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In France and about to make a deal but I have a few questions before I do anything.


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I have looked at the house and I am going back today to look again to see if I notice anything i didnt yesterday.

the agent has asked for a copy of my passport,  birth certificate and marrage licence.  Is this normal?   When he said that red flags went up.

The company is www.leggett-immo.com   or www.frenchestateagents.com

I am starting to wonder if this guy is legit or just trying to scam me.   Is there any questions I should be asking?

Thanks

Matt

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Leggets are sufficiently OK for us to have both bought and sold using them. They need the copies of the certificates and passports so that the details can be included in the compromis de vent and ultimately the acte de vente.  We have always been asked for these whether buying or selling in France. If you were French your Livret de Famille would have been required which covers all these details.

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That seems very odd to me,  I would feel very suspicious if this was asked of me by an estate agent, especially when no deal has been agreed on, with just another viewing of the house.... I would not be inclined to take it further, but I am no expert at all, and of a suspicious nature...

Edit: Anton Redman has just replied, and is obviously more au fait than I am!

I should add that none of these were required of us when we bought our place, at least at the promesse de vente stage. After that, I don't recall.

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You will need these if you make an offer and its accepted for your contract, he obviously thinks that your going to buy it there and then. Whatever you do don't sign anything, give yourself a few days to decide (he/she will tell you that you have a cooling off period once you have signed which is true but don't be pushed in to signing) , if it does not 'feel' right then walk away, don't let him/her pressure you in to buying it. Make sure you take your 'common sense' with you and don't leave it at home (seen that happen too many times). Tackling questions and problems is no different to how you do things back home, needs some work then get or ask for 3 quotes before you sign (their called Devis, pronounced Devi in France). Only produce your documents at the time of signing (you may also need birth certificates, marriage licence, divorce papers, its long time since I bought but I think that's right). If you don't have a bank account in France and want to open one you might need your last bank statement as well, my bank asked for it but on the day didn't even look a it.

Good luck.

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I agree with Quillan.  You do not need to produce all the paperwork at this stage.  You should not be pressurised into buying.

You do need to be aware that buying and selling in France costs a great deal of money in fees.  In very broad terms if you use agents, it is about 14% to buy and 8% to sell and so you do not get the profit margins that you see in the UK.  If you do make a capital gain, the tax is eye watering.  Buying a house in France that you susbsequently regret can be a costly mistake.  Also on the whole (and generalising of course), the British tend to pay more than the French.  This doesn't matter a great deal if you like the house and are going to keep it for a few years but if you buy a house that you think is not quite what you want, you may struggle to get your money back.

So take your time.  Don't hand the paperwork over yet.  It is definitely a buyers' market at the moment and so use this to your advantage.

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Please look at this from the point of view of the estate agent. As an example, while working for an estate agency in the Mediterranean area, two men and a woman walked in off the street, and said they wanted to see round a property advertised in the window, and on sale at 1.8 million euros. It was known locally to contain several valuable paintings and furniture, so we were always extra cautious when dealing with people we did not know. They went into long explanations of how they wanted to use it as a company conference centre, but they were in a rush and could they meet at the property that afternoon.

As a normal precaution in most cases we asked for a copy of a passport, even before going on a viewing such as this and when asking the client to sign the 'bon de visite'. They said fine, they would come back to the office at 2.00pm as they did not have their papers with them (itself an offense under French law, especially if they were driving). We never saw them again.

Now, 99% of people are probably totally honest but nonetheless they remain an unkown quantity. Why should I be asked to trust them, when posters on this site regularly caution against trusting (all) estate agents, Notaires, builders etc. I even had a client recently who asked my colleague for a copy of his 'carte professionelle' - a director of the agency, established 50 years and him in the business for nearly 20!

So asking for proof of identity is quite normal, even at the visiting stage. You can hardly do anything in virtually any public office or business in France without this.

P-D de R.

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[quote user="Cathy"]

It is definitely a buyers' market at the moment and so use this to your advantage.

[/quote]

I will second that. I was talking to the agent we bought our house from 10 years ago about another matter. I asked whats moving and at what prices (top or bottom end of the market) and its virtually zero down here. There are massive discounts still to be had depending on how desperate the people are to sell with many of the houses that have been sold over the last 6 months (and you can count them on 2 hands, just) going for anywhere up to 25% less than the asking price. On that subject don't think that because a house has been on the market for a year means they are ready to do a deal, this is normal in France, houses can take a long time to sell. The golden question to ask in a naive way (so as not to give the reason your asking away) is why the people are selling. Always insist your offer is passed on, if an agent says that the people won't accept your offer because its to low still tell him to pass it on. Don't forget with the commission rate in France so high the lower the price the less money the agent makes. Another tip is to ask the agent for a list of Notaires fees, they should be able to give you a table of price ranges and fees charged (they vary according to price). As Notaires work for the state you can't make a deal with them but sometimes you can get the agent and/or the seller to pay some towards them.

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[quote user="P-D de Rouffignac"]

So asking for proof of identity is quite normal, even at the visiting stage. You can hardly do anything in virtually any public office or business in France without this.

