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Sale of French property - 2021


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I am selling a property in France, my principal private residence. I may, therefore, be considered an expat and I have been living in France for quite a few years.

I'd like to do here what I did once before, in a different forum, when walking the Camino de Santiago, namely to post a short summary of the current activity in this forum and provide a link to my blog, for those interested, giving a chronicle of events surrounding the sale as they unfold.

An estate agent was engaged and the mandat was signed on 30 June. A DTI took place in early July, a professional photographer was engaged by the agent, a visit by SPANC to assess the fosses septiques was made in mid July. The DTI report has been received; the SPANC report is awaited.

The estate agent has advised that any defects highlighted in the DTI report do not necessarily have to be rectified by the seller. However, any dangerous matters should be sorted out asp. There was one, already addressed. He went on to say that a potential buyer will see the report – a very thorough survey – and make an offer in the knowledge of what the report says.

To date there have been 2 viewings on successive days. One offer with a condition has been made, and accepted.

The link to read the detail: domainesale.weebly.com

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I have just read through your blog and think it a useful source for inexperienced people like myself when it comes to selling a property. After twenty years ownership of a secondaire, we suspect that we only have another five years before we need to sell.

I have already picked up relevant details. Thanks.
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Read your post with some interest.  We have just had the diagnostics done for a sale of the house and can echo some of the points you made.

The inspection was very thorough and took some two and a half hours.  He even checked some timbers in the garden well away from the house.

Like your inspector, he made the comment that minor issues (there was a couple of points re electrics) were a matter for the purchaser.

Pleased to say we have since had two offers, both from French families, without trying to reduce the price, one of which we have accepted.

One point about it all was that we had an English couple who were extremely interested but, before making an offer, they wanted a survey - which would be normal in UK.   It would have been about four weeks before that could have been done and reported on.

The house is over 200 years old and hasn't fallen down in that time.  The diagnostic inspection was pretty much a full survey and, I suspect, that they hadn't appreciated how thorough it was.

A pity for them as the obviously loved the house but we had an offer in front of us which we took.

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The person making the initial viewing returned with her husband today. The agent reports they wish to see him on 16 August to discuss further. Sounds encouraging - but they have yet to see the DPE and SPANC reports. Both of these amount to a pretty detailed survey, if not even better, so British potential buyers need to study these with some care.

The link to read the detail: domainesale.weebly.com

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Like yours, Weegie, one of my houses, or part thereof, dates from 1809. When I bought it 17 years ago I had a French architect look it over and he confirmed it was not about to fall down!

DPEs were not in evidence in 2003 - or I miissed it!
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Visit to property last w/e by potential buyers was encouraging.. They are considering their finances, possible extra expenses before a decision is made.

Removal estimate is in and I am now working out how to deal with car sales in France and acquiring one in UK while still being in France, and benefitting from full insurance NCD on an English car.

Details at domainesale.weebly.com
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  • 2 weeks later...
UK car bought. Possibility of compromis de vente being signed within the next few days.

Transfer of Residence application authorised by UK customs. Will need amendment which apparently we can do.

See domainesale.weebly.com for more detail.
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Compromis de vente signed today, some 9 weeks after engaging the estate agent. I think this is quick especially as I was prepared for a sale to take 2 years.

However, final payment is not due until 20 November.

We are now looking to see if the buyer wishes to take on those articles we will not be taking with us, eg washing machine, lawnmower, etc. There are quite a few articles.

Leboncoin.fr has proved an excellent site for selling items we no longer want.

See domainesale.weebly.com for more detail.
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Compromis de vente signed by estate agent on behalf of buyer and me. Projected date for completion in front of the notaire is another 8 weeks away. It has taken about 9 weeks from engaging the estate agent up to the signing of the compromis.

Buyer to make a depot de guarantie - about 4% in his case - and he has 10 days from receipt of the signed compromis for cooling off (= retraction) after which the deposit becomes, in principle, non-refundable. There are one or 2 exceptions.

Now in the UK having brought over a car load of effects. Have collected UK registered car. UK insurance firm have allowed 5 years NCD based on French insurance company's releve d'information, translated into English.

HMRC have allowed change of date of goods arriving in the UK and additions to the originally submitted list.

See domainesale.weebly.com

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UK visit over. No border control problems getting into UK nor into France on our return by Eurotunnel train.

Notaire

It's worth setting out here what the notaire requires.

The notaire, having been informed of our move by our estate agent, has written to me. She wants to know / see the following:

Latest invoice for central heating boiler maintenance. There should be a boiler man coming tomorrow.

Are there smoke detectors in the houses? Yes.

Whether there is a fireplace and whether the chimney has been swept. Invoice required. Chimney has been blocked up by us for about 7 years.

Have we had any major work done in the last 10 years? Invoices required. I need clarification as to what exactly “gros travaux” means.

Reveal what has been done to comply with safety rules for the swimming pool. I have just bought a new alarm as the old one was not satisfactory. The new owners can install it as we shall be closing the pool in a day or 2 and covering it with a winter cover.

There are remarks concerning capital gains tax. The French property is a secondary residence. The notaire stipulates that we must employ a fiscal representative as our main residence is outside the EU. This is required if the property is to be sold for more than E150,000 and has been owned for less than 30 years and also whether or not there is CGT (= plus-value) to pay.

