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Vendor using an English solicitor


Landscaper22

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Hi All, I am new to this Forum and just started the process of buying a property in France - a great barn with a parcel of land and woodland. A perfect retirement project.

However, first problem -the vendor, an English lady, insists on using an English solicitor to draw up the Compromis de Vente. On our last visit to look at the property we visited the local Notaire (speaks good English) who said just send her details of the deal and she would take it from there.

My questions are:

1) Is it acceptable for the English soliciter (apparently fluent in French and French Law) to draw up the CdV ?

2) He wants us to go to his office to sign the CdV - I thought the Notaire had to oversee this ?

3) Is it acceptable for me to pay the deposit to him ? I thought the Notaire held all monies.

I would value some advice on this.

Many thanks
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1) Yes. Anyone acting on behalf of the seller can do this.

2) Not necessary. It can be posted to you and you can go through it with the solicitor on the phone. The notaire does not need to oversee the compromis.

3) You can pay the deposit to the solicitor but check that he has some form of cover to protect your money. At acte de vente stage, all monies must be in the notaire's possession.

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Sounds peculiar to me. If the vendor wants to give money to an English qualified solicitor it's up to her. I'd talk to your notaire about it. If she's the only one (ignoring the solicitor) involved she'll charge the standard 'conveyancing' fee plus deal with the various taxes and fees due to the State.

I would pass any document originated by her solicitor to the notaire for approval and advice before signing anything. As for the CdeV, you could sign it at home and post it off. As far as I know there is no requirement for the signature to be done in any lawyer's office.

It is possible in a 'normal' French sale for the immo to hold a deposit (depending if you trust them) so an English solicitor should be OK.

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Sounds like the seller is just trying to make life easy for herself and actually making it harder for everyone else.

There should be no real security issues in giving money to a UK solicitor, UK house buyers do it all day everyday, but what I would be aware of though is losing money on the exchange rate. If you pay him in sterling - as he will almost certainly want you to - and the rate moves against you in the meantime, you could lose out through no fault of your own.

Normally the deposit should be with the Notaire either with the signing of the compromis or very shortly afterwards, similarly the whole sum needs to be there for the acte so who is going to effect those transfers - and at who's expense ?

I would at least insist that at the end of the day the agreed Euro price is what you are paying, no more and no less.

Personally I wouldn't want to be dictated to like this but depending on how badly the seller wants to sell/how set you are on buying, you may have little choice but to play her somewhat pointless game.

Bonne chance

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Well both parties can have their own notaires, so contact your own notaire and get it sorted between them and the solicitor.

Usually the purchaser pays the notaires fees and I reckon that adding a solicitor would add to costs, your costs, perhaps and for that reason alone, I reckon I would be telling them to have a little re-think.

 

Very strange this when buyers are as has been said, are 'rare as hen's teeth'. 

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[quote user="Landscaper22"]Hi All, I am new to this Forum and just started the process of buying a property in France - a great barn with a parcel of land and woodland. A perfect retirement project. [/quote]

 

Hi Landscaper. If I were you I'd go back to look again at the property and have another think about possibly buying a money pit.

I bought a great barn with about 3000 sq meteres of land as a "retirement project" when I was 50'ish.

By the time I retired over 10 years later, after spending most holidays there, cutting grass and brambles,  I realised I didn't want to spend the rest of my life working on a great wooden barn out in the sticks, spending money we'd never see again. Besides which, it was exceedingly cold that winter near Moissac.

We bought a small house needing no work in a busy village much further south, and put the barn up for sale.

Even at that time, when french property prices had been increasing for some years, it still took over a year to off the barn and make the minimum loss.

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Thanks everybody for your input. I have asked solicitor to contact Notaire and send draft of contract for her opinion (and approval) before sending me a copy. The vendor is quite happy to pay the solicitors fees - he has, I gather, dealt with all of her legal affairs and was involved in the original purchase. It will not cost us anything. The vendor fully understands that we are responsible for the Notaires fees etc but she wants to use her man.

Mr Ice-ni : There were two other people interested in the property and we had first refusal when it went on the market. We managed to negotiate a reasonable price and the plot even includes about 2000sq m of 'constructable' land with CU - methinks opportunities like this are 'as rare as hens teeth'.

Nomos : The barn is right next to my brother's farmhouse - he has been there for about 10 years. It is an idylic rural spot close to good road,rail and air links, two villages nearby with shops, 15 minutes to several good supermarkets and a cuple of large builders merchants. The view from terrace is to die for. the woodland has been fairly well managed over the years and my experience as a builder says it is a good prospect. Sorry you had a bad experience.

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I would be wary about the new French capital gains tax rules introduced last week, in that the fifteen year liability run off has been abolished to be replaced by a general inflation indexation allowance. This will have a major impact on many Brits who are involved in refurbishing French property themselves, as not being a registered French artisan you are not able to offset your work on the property against the chargeable gain on any increase in value. In the past this would not have been a problem if you owned the property for more than fifteen years, but now could make many self improvement projects uneconomic .
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