FRANCE REAL ESTATE. Here is What You Need to Know About Real Estate in France

Annecy, France, France, Genève, Switzerland, Real Estate, Travel

FRANCE REAL ESTATE

Here is What You Need to Know About Real Estate in France
La belle France seems to have more than its fair share of good things—not least of which are food, wine, and haute couture. Whether you’re looking to move or retire to Europe, or simply plan an extended vacation, France should be at the top of your list of possibilities. It has all the ingredients that we at International Living look for: a good climate, unspoiled countryside, top-notch culture, excellent healthcare, colorful traditions and history, and, of course, the glitter and sophistication of Paris—arguably the world’s most bewitching capital. It’s not surprising that France is the world’s favorite destination, receiving in excess of 80.5 million overseas visitors each year.
If you’re in the market for European real estate, then you will find France real estate attractively affordable. France is a predominantly rural country, so if you have notions of restoring a cottage, a farmhouse, or even a château, there’s an ample supply of real estate for sale in France for you to choose from. The choice of properties in France selling for less than $100,000 is astonishing. And we’re not talking about just ruins and renovation projects.

France Has Plenty of Good-Value Real Estate…Don’t Rush In

The first rule is of buying real estate in France is: don’t rush in. Unless your heart is set on a home in the more popular areas of Provence, there are more than enough French castles, farmhouses, and village houses on the property market for everybody. The supply is not going to dry up suddenly, so take your time. Visit a range of different properties in France to get an idea of French real estate prices. Clearly, you want to get as much maison as possible for your dollar. And note: it’s quite acceptable to make an offer.
Away from the really high-profile areas, houses often sell for less than their listing prices. In France the business of conveyancing (the buying and selling of property), is handled by a notaire. A notaire is first and foremost a public official—not a lawyer—responsible for ensuring that all deeds are authentic and of incontestable value. You will have to appoint one to act for you. Because they are personally responsible for the contracts drawn up, they must be objective in the advice given and must act with impartiality toward the various contractual parties. Consequently, the same notaire often acts for both vendor and purchaser. Although engaging your own notaire isn’t strictly necessary, it is in your best interest.

France Real Estate Prices

The prices in France can run the spectrum, from glittering apartments in Paris that cost $20 million to fixer-upper stone village houses that cost less than $25,000. As with anywhere, real estate prices tend to directly correspond with the popularity of the region, town, or neighborhood. Naturally, real estate in large cities are usually more expensive than equivalent properties countryside or rural homes, and houses in the sunny south will inevitably cost more than those in the damp western coast. But, there are good value or even bargain homes to be found almost every region in France, even if it finding them may require patience.

France Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents (agents immobiliers) in France are strictly regulated. They must be in possession of a carte professionelle, which can be issued only by the agent’s local authority upon producing evidence that the immobilier has a minimum bond or guarantee with respect to the deposit of monies received from property buyers.
More than 8,000 French real estate agents belong to FNAIM (Fédération Nationale de l’Immobilier), a recognized professional body. FNAIM can provide you with a list of member agents in your chosen area. The organization’s website has a comprehensive list of agents as well as a database detailing properties available in any given area. The FNAIM network includes expat British real estate agents who have relocated to France. Obviously, the British house-buying system is not the same as that in North America, but these agents are used to answering questions—in English—about how the process works for buying real estate in France. Contact me to assist you in the international buying and selling process at: tinaewhittaker@gmail.com
If everything is new to you, and you’re unsure of your French language skills, these agents can help you open a bank account and get set up with gas, electricity, and telephone companies. French real estate agents can do the same, but not all speak English.

