Wednesday, June 15, 2011

buying real estate in france - Help for the American buyer - part one

I hope you saw the House Hunter's International episode on HGTV that aired this past Sunday. Real estate expert, Adrian Leeds worked with a couple in Normandy. I really enjoyed the episode and the beautiful homes.

Adrian & I emailed back and forth for about a week or so trying to come up with a convenient time for our interview. With her schedule, my job and the 9 hour time difference between here and France I thought we would never figure this out. In the end I explained the questions to her and she was gracious enough to provide the following information for the blog.

I will post it in three parts

Part One -  Purchase Process

In a conversation with a client just last night, I compared purchasing a property in France with having a baby. When you first learn the news, it can be frightening to think that in only a few months down the road, you'll have this little person to love and take care of that perhaps you didn't feel all that prepared for! You start to think of all the things that must be done in time for the big event -- and it becomes overwhelming.

Buying a property in a France is the same. Everyone with whom we have ever worked started out frightened of the process...until they realized that if they just took it one day at a time, step by step, in the end, they will have made all the right decisions and after all is said and done, 'given birth' to this new investment that they are sure to love and cherish as long as they like.

To alleviate your fears, to those of you who are about to embark on the adventure of purchasing a property in France and haven't yet had the experience, should get to know what it takes to go from 'point A' (first getting financing) to 'point Z' (walking away with the keys).

Here's what you can expect:

Get Financing
The very first thing you should do is set up financing. There are many lenders from which to choose and each has several loan products that will interest you. If you have 'pre-approval in principle' -- then you will know your budget in advance and have the necessary security with which to make the purchase and quell the fears of the seller.
You can find more information about this at frenchproperty/loan/ or contact John

Find the property

From recent experience here in Paris in particular, there is so little good property on the market that properties worth purchasing are selling within literally minutes. You must be prepared to make an offer virtually the moment you see it, and in most cases, offer the full asking price, to ensure that it won't be sold to the next person who walks in the door to visit it. (The sellers are morally obligated to accept asking price!)

You may think this is a joke, but we've had too many such situations, where the buyer hesitated for only a few hours and lost the property for exactly those reasons. This is an excellent time to buy, if you can find the right property -- as interest rates are still very low (around 3%) and the U.S. dollar to euro rate of exchange is relatively favorable.

Prices in central Paris have risen about 20% this past year, the result of the demand outweighing the supply. We find that you must have enough clout to be the first to see a property (or soon after), to even have a chance to make an offer, if it's a property worth purchasing.

To have that kind of clout, it helps to work with property finders/consultants (such as our team) who work exclusively for the buyer, and take no commissions from the agencies. The agencies therefore, are quick to contact the consultants first when new properties come across their desks, as they bring with them qualified clients without the work and effort required when working with unrepresented buyers.

(For more information on property search and consultation, visit
Once the property is found, which of course can be an arduous task of looking at many options, here's what you can expect the process to be:
part two tomorrow 



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rather be in paris