They say that France is a safe place to buy property as long you do your homework before buying. I agree with this opinion. So to help you prepare for your property transactions, here are some pointers to consider when buying property in France:
1) Hire qualified agents only
France’s estate agency is highly regulated, so it’s easy to sift the good agents from those with a bad reputation. Registered and qualified estate agents hold “a carte professionelle.” It’s usually displayed to inform the public of an agent’s qualifications. If you are working with an agency, it’s sufficient that only one person has a certificate. The other agents working with him are considered to be working as an ‘agent commercial’ under that single “a carte professionelle.”
2) Protect your cash
To protect your money you need to make sure that your offer is right.
Many UK residents who buy property in France base their offers on property prices back home. Don’t imitate them.
When buying French property, you have to be updated with trends in the French property market. You can get this information from various sources such as property portals, agency websites, and even through your local agent in France.
Another way to secure your cash is to give it directly to the “notaire” rather than the seller.
People who enter property transactions in France do so under the supervision of a notaire. They are commonly in charge of conveyancing or searches. They are employed by the government, so you can be sure that they won’t do any acts harmful to both you and the seller.
3) Think ahead
Inheritance planning is important for every property owner in France, especially foreign nationals. Under French laws, a portion of the deceased’s estate goes to his children or his parents (if he doesn’t have children). You can’t just leave your estate in the hands of whomever you want.
Fortunately, there are ways to go around this rule, but you have to make these preparations beforehand.
Otherwise, your house in France will be given to your children or parents. A few popular solutions are inserting a ‘tontine’ clause into the initial sales contract and adopting a French marriage status.
4) Be realistic about renovation
If you are buying property to renovate, it’s crucial to find out the normal timelines, expenses, and additional costs of doing such a project in France or else the project might spiral out of control in no time.
Get a couple of quotes before you sign a contract of sale for the property and construct a definite plan of the renovation ahead. Will you be hiring professionals to design and build the property or are you going to do it on your own?
Also, if you need to renovate, don’t ever forget to insert a condition in the sales contract which explains that the finality of your purchase depends if you can secure a planning permission from local authorities. The last thing you want is to be tied down to a run down property that you won’t be able to fix up for profit.
Keep these points in mind and you should be ready to invest in France.