Buying Real Estate in France

Buying real estate in France is not a difficult process. In most cases, the procedure is completed within two to three months.
The agent will draw up an initial contract of sale, or a compromis de vente. Remember, unless you are completely au fait with the process, we recommend that you get your own lawyer and/or an independent notary to look it over before you sign it.
Although the compromis de vente is the most commonly used contract, there are other types of preliminary contracts also. It is vital you remember that there is no standard form so you must be sure about what you’re signing and be especially sure that it contains any necessary conditions suspensives.
These are conditions that, if not met, render a contract null and void and entitle the prospective purchaser to recover his/her deposit. For example, the preliminary contract could be conditional upon the prospective buyer being able to arrange a loan to purchase the property.
The promesse de vente and promesse d’achat are two other options, both of which constitute a commitment to sell or buy. In the case of both these contracts the other party is not legally bound. On the other hand, the compromis de vente is a binding agreement that fixes the price and obligates both the vendor and buyer to come to an eventual completion. However, with a promesse de vente or a promesse d’achat, buyers who decides to back out won’t lose their deposit, although they could be subject to a claim for damages. The same applies to vendors. If they pull out of the sale, they can be liable for compensation up to an amount equivalent to the buyer’s deposit.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Buying Property In France

Step 1: Hire Your Own Attorney
We strongly recommend that you engage your own lawyer and/or independent notary—one that speaks both English and French—to represent you throughout the purchase process. You may wonder why, when you’re already paying the government notary to handle the property conveyance. Although it’s not necessary, it is in your best interest. The only function of a government notary is to make sure that a sale is properly completed under French law.
As state officials, they are acting on behalf of both purchaser and seller. They are under no obligation to draw your attention to any potential problem areas. An independent French notary won’t cost you anything additional, as he will share the fees with the government notary. He will guide you through the paperwork and have all the legal documentation translated for you before you are required to sign anything.
Moreover, you need to be sure that you understand France’s inheritance laws before signing any legal documents. How you structure any contract (whether it is in a single name, joint names, or the name of a company) affects who inherits your property. Regardless of how you’ve formulated your North American will, don’t assume that your spouse—or anybody else—is going to be the beneficiary of your French property when you die. France’s complex inheritance laws date back to Napoleonic times and guarantee children (and sometimes parents) a share of the estate. A spouse has no automatic right of inheritance. There are ways around this, and a specialized lawyer can advise you.

Step 2: Sign an Initial Contract

The agent draws up an initial contract of sale, the compromis de vente. Remember, unless you are absolutely and clearly au fait with the process, we recommend that you get your own lawyer and/or an independent notary to look it over before you sign it. Although the compromis de vente is the most usual, there are other types of preliminary contracts. There is no standard form. Know what you’re signing, and be sure that it contains any conditions suspensives that may be deemed necessary. These are conditions that, if not met, render a contract null and void and entitle the prospective purchaser to recover his deposit. For instance, there are laws to ensure that the preliminary contract can be conditional upon the prospective buyer being able to arrange a loan to purchase the property.
The promesse de vente and promesse d’achat are options. These constitute a commitment to sell or buy, but, in each case, the other party is not legally bound. On the other hand, the compromis de vente is a binding agreement that fixes the price and obligates both vendor and purchaser to come to an eventual completion. However, with a promesse de vente or a promesse d’achat, a purchaser who decides to back out won’t lose his deposit…and may be subject to a claim for damages. The same applies to the vendor. If he pulls out, he can be liable for compensation up to an amount equivalent to the buyer’s deposit.

Step 3: Pay Your Deposit
When the compromis de vente is signed, the purchaser pays a deposit, usually 10% of the price of the property. This deposit is put into an escrow account, held by the notary or real estate agent. If paying cash, the contract is considered definitive. If you pull out, you lose your 10%. If you’re applying for financing, you have a maximum of 45 days to arrange a mortgage. If the bank refuses to lend you money, then the contract is null and void, and you get your deposit back. If, however, the bank accepts, then the conditions are the same as a cash buy.

Step 4: Notary Investigates Title

Once you’ve signed the compromis and paid the deposit, the notary gets down to business. Various searches are carried out relating to the freehold of the property. During this intermediary stage, you will be required to provide the notary with copies of your birth and (if relevant) marriage certificates.

