Key points about this information item Finding your Perfect Property in Midi-Pyrenees, FranceInformation Description:
Find your perfect Midi-Pyrenees home
Taking the very first steps to buying a property in France? Let Guide2MidiPyrenees help realise that dream home in the Midi-Pyrenees. Our short guide will help you find your dream house in France and explain some of the costs involved. Our seperate guide to the purchase process will help you understand the requirements of the legal process to buy the property.
The first thing is to understand the costs.
Setting a budget
This has got to be the first and most important decision. There are many things to consider which are not really part of this guide, but you need to be aware of the costs involved in purchasing a property in France.
The asking price often includes the agents fee, but is essential to establish this at the outset as the agents charge between 4% and 10% of the asking price! That would come as a big shock at the end of the transaction. Look for the letters FAI, which indicate that the fee is included. The price will not normally include the Notaire fee and don't forget to add tax at 19.6% on top. Confirm with the agent at the outset what is included.
The Notaire will charge between 2% and 8 % of the net asking price, so ensure that you factor this in.
If you need a mortgage, then all of the companies charge an arrangement fee which will be between 1% and 2% of the loan amount. It is normally limited to around 1500€, but needs to be budgeted for.
Finding the property
There are several ways to find a property; through a private sale, through an Immobilier (an estate agent) or through the Notaire directly. The most common route for overseas buyers is through an Immobilier. Don't be surprised if the agent asks you to sign a bond, which basically ties you into buying the house through that agent. This is common practice.
If you are still looking and not sure where to buy, have a scan through our extensive pages of department and town information to try and narrow down your search area. The Midi-Pyrenees is the largest region in France and the size of the Netherlands, so it is essential to have a good idea of where you want to buy to avoid spending every visit here rushing from viewing to viewing.
Once an area has been chosen, look through our property pages to see if there is a property of interest. If you find something that is close to your requirements, but missing the essential swimming pool, use the contact form to enquire if the agent has your perfect property. Contact as many agents as possible in your chosen area and be as specific as possible with your requirements. If you are too vague you will be wasting a lot of valuable time looking at unsuitable properties.
Don't under estimate the time involved. Much of the Midi-Pyrenees is very rural and travelling between viewings will take longer than you expect leaving less time to inspect the property. Aim for around four viewings a day and you won't be too far off the mark.
Once you have found a property that ticks all the boxes, there are a few things to consider before jumping in and signing the Compromis de Vente, which is the preliminary contract between buyer and seller. The agent may try to get you to sign an agreement at his stage, but there are a lot of things to consider and it would be unwise to sign anything yet.
Survey and property condition
In France it is not compulsory to have a survey. If you are taking a mortgage, the mortgage company will more than likely have a valuation carried out on the house, but it will not be made available to you and it most definitely will not be a survey of the property condition that you would expect in the UK.
It has been common practice in the past to not have a full survey carried out with various reasons cited such as it is not done in France or it must be okay as it has been standing for several hundred years! Often a local builder has been asked to give his assessment of the property and the purchase made on that basis. You would not normally buy a house in the UK without a survey, so why when on the other side of the channel would you do it. There are now a large number of English speaking surveyors to choose from so have a look in our business directory for one covering your area.
If you intend to have a survey carried out, ensure that it is completed and you have the report before signing anything. It is possible, but unlikely, that the vendor will agree to a survey clause in the Compromis de Vente.
Other things to check
Before getting to far, it is essential that you see a copy of the Plan de Cadastral. This allows you to confirm the land that is being sold with the house. In addition, the agent should confirm with the Mairie if any building plans have been submitted for adjoining land or rights of way exist across the property.
Negotiate the price
Once you are happy with the condition of the house, the negotiating can begin. As in the UK, this will be carried out by the Immobilier that is selling the property. Remember that the agent is aiming to achieve the best possible price as their commission is a percentage of the selling price. Remember also that you are paying the agents fee!
Use the evidence from the survey and any other points about the property as bargaining tools to reduce the offer you make. If the property has a large plot of land, but the asking price is too high, will the seller take a lower price for a reduction in the land included?
After agreeing a price
Once a price is agreed, the next stage is the preliminary contract. At this point, you should also decide if you would like to appoint your own Notaire. It is possible in France for the whole process to be handled by a single Notaire, who carries out all the required legal actions for both parties. This is possible because the Notaire's role is to act for the government and ensure that all the legal requirements are met and all taxes due are collected. Regardless of having either one or two Notaire, the cost is the same, but having a Notaire acting for you alone allows him to also advise you in the purchase.
If the vendors Notarie does not speak English and your French is not sufficient, it may be possible to find an English speaking Notaire to act for you. The other choice is to rely on the Immobilier or employ a translator. It is essential that you understand the documents that you are signing because there will be no going back without at very least losing your deposit.
Buying your French property
Have a look at our separate feature that explains the French property buying process.
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