P-D de R.

[/quote]

 

OK, I can see that, asking for passport or ID card. But birth certificate and marriage certificate, isn't that going a bit far????

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[quote user="5-element"][quote user="P-D de Rouffignac"]

So asking for proof of identity is quite normal, even at the visiting stage. You can hardly do anything in virtually any public office or business in France without this.

P-D de R.

[/quote]

 

OK, I can see that, asking for passport or ID card. But birth certificate and marriage certificate, isn't that going a bit far????

[/quote]

Only when we 'completed' as the house was in both names. We also had to supply them to CPAM, the bank and the Tresor Public when we registered for tax. I think, but don't quote me on this, that if you have been divorced you have to show the paperwork/certificate or whatever for that as well but never having been divorced or separated I don't really know for sure. I think in some instances it to do with inheritance type stuff.

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Having bought 4 and sold 3 houses here if you decide to sign anything the agent will ask for all or most of those papers to verify who you are,marital status etc.etc. As pointed out the mains things to be aware of os that although the Agency fee is included:usually; You are liable for the Notaires fee of 6-8%.Also pays to check the Cadastre figures at the local Mairie and ensure that what you think you are buying in terms of land,is actually what you get and not what the agent waves his hand at. If you require more than the 7 days get-out clause normal after signing,you can always add one or more "clause Suspensive" especially if your purchase depends on a mortgage or you want to change the use of the property. It pays to find out all the details before you sign anything. On 2 occasions agents have pointed out areas of land that were not included in our purchase and one forgot to tell us the farmer had a right of way by the front door to bring his tractor/feed and cows.

Caveat Emptor I think is the expression. Buyer beware or in France be Wary.

Bonne Chance
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[quote user="Anton Redman II"]A fair proportion of second viewing must result in sales. If the estate agents have the copies of documents they or the notaire can draft the compromis without a tedious/time consuming trip back to the office.[/quote]

Oh dear, that might have been what hacked one agent - we did not buy after the THIRD viewing

Paul
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I believe the reason for asking is to secure the agent's interests. It is not unknown for a "frontman" to sign the bon visite, view and of course locate the property, for his mate to subsequently turn up as a private viewer to avoid the agent's comission.

This can apply to the spouse also who could otherwise (if not linked) go on to buy in sole name.
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Linking this post into your earlier one when you said you were coming from Canada for a visit it looks as though it may have been successful despite many of us sceptical doom merchants doubting that the property would be all you hoped for in your research.

Resding between the lines I assume that you were quite upbeat about the property and the agent had decent reason for thinking that you would make an offer.  Maybe he was adding 2+2 and getting 6 but he would need the paperwork at some time.

My agent asked for all my certificates.  Perfectly normal I think.  I waited till I was home and PDF'd them all.  Gave me an extra couple of days contemplation.

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Wondering how you are getting on? Don't forget to send some news when you can. Did you?

A poster on another Forum is having a nightmare with shared access with her neighbour- and it would now be on the top of my list if I were looking now.

Bonne chance.

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Sorry for the late reply everyone. It

has been one busy week as you can imagine. I spent 4 days in France

working this whole thing out. I viewed the house many times in that

4 days. I am a renovator back in Canada so when viewing the house I

know what to look for. This house is almost 100% liveable. It is

need of some good TLC though. It would need all new appliances too.

It is connected to the sewer and the

electric. The electric is all new in both houses on the lot but the

plumbing is not. That is ok as I am planning on putting in a new

kitchen anyways so I would rather do it to know it has been done

right.

I spent some time wandering around the

town talking to the people and checking out the local pub and cafe.

All of the people seem very friendly. The town is SPOTLESS! I

don't think I have ever seen a cleaner town in all of France. The

only ugly thing in this town is the house I am buying. I think the

people of the town are actually pretty happy that someone is going to

fix it up.

I put in an offer and the sellers

accepted, the real estate agent sat down with me and showed me the

paperwork and explained the process of buying a house in France to

me.

The paperwork should arrive some time

this week for me to look over again and make my final decision, sign,

and send back.

I am very excited but a little

disappointed when I found out that it could take 3 months to obtain

this place. I guess thats how they do it in France though.

I spent my last day driving around

looking for furniture stores, building supply stores and appliances.

I took notes and now I know how much it

is going to cost me when I come back to reno it.

Very excited I hope it all goes well.

I will post pictures of the reno when I

obtain the house.

Thanks for all your help guys, I'm

sure this is not going to be my last question though.

Matt

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  • 2 months later...
Thanks for all your help earlier this summer with all of my questions.  We have visited it many times now and we ended up buying it.  We had the oppertunity to live in it for a week even though we had not bought it yet, (shhh, our little secret)   We enjoy how quiet the town is.  The people are very friendly.

Paperwork was signed and then the seller was on vacation so the paper was sent RTS and now is apparnetly lost.  We signed new papers and sent them off so the sale is very far behind but thats ok.  We do not plan on visiting France again until the spring. 

Thanks again for sharing all of your knolege

Matt

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