Step 5: Sign the Deed

Once searches have been conducted and everything is judged to be in order, both purchaser and vendor are called to the notary’s office. The notary reads aloud (in French) the final deed of sale, the acte de vente. Both parties, as well as the notary, sign this deed. If you have given your notary or the real estate agent power of attorney (par procuration), he or she can sign on your behalf. You pay the balance, receive the keys, and become owner of the property. (Note that the balance monies are required to be in place before final sale day.)
You will be given a proof of ownership paper and, approximately six to eight weeks later, receive a copy of the deed once it has been recorded in the French administration system. The original document is kept at the notary’s office.
Once you’ve signed the final acte, you are responsible for the insurance of the buildings. This, by law, must include third-party liability insurance. You are responsible for paying local and land taxes (taxes d’habitation and taxes foncières). Taxes d’habitation are charged to the person occupying the property on Jan. 1st. Taxes foncières are charged to the person who owned the property on that same date. (Owners of new properties are exempt from taxes foncières for the first two years.)

French Real Estate
Taxes Transfer Tax

A transfer tax of 5.09% to 6.40% is levied on the sale of real estate, depending on the type, location and use of the property.

Government Tax

The French government charges a tax for registering a mortgage or loan on your property. The fee depends on the amount of the loan.

Property Tax

Annual property taxes consist of the taxe d’habitation (paid by owners-occupiers and most long-term rental tenants) and the taxe foncière (real estate tax). The calculation formula is quite complex and depends on a number of factors, including whether the property is your primary or secondary residence. Secondary residences are taxed at a higher rate. The taxe foncière is based on the notional rental value of the apartment. It takes into account the age of the building, the area of a city, and the size of a property. For example, a 215-square-foot studio in an older building in the Marais (3rd arrondissement) of Paris might be assessed at $205. The taxe foncière for a 535-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in an older building in the 5th arrondissement might be $240. For a small village house in mainland France, your combined bill for the taxe foncière and the taxe d’habitation will probably be around $500; for a larger house, around $1,000.
Apartment buildings in France are similar to co-operative and condo buildings in the States. You own your apartment but share responsibility for common parts of the building with other owners. There is a monthly copropriété (co-op) fee that pays for expenses involved in maintaining the building, common utilities (usually including water for all apartments), garbage collection, maintenance, etc. This charge runs approximately $120 per month for both of the above-mentioned Parisian apartments. Charges tend to be lower in provincial cities and towns. In Nice, monthly service charges for most one-bedroom apartments in good residences are mostly between $65 and $90.

Inheritance Tax

French inheritance tax is payable by beneficiaries. The rate is applied on the net value of the asset, after the deduction of liabilities, and any tax-free thresholds depend on the relationship between the beneficiary and the deceased. Spouses or couples in formal civil relationships are not subject to French inheritance taxes. However, there is an inheritance tax for lifetime gifts. In this case, a spouse’s tax-free allowance is currently €80,740 and €100,000 for parents and children. The balance in excess of the allowance is taxed at progressive rates from 5% up to a maximum of 45%. For more remote family members, and others, smaller allowances are given and higher rates of tax will apply.

Wealth Tax

As of January 2018, the old wealth tax system was abolished and replaced with a new one that only taxes real estate. Residents of France with worldwide property worth €1,300,000 or more is responsible for this new property wealth tax. Non-resident homeowners are only liable for property in France.
Homeowners with real estate valued less than €800,00 have a 0% tax rate. Real estate valued at between €800,001 and €1,300,000 have a 0.5% tax rate. From there, the rates increase progressively based on bands of property values, maxing out at a rate of 1.5% for properties over €10,000,000.

Rental Income Tax

Whether you reside in France or not, you will be liable for tax on any rental income earned from your French property. For tax residents of France, this is levied at regular income tax rates (see below). For non-residents, it will be a minimum of 25%.

Income Tax Rates

As of 2018, French income tax rates are:
• On income less than €9,807, the rate is 0%
• From €9,807 to €27,086, 14%
• From €27,086 to €72,617, 30 %
• From €72,617 to €153,783, 41%
• Above €153,784 the rate is 45%.

