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Seven tips for selling your house in France

Unfortunately the prospect of Brexit and the falling value of the pound have forced some British home owners in France to wonder whether they can afford to keep their house in France. Here are seven things to know if you're thinking of selling up.

Seven tips for selling your house in France
Photo: AFP

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.

Tip One

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.

Tip Two

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.

Tip three

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.

Tip four

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.

Tip five

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.

Tip six

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. 

Tip seven

Borrow Furniture

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

Visit ESREA France to Find English speaking French real estate agents and French real estate information in English

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These are the ten cheapest towns to be a student in France

Student life in France is getting more costly. Rises in transport passes and rent have pushed up the living cost by an average of two percent in the past year - but some French cities still offer student life on a budget.

These are the ten cheapest towns to be a student in France
File photo: RawpixelDepositphotos

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Paris topped the rankings when it came to the cost of living, with university students in the City of Light having to cough up an average of €1,193 each month for living expenses, according to an annual study by France's main students' union, Unef.

This represents a general trend across France, where living costs for students are quickly rising. Earlier this week, Unef's president called the steep rise in living costs “alarming”, as the two percent rise amounted to three times the rate of inflation and more than double the rise seen in previous years.

The new study analyses living costs across France's 35 largest university cities, looking at rent – which accounted for half the monthly budget – transport, and a fixed allowance for all other costs.

So which are the best towns to consider if you want to study in France without breaking the bank?

10. Caen

Caen in northwestern France is a great option for British students, with a ferry terminal just 15km away. The university even has a British connection, having been founded by King Henry VI of England in the 15th century. But its reasonably priced rent and transport make it attractive to students of all nationalities, while Twisto, the funkily-named bus and tram network, transports you around the city quickly and cheaply.


Photo: toneteam/Depositphotos

9. Le Havre

Also in Normandy, port town Le Havre is another option for purse-friendly student living – in a Unesco World Heritage city. Transport is on the costly side, with an annual pass setting students back €279,30, but the town centre can easily be covered on foot and is home to cultural treasures including France's largest collection of Impressionist art outside Paris.

8. Orléans

Moving inland, Orléans is located on the Loire river and is a beautiful location due to the many famous castles in the surrounding area. The university also offers plenty of partnerships with foreign universities, so studying here may be convenient as well as cheap. 

7. Clermont-Ferrand

One columnist for The Local has even claimed that this beautiful university city is the best place in all of France – partly due to the cheap price of a pint of beer. There are also plenty of music, theatre, and art festivals each year as well as a dynamic nightlife scene. Both rent and transport costs have risen dramatically over the past 12 months, by 5.12 percent and 3.63 percent respectively, but it still earned a place on the list of cheapest student cities.

Photo: Encrier/Depositphotos

6. Perpignan

Perpignan is located in southern France, close to the coast and Spanish border, so as well as cheap rent and transport, students can enjoy the Mediterranean climate and cheap day trips to the beach. 

5. Angers

Angers is a bustling city in the north-west of the country, with great train links to most major cities. In addition to being budget-friendly it's also a very cultural city, with an impressive castle, plenty of museums, and lots to do throughout the year.

4. Saint-Étienne

Situated between Toulouse and Lyon, the trams of Saint-Étienne are not only cheap to use but also historic – the trolleybus system has been in operation since the 1940s. Rents are also cheap in this city which is home to a total of six colleges and universities.

3. Limoges

While rents in Limoges had seen a hefty increase of 7.6 percent year-on-year, annual transport passes here are among the cheapest in France, setting students back just €90. There's plenty to see in this historic city and the local airport is served by RyanAir, making it an even more attractive option for international students.

Photo: Kassandra2/Depositphotos

2. Brest

When it comes to student living on the cheap, Brest is (second) best. With a regional airport and ferry services to England and Ireland, it's handy for homesick students, as well as being near the beach. As a student city, there's a lively nightlife scene and of course delicious Breton seafood.

1. Poitiers

The picturesque student town of Poitiers came out on top for cost of living, with monthly expenditures adding up to just 60 percent of what Parisian students pay. It boasts the cheapest rent at just €323 per month, and further bonuses including free access to sports activities. The city is small and medieval and students should feel at home here, after all Poitiers has a higher proportion of students than any other town in France.