(PRWeb UK) September 1, 2010
With the Euro exchange rate more favourable at last, French property suddenly seems less of a dream… The French Property Exhibition at Olympia, 24th – 26th September, has literally thousands of properties currently on the market in France for you to view – and entry is free.
With properties ranging from châteaux to pieds à terre, from town houses to rural retreats and seaside escapes there is something for everyone’s property budget on show. We know that property buying abroad can be a bit daunting so there is a full seminar programme, offering free advice, from financial information and the actualities of living in France, to building and renovating properties. And just to help you stop dreaming and start planning, here are the French Property Exhibition’s top ten tips to buying property in France!
Top 10 French Property Buying Tips
1) Know where you want to buy: France is a large country, with vast differences in landscape. Before you start house hunting, identify an area/areas that suits you - while researching online and in books can give you a good idea of an area, there’s no substitute for getting out there and finding out firsthand if you like it or not. If possible, visit at different times of the year too as some places that are busy in summer are very quiet during the winter, especially more touristy locations.
2) Know what you want to buy: take time to really consider what kind of property you want and need. If a holiday home, for example, do you really need a country house with a large garden that needs lots of maintenance? Perhaps a lock-up-and-leave apartment would be better. If it’s a place to retire too, consider how the property will suit you as you ‘mature’ – are steep steps such a good idea after all? It’s best to have a clear brief of the things you need, ranging from must-haves to desirable. Having said that, a little flexibility is good too. Make sure you communicate your wish list to your agent, and when viewing houses give them good feedback so they can tailor the search to your needs.
3) Know the process: the French property market is strictly regulated, and you’ll be relieved to hear that buying a house in France is a safe and straightforward process. The best news is that, once you’ve signed the sales contract (compromise de vente) with the vendor, you can’t be gazumped; the contract is legally binding at the start of the process rather than at the end as in the UK. But French property law is different to that of the UK, so make sure you understand how it all works before signing anything. For example, once you’ve signed the initial sales agreement, and following a seven-day cooling-off period, you can’t pull out of the sale without losing your deposit.
4) Know you’re covered: French notaires are involved in all property sales. While they’re similar to a UK lawyer, they’re actually employed by the French government, to ensure the transaction is legal and to collect the various taxes such as stamp duty. Therefore, it may be in your interest to also consult a lawyer versed in both French and British law – as well as guiding you through the purchase, they can advise you on other issues such as inheritance law and tax.
5) Know how you’ll structure the purchase: unlike the UK, France has a forced heirship system, meaning you can’t leave your property to whoever you wish. For couples, especially unmarried couples, it is important to know how you will ‘own’ the property between you, before you buy, as this will affect who you leave it to in the future.
6) Know your agent is reputable: to ensure your agent or property finder is properly registered and insured, make sure you only use professionals who hold a carte professionelle.
7) Know your budget – and stick to it: it’s all too easy to get carried away and let your heart rule your head when you fall in love with a property. But you should work out exactly how much you can afford to spend before you start viewing – taking into account extra expenses such as notaire and agency fees – and then stick to that amount.
8) Know you’re in a good position: once you get to the viewing stage, you’ll be a much better proposition to vendors if you already have your finance in place, for example a pre-approved mortgage. If you need a loan, you should also consider a French mortgage as there are some great rates available.
9) Know you’re getting maximum value: shopping around for currency deals may not be at the top of your list of fun things to do, but the rate you pay for your Euros can make a huge difference to the price you pay for your property.
10) Know what you’re signing: unless you’re completely fluent in French, you may need to engage the services of a translator. Often, the agent acts in this capacity, but clearly their language skills will vary. Never ever sign anything you don’t completely understand.
To get your free tickets to the French Property Exhibition
just go to http://www.fpeolympia.com
Notes To Editors
The French Property Exhibition is being held at Olympia, London on 24th, 25th and 26th September 2010
Entry to the show is free if visitors’ register online first for their free tickets at http://www.fpeolympia.com
French Property Exhibitions are the largest, most informative property events in the UK, and are organised by Archant Specialist Ltd, the publisher of the UK’s leading French magazines.