Capital Gains Tax on Property
If you sell your French property during the first five years of ownership, you will be liable for capital gains tax and social charges totaling 34.5%. A discount 6% per year on capital gains taxes is allowed starting after fifth year of ownership. After 22 years, you’re exempt from capital gain taxes, but will still be subject to social charges until you’ve owned the property for 30 years.

Ownership Issues In France

While perusing real estate ads, you may see some properties have what’s called a viager attached to the title. With a viager, you buy the property at sharply discounted rate, but the former has a lifetime interest in the property. In other words, you can’t reside on the property until former owner dies. While might turn out to be a good investment for some, it’s also risky. You may have heard of Jeanne Calment, a native of Arles. She made world headlines a few years back for a couple of reasons…
The first was her incredible longevity. When she died in 1997, she had reached the age of 122. But when she was 90, she had negotiated to sell her apartment “en viager.” It means “for life,” and this is how the deal worked: Monsieur Raffray, the man who bought Mme. Calment’s apartment, planned to move into it after her death. He also agreed to pay her 2,500 francs per month for as long as she lived. (At the exchange rate of the time, around $500.) He naturally assumed that he wouldn’t be paying the lifer for too long.
But Mme. Calment lived on…and on. In fact, Monsieur Raffray died at the age of 77, without ever occupying the apartment. In total, he had paid out what then equated to $184,000 in handouts to the old lady for a property he never got to live in. And his survivors were legally bound by the agreement. They still had to write Mme. Calment her monthly check.
“In life, one sometimes makes bad deals,” mused the cigarette smoking, foie-gras-eating Mme. Calment.

Transaction Costs When Buying Real Estate In France

In France, the buyer is typically solely responsible for all legal costs and fees incurred in relation to property transfers. These vary, depending on whether you buy a new home or an older property. It’s difficult to give an exact calculation of total costs, but generally, you can expect to pay 8% to 9% for a traditional village house or rural cottage, and 3% to 4% for a newly built house or apartment.

Legal Fees

Legal fees include not only the notary’s fees (frais de notaire), but also disbursements, taxes, various duties, as well as searches at the land and mortgage registry. In addition, sales tax may be payable for properties less than five years old where there has been no previous sale. The notaire’s fees are set by the government at 5.09% and 0.715% for properties less than five years old. Contacts on the ground in France have warned us that some notaires try to charge additional fees to English speakers. Obviously, you must expect to pay more than a French person if documents need translation, but determine what the fees are before you proceed.

Commission Charges
Commission charges are the fees

charged by the real estate agent for the purchase, and usually represent between 4% and 10% of the purchase price. French real estate agents are allowed to set their own commissions. This cost may be payable by the vendor or the purchaser—there is no standard practice—but in most instances, the purchaser is liable. Commission fees are often built into the selling price. Ask about this when you make initial contact with an agent and begin inspecting properties. You’ll want to know if you are liable for a real estate agent’s commission fee before signing any preliminary contract.
A point worth noting is that you can shave some euros off purchase costs by deducting the agency commission fee from the sale price and paying it directly to them. This will save on notaire costs. Say you have your eye on a $100,000 property. To make things simple, we assume the agent has included her 10% commission fee in this price and that the notaire will be charging 10% on top of that. You will be charged $110,000. However, pay the agent $10,000 and the notaire is left with 10% of $90,000. You’ve saved $1,000. This must be made clear before you sign the initial agreement.

If you are looking to work with a english speaking international Real estate professionnel to buy or sell real estate in Europe contact Tina Whittaker at tinaewhittaker@gmail.com
Article source https://internationalliving.com/countries/france/france-real-estate/

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How to complete the out of state South Carolina Real Estate license application!

Charlotte, Real Estate

How to complete the out of state Real Estate license application for South Carolina if you are a resident and licensed real estate agent in NC or in the process of getting your license in NC. I will give you my best tips for passing the SC State Exam as well!

Click title below for comprehensive how to video:

How to get your SC real estate license

Out & About with Tina: The Women of Paris Walking Tour experience! 

