Buying a house in France can be a tricky business, but so too can selling one.
Unfortunately the Brexit referendum result may make life in France unaffordable for some, thanks to the falling value of the pound.
And the strength of the pound against the euro may make some think now is the time to sell up.
David Hennessey, founder of ESREA France (English Speaking Real Estate Agents) has put together seven tips that are useful for those people considering selling their homes in France.
He has previously written an advice article for those thinking about buying property in France.
Do the Diagnostics
French law requires that owners of French property give to the property buyer a copy of the required diagnostic reports for review during the sale of the property. However, quite a few owners I have met over the years want to wait till they have an offer in place from a buyer before investing the money in getting the full set of reports done. But this is a mistake.
It is a mistake because a visitor to a French property who asks about the condition of the electricity in a home is showing interest even before making an offer in price and if the owner or owner’s agent says ‘we have not done the reports’ the buyer tends to think ‘they are not serious sellers so I am wasting my time here or they are hiding something.’
The question in the buyer’s mind is why would a serious owner not pay the few hundred euros for the reports if they are looking for a sale involving many thousands of euros?
Remember owners the serious buyers will ask questions and you will want to have the answers on hand.
Get the Estimates Done
Once you have the diagnostics done it is important to do any important repairs needed. Otherwise French property buyers tend to see the cost to repair as much higher than it is and heavily discount the amount of an offer. If an owner does not get important repairs done the buyer thinks the seller is short of cash and is more desperate to sell.
Now if you really do not have cash available to fix the problems diagnosed then at least get a professional to give you an estimate on the work. Better yet, get 3 professional estimates that you can show to a potential buyer. This is important to prevent the buyer from overestimating the cost of repairs.
Simulation de Finance
If you receive an offer from a buyer who will be getting financing to make the purchase of your French property ask the buyer or the buyers’ agent to show you a copy of their ‘simulation de finance’ This is a document that can be created by the buyer’s bank to show that the buyer has started the process of applying to get credit and that the bank is willing to work with them on the process up to a certain purchase amount. You want to make sure the buyer has the potential to buy your home and that your agreed sale does not die due the bank not approving the mortgage after you wait 45 days.
Hiring an Agent
THree quick notes: look for a local specialist, look for an agent who can explain to you in detail how they arrived with the potential sale price of your property and look for an agent who will be available to show your property on weekends when most of the buyers want to visit properties. Traditionally, many French agents do not work on weekends. You want to make sure you have someone who does.
Clear the Clutter
One of the most common experiences buyer’s talk about is that many of the properties they visit are packed with items and are too full to move around inside. The buyer thinks that a home is full of items because it has not enough storage when it is in fact because the owner has simply a lot of items. De-clutter your home by renting a storage locker. The less full a property is the more spacious and attractive it is to a buyer.
Stage the Home
Research is showing again and again that a ‘staged’ property sells quicker for a higher price than a property that is up for sale in the same condition as it is all year round with the owners.
You need to create a fresh almost generic appearance to your home for most buyers to then visualize themselves in your home. If your home is personalized with photos and ‘your décor’ the buyer can only imagine you living in the home they are visiting and not themselves. They will then continue to look for a home that gives them the chance to see themselves inside.
Sometimes when sellers clear out the extra items from their home they decide that some of the larger items like furniture have to go in the recycling or at least in storage since they do not look so good. This can lead to some big open space in the home that may not create a nice ambiance and replacing them with the ideal staging furniture can be costly.
The solution we learned from staging experts is to borrow furniture from friends who can spare a table or two. If this is not possible, some staging companies even have furniture for rent or fake furniture that looks real.
Maximize the sale price of your French real estate by using the above tips and improve your chances even more by using more of the 50 tips we offer in our French real estate seller’s guide