Part 4 – Case study: Buying Property Privately in The Charente
If you have not read part 1, 2 and 3 of this case study click on the link below.
Case Study part 1 – Buying Property Privately in The Charente
Yesterday I met again with Sue Carr who is in the throes of buying the most delightful property in Charente but doing so without the help of an estate agent. Sue decided to buy directly from the French property vendors and the process has had its ups and down. In its favour, she has avoided the cost of French estate agency fees saving about €5000 in fees. Against buying in this way, Sue has had to do all the work which would normally be done by the estate agent
The people involved in assisting buyers of French property perform different roles compared to the estate agent and solicitor in the U.K.
- Whereas a U.K. conveyancing solicitor will be acting solely on behalf of the vendor or buyer, the French Notaire is acting for the French government and his or her work focuses on legal contract work that elicits taxes due to the state. Sometimes you can be lucky and have the services of a Notaire who goes over and above the normal duties but basically his or her involvement with vendors and buyers is limited to ensuring that they understand the contract being signed and ensuring that the correct price is paid and the relevant taxes are collected.
- In France, the agent normally takes on much more of a support role than we would expect from a U.K. estate agent. They will help you in all dealings with the vendor, answering any questions you may have regarding the property. They will normally help you to open contracts with utilities, rubbish collection and insurance and generally be ‘on the ground’ to help with all French bureaucracy. Many will also help with advice on local schools, information on registering for employment, running a business etc. Whilst not doing this work for you they are usually happy to ‘point you in the right direction’.
So for Sue, the decision to forego the help of an agent was not taken lightly and was something she more or less fell into as the property was advertised privately on the special section of the Healey Fox website – Property sold privately in France.
With only 2 weeks to go until the signing of the Acte Finale, Sue’s stress levels were certainly obvious as we chatted over coffee and croissants. After listening to the problems she felt she was having we were able to pinpoint the problems being those of communication with the vendors combined with Sue’s self-declared need to feel in total control of events! For anyone who decides to buy or sell privately, communication is key. Keeping in touch with each other and answering all questions raised keeps stress levels down and ensures that the process passes happily and without any danger of one of the parties withdrawing from the deal. Judging by the huge file that Sue had with her, she had done what she could to communicate with the vendors and, as it turned out, the vendors had done everything necessary at their end. They just hadn’t always told her!…. Read more about Selling property privately.
The learning in this whole process has been that communication is key. So for anyone who is thinking about selling or buying privately, I cannot stress too much that it is vital to keep in touch with each other and not to assume that the Notaire will be involved in any way in the nitty gritty of the sale/purchase of the property.
The good news is, that Sue is now ready for her trip to Charente to sign the final contract and to spend her first night in her new home in France. The ferry is booked, the appointment with the Notaire is confirmed and soon she will be able to de-stress amidst the beauty ofcc spring in Charente.