Selling a property in France

When selling a property in France, it is important to understand that the process can take time.

The transfer of ownership of a property in France is handled through a notary. The sales process in France can be more complicated and take more time than in your home country. This is what happens before you meet with the notary:

Obtaining information

Technology. Prior to the signing of a 'compromis de vente' (precontract), the seller is obliged to commission and pay for a technical survey of the property. This must contain measurements of the living area if the dwelling is part of an association, a calculation of heating requirements and an overview of any natural risks (earthquake, fire, flooding etc.) associated with the local area. In many cases there is also a requirement to investigate the presence of lead, termites and asbestos and carry out a risk assessment of the wiring and any other technology belonging to the building. If the property has a septic tank this must also be inspected.

Legal. The seller must be able to show a deed of ownership if the building belongs to an association: provide information regarding any association fees and the latest annual accounts, property tax etc.

Market value. An assessment of the property's value must be made. References from recent sales of equivalent properties must be provided, not only information on asking prices and sales from previous years. There is a requirement for the estate agent to provide references from equivalent property sales. We here at Bjurfors have access to internal databases and can quickly provide references from most districts.

Finance. What are the actual running costs of the property? What repairs will need to be carried out in the future and what will they cost? A prospective buyer will include this in their own assessment of the price. We help you to make these calculations.

We help you with your financial calculations.

Sales assignment

Choice of estate agent. Your choice should be based on the estate agent's ability to identify potential buyers, the agent's expertise and their commitment to protecting the client's interests. Feel free to interview several estate agents before making a decision. Ask whether the estate agent themselves have the competence required to draw up the 'compromis de vente', if they have a client funds account, how they market their properties, the languages in which they market them, which websites they use and so on.
At Bjurfors French Riviera, we prepare a marketing plan and timetable for the sale of each property in collaboration with the client. It will in all likelihood take more time to sell a property in France than in your home country, so the plan must be flexible enough to respond to current circumstances and market feedback.

Choice of agreement. The sales assignment can be either sole or multi-agency. If the seller chooses a sole agent, the client should ensure that the estate agent is a member of the Multiple Listing Service. Membership of this organisation (equivalent to the US Multiple Listing Service) makes it possible for the responsible sole agent to present the property on the joint estate agent database, thus markedly increasing the total number of potential buyers. If a multi-agency contract is chosen, the chosen estate agents should naturally be complementary, working with a variety of types of buyers.

Monitoring the activities of your estate agent. Follow up on your estate agent's marketing activities! An estate agent has hundreds of different activities under way and it is important to remain high on their list of priorities.

Negotiation. For obvious reasons, the buyer and seller sometimes have conflicting interests. Negotiations are handled by the estate agent but an intensive dialogue between seller and agent can boost creativity and provide solutions to a host of problems.

Choice of notary. The French often have a family notary who remains with the family throughout life's various stages. The notary provides the family with financial advice (on condition thay they can then take care of matters such as property sales). Begin by choosing a competent and conscientious notary who communicates well with their clients.We would of course be happy to recommend such a person. The notary is also the right person to ask for advice, for example on whether you should purchase via a company or privately. The notary also provides advice on matters regarding capital gains, inheritance tax etc. The buyer and seller may have the same notary. This involves no extra costs as the notaries then share the fee.