof of health insurance. Your current GHIC is enough.
Three, the short stay visa is multiple entry, meaning you can come and go as you please, as long as you head home by the end of your designated six- month period.
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Lead photo credit : Photo: FPS