Selling a property in Brittany:

When Is The Best Time To Sell Property In Brittany?

The property market in Brittany is very active throughout the year, and properties sell well in every single month.

It can be a little quieter in January, but this has not been the case in 2017.

It can also be a little quieter for a week or so just after the return to work and school in early September ( La rentrée ).

The property market in Brittany is at its busiest in July and August, as Brittany is a major tourist destination, and there are plenty of potential buyers on holiday here during these months.

Any time of year is therefore a good time to offer property for sale.

Valuation

Should you wish to market your property most Estate Agents offer a free valuation service and will help you write a detailed description, and take a full range of photos.

The valuation will be based on the condition and characteristics of the property (detached / semi-detached, etc.); the area and any other unique features, such as proximity to rivers and to the coast and its character on one hand and the current market situation on the other.

The valuation the Estate Agent will give you iss ‘Net Vendor’, in other words the price you would receive in your hands at the end of the sale, providing you are not liable for   any tax due to your particular situation and that there are no ongoing mortgages

(Please see our section on Capital Gains Tax if you are selling a second residence).

The price seen the an Estate Agencies publicity is called F.A.I (Frais d’Agence Inclus) which is the Net Vendeur price plus their agency fees (these are paid for by the buyer).

There are also Notaire’s fees (including the taxes of the sale) to pay on top of this - also paid by the  buyer.

The contract to sell your property

When you decide to sell your property, a mandate is drawn up, signed by  yourself and agency.

The Mandat de Vente can be one of 2 types:

  • Sole-agency or Exclusive

The Estate Agent is given exclusive rights to sell your property for a period of 3 months and during that time you cannot engage any other intermediary or sell the property yourself. This allows the agency to provide a highlighted presentation, and is a good idea to boost advertising and marketing at the beginning of the sale

  • Non-exclusive

With this contract you retain your own right to sell the property, putting it with other intermediaries.

This allows you to place the property where you think it will get the highest exposure and the ability to market the property itself.

Viewings with Potential Buyers

Many sellers do not live in Brittany and therefore provide a key to their Estate Agent(s) so that accompanied visits can take place.  Even if you do live here permanently, it is a good idea to let the Estate Agent have a copy of a key as sometimes they will have a client with them for only a very short time and, if they cannot get hold of you, it is an opportunity missed.

If you are in when the Estate Agent arrives it is best that the you keep in the background, as that will the best way for the potential buyer to get a sense of what it might be like to live at a property, rather than what it is like to be there as an invited guest.

Only answer questions if put to you and then, as briefly and to the point as possible, even if it is the agent’s first visit as well.

As an Estate Agent can visit up to 4 or 5 properties with each client, it can be difficult to give feedback to you after every visit.

First Impressions - Exterior

Given that a potential buyer may decide whether they like a property, or not, within the first few seconds of their arrival for a viewing, first impressions are very important.

A well maintained garden, with hedges, walls, fences, gates, driveways and paths in good order, and a house with clean windows, will add to the appeal of a property for potential buyers, and it need not be expensive to present a property at its best.

First Impressions - Interior

People like to live in light, bright, and airy properties that feel spacious.

Vendors should therefore consider removing any heavy curtains from windows that obscure natural light, and painting dark coloured walls a lighter colour to reflect light.

Clean and tidy rooms that have been decluttered, and had a lot of personal possessions removed, will allow potential buyers to see how much space is available for their lifestyle, and their own furniture and possessions.

Pets And Animals

Many potential buyers will love animals, but not all, and some may well be frightened of a barking dog that jumps up to greet them for instance.

It is therefore better if dogs are not present at a viewing, and if a property includes a field and/or outbuildings for horses and other animals, it may be better that these animals are secured for the duration of the viewing so that potential buyers can concentrate on what they are there for.

 

YOU HAVE AN OFFER FOR YOUR PROPERTY – WHAT NEXT?

Offre d’Achat

You have an offer and you have decided to accept it. The next stage is to obtain a formal Offre d’Achat or Offer to Buy from the buyer. This will contain simple details such as the date; name of the property; names and addresses of the buyers; the price agreed F.A.I and Net Vendeur; whether finance is required or not; any specific conditions and a date before which a Compromis de Vente must be signed if all the elements required have been provided.

In accepting this offer you agree not to sign any other offer with any other person, even if at the full asking price, until the Compromis de Vente is fulfilled. You have no ‘cooling off’ period. The Buyer agrees to the same conditions and to sign a Compromis de Vente.

Compromis de Vente

The ‘Compromis de Vente’ is then prepared for both parties to sign. The Compromis is not binding until all of the annexes are complete and these, plus a copy of the Compromis, must be sent by registered post to the buyers’ address and the day after they sign the registered post receipt is when the 10 days cooling off period starts.

The buyer can pull out for any reason during this period. You do not have the same rights and from the point of signing the Offre d’achat you are bound to the buyer until the sale completes. It is normally at the point of the buyer signing the ‘compromis’ that the buyer has to forward a deposit paid into the notaire’s account which can be to up to 10% of the vendor price, but a lesser amount, or sometimes no deposit at all, can be agreed between the parties, depending on the situation of the buyer.