Out and About with Tina, Uncategorized

I had the pleasure of attending the Women Of Paris walking tour. I wanted to learn more about women writers in Paris. This tour showed me where the successful women writers of Paris lived and created. As a group, we also stopped for some sweet treats along the way. 

There were some amazing people in the group (more than a few)..but you know I keep it real. Heidi, The host and founder of the tour company Women in Paris was informative and knowledgeable about the history, which I enjoyed. However, she made one or three chummy jokes at my expense and she didn’t get a Trip Advisor review from me. Although I still do recommend the amazing tour, it was all in European humor and fun… I guess what goes around comes around because we had a child psychologist from Vancouver in the group, I jokingly asked her for an impromptu therapy session. The joke did not go over well and the child Dr. And her friend literally did not talk to me for the rest of the tour😂Thank God there were some cool people with a good sense of humor in the small group, like Tom and Angela, the newlyweds from Seattle. Tom works in real estate and awesome Angela is an attorney with great colorful hair. We have since kept in contact via Facebook! Last but not least in the group my spirit twin and buddy, Wonjeung!!!  from South Korea, who is a student studying computer science. Wonjeung and I ran around Paris all day after the tour and it was good to run the streets and talk about our Paris experience. We still keep in contact online and send holiday cards! 

Now that you have all the group dynamics, here are all the accomplished women that were discussed on the walking tour and the places we visited for our snacks. I’ve included some pictures of the tour below! 
Women Writers of Paris:

The brilliant Simone de Beauvoir and her daring activism,

The radical Antoinette Fouque and her Editions des Femmes,

The scandalous Colette and her struggle for independence, 

The rebellious George Sand and her cross-dressing liberalism,

The benevolent Sylvia Beach and her love of literature…

Eateries:

Popelini Chou à la créme / Meert Waffle / Un Dimanche à Paris Macaron / Pierre Marcolini Chocolate / La Tarte Tropézienne Baby Trop 

Random picture of something Parisian

Wonjeung at Meert! 

Tom in the window!!

Hilarious Heidi 


Top 5 Tips on How Not to Annoy a Real Estate Agent (but no agent will tell you)

Real Estate

Okay, we Realtors/Real Estate Agents understand how not to annoy our clients. We know what makes clients happy. Y’all love Realtor’s to respond promptly to you, be on time, don’t be a pushy salesman, know the market well and be the first to get you the new hottest listings and sell your house swiftly at or over market value . We know! But these tips are for Y’all this time. Here are tips for buyers & Sellers on how not to annoy your Realtor!!

1. Free Home Sightseeing Field Trips

If you know you’re not in the market to buy a house do not ask a real estate agent to show you houses. Any experienced and successful agent will qualify a buyer appropriately. A Pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender is the best resources we have to ensure customers are a ready and able buyer. If you know you don’t want to buy now start by visiting open houses in your area to get an idea of what’s available on the market. Asking a Realtor to show you houses if you have no intention of buying a house is like nails to a chalkboard to a real estate agent’s ears. To be clear it’s like showing up to a job interview without a resume. We don’t know if you’re qualified. It’s like your boss coming to your desk and saying we don’t want to pay you right now but we want you to keep working and if we decide to pay you we will let you know when the time is right. I can imagine the look on anyone’s face if their boss actually said that out loud.

Let’s say you are on the fence about homeownership but you still want to look at some houses. Let’s say you fall in love with a house a Realtor showed and you ask your Realtor to put in an offer for you. A strong offer includes proof of funds I.E. a Pre-approval letter. Even if you are confident you can afford the house your offer most likely will be turned down over another offer that already includes proof of funds. Perhaps you really fall in love with a house and you don’t know if you can afford it but you’ve seen the house and you have to have it now. By the time you are able to get pre-approved in this market the house will most likely already be under contract with another buyer who was more prepared. Let’s say you love a house that’s out of your budget in a neighborhood you can’t afford, then any house after that won’t be good enough and you’ll be clinically depressed.

