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Your FAQs answered – our exhibitors share their expert knowledge – part 2

Posted on 26 January 2023



Exhibitors from the French Property Exhibition share their expert knowledge with answers to some of your FAQs



What are the pros and cons of choosing a removals packing service over DIY?

Gary Burke of Burke Bros (Stand 3) replies:

Opting for a packing service from a removal company really eases the moving process. The mover can either pack fragile items (glass, china, mirrors etc) or the entire house. Professional packers are trained to complete the packing safely and within specified timescales using professional materials. If the customer opts to do their own packing, they often underestimate the time taken to pack and are surprised at how long it takes and how many possession they have accrued since they last moved.

We also advise for DIY packing to invest in proper packing materials: bubble wrap, packing chips and packing paper. It’s not worth cutting corners. (Most removal companies sell these items and if you need to move specialist items, eg valuable paintings, the mover should also be able to supply picture sleeves or make bespoke crates at further cost for extra protection and reassurance.)


What kind of property designs do you offer and is it easy to find building plots?

Rob Dixon of Villas in Languedoc (Stand 29) replies:

All our houses are of a traditional new-build style that fit in with the local region. Even though we have 10 set designs on our website that show both floor plans and 3D renderings, we can alter the designs to suit you. Alternatively, if you want a unique design to suit your individual requirements then we can design this for you too.

Finding land is the most difficult part of the process; there’s lots of land available, but it is mainly small plots on housing estates. Individual plots of land that have the ‘wow’ views and aren’t surrounded by mass estates take a bit more time and effort to locate. Finding the right combination of plot and builder is difficult, but having someone who can guide you through the whole process of land search, gaining planning permission and then building your house is key. Next year we are celebrating 40 years doing exactly this!


Understand the contract before you sign – Shutterstock

What buying tips can you give me?

Fabienne Atkin of Ashtons Legal (Stand 43) replies:

Be open in negotiations: If you need a mortgage to finance the purchase and/or if you would not consider buying unless you could affect certain works, make this clear to agent and seller, who could pull out if new information is added later on.

Understand the documentation: Obvious perhaps, but don’t rely on standardised translations, and do seek independent advice. The first contract is extremely important.

Consider a survey: The pre-contract inspection reports may tell you about the property, but they are limited. An independent structural survey will cost you more, but it may offer more reassurance.

Explore inheritance law and tax implications: This can be very complex. Ensure you understand it in full. Seek expert cross-border advice.

What removals advice would you offer?

Ben Franklin of Franklins Removals (Stand 51) replies:

Choose your removal company early on. Make a full list of goods to be moved. Declutter unwanted goods in advance. Start packing goods into boxes as early as possible. Think about which goods cannot be transported across international borders. Start gathering required customs documents (your removal firm will advise which are required). Check that access at collection and delivery addresses is suitable for the removal vehicle.

Any French language tips?

Kirsten Stroud of Le Cluzeau school (Stand 21)

Moving is stressful at the best of times, not just the physical upheaval, but understanding all the legal and technical terms can be overwhelming. Therefore, moving to another country and having to get to grips with the language in a short lapse of time can be daunting. This small list of essential French terms will help you navigate more easily through the process. Good luck!

Agent immobilier – Estate agent

Hypotheque/Credit immobilier – Mortgage

Offre d’achat – Making an offer

Compromis de vente – pre-sale agreement that includes a 10% deposit which can only be refunded if you retract within 10 days

Acte de vente – deed of sale


Who pays the agency fees?

Lyn Barker of ASI immo (Stand 15-17) replies:

Foreign clients often ask whether the seller pays the agency fees or the purchaser? A common misconception among purchasers is that when properties are advertised as ‘seller pays agency fees’, the purchaser gains. This is not the case, and it can be confusing. To simplify, the purchaser does pay the fees, as the advertised price comprises agency fees and the property price. Legally, the system doesn’t require that the two amounts be defined individually. The purchaser then also pays elevated notaire’s fees as they are calculated on the full amount advertised (including agency fees) and not just the property price. This system may be used by agencies to hide high fees.

However, when a property is advertised saying that the purchaser pays the fees, the agency is legally required to provide a breakdown of both property price and fees within the advert, giving full transparency of the individual amounts. Therefore, you only pay the notaire’s fees on the property price and not on the full advertised price which included the agency fees.

Don’t forget to register for free tickets to the French Property Exhibition on 28-29 January here.