As I wish to have clarification on some points I have arranged to meet the notaire in a few days time.

Depot de guarantie now received by agent.

See domainesale.weebly.com
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  • 2 weeks later...

At 30/9/21

Notaire has clarified my questions, in particular "gros travaux" which includes major structural work outside, complete renovation of bathrooms, kitchens, electrical work..... Invoices were required for such work.  

The fiscal representaive will not be my bank as they refuse to do it.  The notaire recommended an organisation known as SARF who have a Paris address.  They have yet to reply to my initial contact.

See  domainesale.weebly.com  for finer details.

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Quite right those who read that this was my primary residence.  Subsequently, I realised my error as stated later, it is a secondary residence so that is why you see all this, as ...banana calls it"contrick".  It's not!  As time goes by one realises that mistakes can be made.  Here's the next requirement.......

Fiscal representative

I have heard back from SARF who will represent me. I need to provide various documents and then I will be given an estimate for their work.

They need:

  1. A copy of the compromis de vente;

  2. A copy of the purchase contract when I bought the property;

  3. If I have had work done on the property originals of the invoices and estimates, and,

  4. Evidence of payment (bank statements).

Further comment, if you will,  at my blog:   domainesale.weebly.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

at 11/10/21

The fiscal representative has not responded after one week. The notaire wants to know who is my fiscal representativeand how it's going.

The removal firm, due last Wednesday, 6 October, sent an SMS 2 days before to say they were ahead of schedule and would arrive a day early. They duly arrived a day early and had all our effects loaded in just over 3 hours.

We departed the property 2 days later for the UK to meet the removal vehicle on 11 October ensuring that we had enough fuel in the car before leaving France because there is a delivery shortage of fuel in the UK. This time no PCR test required before leaving France but a Day 2 test required in England: cost £55 / person, better than £109 each last time.

No word yet from the new owner as to whether or not he will take on the propane gas contract.

At 14/10/21

Fiscal rep has now responded. Fee to be E1500. She requires a copy of the whole of the original purchase document, the whole of the compromis de vente (each about 8-12 pages), an attestion sur l'honneur that all building / improvement works done during my owner occupation were actually completed and paid for.

New owner does not wish to take on the contract for propane gas. I must arrange removal of the propane tank with Butagaz.

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  • 2 weeks later...

At 22/10/21

Propane gas tank

A slight difficulty with Butagaz over when the gas tank will be removed.  They seem to indicate it will be after I have completed the property sale; I want it taken away beforehand.  I have asked the estate agent to try to resolve the matter and he will confirm with the buyer that he does not wish to take on the Butagaz contract.

Car

2nd car sold after 3 months, done through a concessonnaire - for a fee!

Currency movement

With a property and car sales come some funds. To move them to the UK is complicated when larger sums than (my) normal amount are involved. My bank has explained what happens. I suspect that I may not get the best exchange rate on any particular transaction as it takes the bank 2 days to carry out a transaction. I try to get quotes from 2 different exchange companies. They offer better rates than a bank doing the currency transaction and on large sums this can make a difference of hundreds or thousands of pounds when converted depending on the amount being exchanged.

I need to see the euro to GBP rate increase! Today it's E1 buying £ 0.84 (middle market rate) so, say, E50000 will buy £ 42000. If the rate rises to £ 0.86 E50000 will buy £43000.

And then what?! Invest, buy property, crypto (for some), donate to offspring, deposit in a bank / BS (bad rates!).......? Or do what the “super wealthy” do – according to the Panama Papers and Pandora Papers?

Completion

I have also asked the agent to try and get a date fixed for completion, preferably before 20  November so heis going to liaise with the notaire and the buyer.

Now, a new piece of information has come to light both from talking to the estate agent today and to my neighbour who lives some 500m away and runs a farm. His family own the land all around us. Apparently, if I have understood all the information I have been given in French, when a compromis de vente is signed the notaire is advised who in turn advises the local Mairie. This may take a week or so. From about the date of that notification people in the immediate vicinity and  / or the Mairie  have the right to ask to buy the property at the price asked for by the seller and such a person has first refusal. A different price may not be offered so this takes priority over any other “non vicinity” people making a bid. This period lasts 2 months. I have been told that a local person buying in these circumstances is not a usual occurrence. Extrapolating from the end of this approximate 2 month period the estate agent planned the date for completion, ie 20 November - but I would like an earlier date.

I think this "procedure" may be called "Acte de prehension".  Any observations?

More detail on some of this at    http://domainesale.weebly.com

 

 

Edited by Gb
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préemption, the right to buy ahead of anyone else; often used by communes to buy property they want or need for development or to get it out of the way in road widening etc. There is also a process whereby farmers can get some sort of rights over land but better heads than mine may have the detail.

Unless the commune wants it or you have a ton of good land, it should not be a problem and need not hold things up by much but it might help if you get the notaire off their ar*e to send the paperwork off and also had a chat to the commune so it gets expedited quickly.

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The Notaire should have written to the Mairie as soon as the Compromis had been signed, they then have two months to decide whether to buy it or not and until the Notaire receives the written 'yay' or 'nay' from the Mairie the sale can't be completed. In addition if the property includes land over a certain size then the farming organisation SAFER may also have the right to buy, this again should have been sorted out by the Notaire from the start. 

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