Top 5 Tips to Consider when buying a property in the Alps
Buying a property in the Alps for some people is exciting and an experience they relish, but for others it can be daunting, particularly if this is your first time buying overseas. So to help we have put together some top tips to bear in mind.
1. Do your Research
It is important to know where you want to purchase and what elements are important to you and your family. Do you want a long season, where you can well into late Spring, do you want to be close to an Airport, to allow for a quicker transfer time, is a dual season resort, that is active both Winter and summer of importance ? Depending on the answer to these questions will help you narrow down, the resort or resorts that interest you and the size of budget required to purchase in this area.
2. Set your budget
This might sound like a simplistic statement, but possibly one of the most important points to consider when starting your search. Being clear on how much you have to spend, will allow you to frame what you are looking for in terms of location and size of property, it will also ensure the agents and sellers take you seriously in terms of you being a serious buyer. It is also worth speaking to a Foreign Exchange Broker at this stage to see if there is an advantage in ‘forward buying’ Euros, as this could allow you to increase your budget.
3. Additional costs to consider
As well as the cost of the property, you also need to budget for notaire’s fees, which will vary between 2.5% to 7%, depending on if you are purchasing a new or resale property and paying cash or taking out a mortgage. On top of this, there will be two annual property taxes, Taxe Fonciere and Tax D’habitation.
At this stage, depending on your own personal situation, it is worth taking tax advice, to ensure a structure is put in place which means you will not liable for French wealth tax, which may include, but not be limited to, taking out a French Mortgage. It is recommended to do as much pre-planning as possible, to allow you to move forward on the right property when you find it.
4. Understand the Market
Those selling their property in France have learnt the art of patience during this last period of economic downturn and recognise that whilst the UK economy is showing encouraging signs of improvement, the same cannot be said for France. Therefore most vendors are in no rush to sell, but equally most recognise the incentive currently in place, where there is a reduction in Capital Gains on those properties sold before September 1st 2014, making vendors consider reasonable offers, but not at any price.
5. How to make an offer
Once you have found the property you want to purchase, firstly agree a verbal offer, either directly or through your chosen agent. There is likely to be a period of negotiation before you agree the final purchase price. Once the price is agreed, the first contract, called a ‘compromis de vente’ is drawn up . Once this has been signed by both parties, there is a legal 7 Day cooling off period, where you can withdraw and not lose your 10% deposit. The final contract, the ‘Acte de Vente’ will be signed between 8 to 12 weeks later, at this point you become legal owner of the property.
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