On the other hand, If you want to buy a house but you don’t know if you are financially able to buy, or you are not sure how much you can afford a Realtor can help you with a solution(in advance) of your first home visit. A Realtor can connect you with a mortgage broker if you don’t already have one. A good mortgage broker will be able to tell you if you can afford a home, which type of loan is best for you, how much house you can afford and what your potential monthly payment might be, based on the current interest rate. Ask the mortgage broker how much you can qualify for and get a pre-approval letter. If you are pre-approved then you’re ready to start looking at houses with a Real Estate Agent!

2. A Realtor’s Work is Never Done?

False! Guess what, we got lives. It doesn’t mean we won’t do our best to get ahead of any issues and answer you promptly but let’s put this in perspective, no one will crash and burn if agents answer their emails only during business hours.  I know you buyers and sellers don’t want to hear this but some of us agents have families, other clients, friends, and travel plans. It is buyers and sellers etiquette to ask what hours your real estate agent typically works and stick to that, as any professional with good boundaries do not work 24 hours.

3. Be Loyal 

Before I was a Realtor I had no idea it was wrong to work with two agents. Now it seems so clear but I just assumed whoever found the house or was able to sell the house I wanted would be my agent. Wrong.  Realtors put a lot of work upfront to find the perfect house or sell your house for you and if one weekend you decide to work with another agent because your Realtor was in a meeting it shows no consideration or loyalty. We don’t like those types of customers. The best thing to do is sign a buyer’s agency with your agent as this protects you in the long run. This agreement is simply an agreement that says your Realtor represents you and has your best interest at hand otherwise the agent represents the other side by law and has to disclose anything you tell them to the other side. Protect yourself and sign or else don’t say anything about finances or share personal confidential information.

4.You Get What You Pay For!

If you’re buying a house it comes to a surprise to many you’re realtor is free of charge to you! Yes the sellers pay the realtors commission in the current market. However if you are a seller do not ask for a discount unless you want discounted services. What you may not know is agents do a lot to ensure your home closes smoothly (on the buying or selling side). Keep in mind Realtors don’t have a salary or get paid until the end of the transaction(Unless of course they charge a retainer fee which is done in some states) However, our job is not done at the closing table good agents follow up and keep in touch to make sure clients are enjoying their new home. Agents put time effort, heart, and resources in every transaction in advance. In addition, we split our commission with our agency and the other side as well. The final number we receive is not what it appears to be in the closing disclosure. If we are selling your home, for example, we are doing the job of many people including but not limited to an in-house therapist, planner, marketing and selling VP and we act as a Bill Clinton top-level negotiator, researcher, driver, measurements specalist, and caretaker just to name a few of our responsibilities.

For those of you who still don’t see whats wrong with asking your agent for a discount Here’s another quick example to put this in perspective of why it is improper to ask your Realtor for a discount, if your boss came to your desk (again) and said I need you to work on this special project but we don’t want to pay you a full salary because we can’t afford to, it would take too much out of our bottom line. However, we want you to work the same amount of time and effort for less money and we want you to find someone to buy our product while you work on a discounted salary. Would that be okay with you? No! and you will lose respect if you abide. According to the national association of Realtors, Ninety percent of sellers listed their homes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the number one source for sellers to list their home. In Charlotte, it was 94 percent.  The best way to sell your home is to list your home on The MLS that only Realtors have access to. Working with a Realtor is the best way to have a smooth closing and receive the best value for your home.

5. Put Some Respect On It

Don’t mistake your Google search for my Real Estate license! Just-said-it!  Put some respect on it!! Be informed but don’t be a know it all. Remember Realtors are on your side we want you to have the home of your dreams and help you to make the most profit on your home that the market will allow. We work hard for you. Again please respect us, be kind thoughtful, have a great attitude and ask questions if you don’t understand.

Lastly, don’t forget us! The way Realtors make a living is mostly through referrals so if you did have a good experience with your Realtor tell everyone you know about your positive experience. Tell your friends family, neighbors, Facebook friends, co-workers, and church members, for God’s sake. Don’t forget to write a 5-star review for your agent on any online platform you use including  Google, Yelp, Zillow etc.

If you stick to these tips most likely you won’t annoy your Realtor! No promises.