The sale will be subject to legal conditions which must be fulfilled for the transfer of ownership to occur. These correspond to the various checks which are carried out by your notaire as part of the process of sale to insure there are no obstacles to the sale, and no factors which could diminish the buyers’ enjoyment of the property.

During this process if any new element is revealed which devalues or changes the property, or indeed makes it improper for its destined use, then the buyer could claim to have a valid reason to pull out of the purchase. For this reason, an Estate Agent should endeavour to bring any such elements to the buyer’s attention at the time of the compromis to ensure they are fully informed. Therefore the vendor must be extremely thorough in the information you declare to any buyer and to ensure he is formally informed of any drawbacks that you are aware of. Remember you are the best person to know your property and do have an important legal responsibility towards the buyer.

Other special conditions to the sale can be negotiated between the parties and be included in the contract.

If a buyer requires a mortgage to purchase your property, French law allows them at least 30 days to receive an agreement, although we generally allow a timescale of 45 to 60 days in the contract as this is more realistic. If a loan is refused, the buyer must justify this with 2 formal bank refusals that match the details of the loan mentioned in the contract (i.e. borrowed amount, timescale for repayments etc.) There are no penalties for the buyer. The buyer has the obligation to be in a position to justify to you the steps he is carrying out in the loan application process.

Surveys

It is compulsory for the vendor to have the following diagnoses carried out on the property:

  • Performance Energetique or DPE – This survey is compulsory for advertising the property. It looks at the energy efficiency of the property, concentrating on levels of insulation, window types (double/single glazing), heating system, renewable energy systems. The report will give the house a rating from A-G on the condition that energy bills are provided (only for main residences) and list recommendations for improvements the new owner can consider in order to improve the energy efficiency of the property.
  • Amiante – this is the asbestos survey for houses built before 1997
  • Plomb CREP – this relates to levels of lead in old paintwork and is only compulsory for houses pre-dating 1949
  • Etat Parasitaire – This surveys the state of the woodwork and will be looking for wet rot, dry rot, woodworm, deathwatch beetle etc. It has a limited period of validity.
  • Technological, Mining and Natural risks – The buyer has to be formally informed as to whether the property is located in an area of such risks. It is also part of the vendor’s obligation to advise whether he knows of any insurance claims which would have be made due to such circumstances.
  • Sanitation – If you are on mains drains or have a septic tank already with a conformity certificate this may not be necessary, but otherwise the Commune will need to test your septic tank or main drains connexion to see if it conforms with regulations. If not, the buyer will have one year to conform. The sanitation control report is valid for 3 years.
  • Check of interior installation of gas – This is a safety report taken out on your fixed gas installation. Whether central heating or just gas hob
  • Check of electricity installation – This is also a safety check look at all aspect of the internal electricity installation.

These reports can all be carried out by the same specialised company (such as allodiagnostic) and must have valid insurance cover and the proper qualifications and certifications. It is important to remember that this is an opportunity to give the buyer valuable information about your property. Therefore, the choice of the technician is essential as it can offer an added value to your property for a buyer to have the opportunity to speak to this person directly if he has any concerns. Please ask if you wish for us to forward you a list of reputable businesses

Works

Should a property require any repairs, or if it has development potential, it is often a good idea for vendors to obtain quotes (devis) for these works, as it can reassure potential buyers, and help them consider how much to offer for a property.

If works have already been carried out at a property by registered and insured artisans, it can be a good idea for vendors to make the invoices (factures) available during a viewing, by leaving copies on a kitchen table for example.

Please Note:In France, buyers purchase their property ‘as seen’ in other words when they sign the Compromis de Vente they expect the property to be in a similar condition when the final Acte de Vente is signed approximately 3 months later.

Anything done to reduce the value of the property during that time could be considered a breach of contract on your side and result in them having the right to not complete. Generally, a property is sold with fixtures and fittings unless stated otherwise in the contract. So, if you have something particular that you wish to take with you, it must be declared to the Agency.

You also cannot leave furniture or other items in the property without the new owner’s consent. The property should be left in a clean condition and only with the pre-agreed inventory

You will also be asked at the time of the Compromis to sign a document stating that everything in the property, to the best of your knowledge, is in working order – that means plumbing, electrics, heating etc. If, on occupation, the new owner found a problem that had been deliberately hidden, they could take action against you.

Finally, we will check the property just before the Acte de Vente to ensure that it is in good order and you should insure general property and grounds maintenance is carried out until the keys are handed over.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget to cancel your house insurance – you be due a rebate if you have only had the insurance for a portion of the year.

You can arrange a 6 months mail redirect through the French Post Office.

You will receive a Tax Fonciere bill payable in October and this can be pro-rated between you and the new owners. The Tax d’Habitation bill is payable in November by whoever was in residence on the 1st January and is not able to be pro-rated

 

Information Provided By:

Agence Arguenon

Tel: 02 96 39 96 73

And

Bel Air Homes

Tel: 02 97 27 01 71

 

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