…or an apartment, manoir, smallholding, chateau or gite…
Whichever category your French property falls into, or whether it is something else entirely, we want to help you make the most of marketing what can be your biggest asset. So, at the time of year which traditionally signals the start of the property hunting season here are some ideas to help you sell your French property:
Unless you are selling a renovation project it needs to look well maintained, straightforward and easy to run. A buyer must not be frightened off at the thought of costly maintenance, structural problems on the horizon or something that is going to be time consuming or expensive to live in. So:
· Attend to routine maintenance
· External woodwork should be recently painted
· A fresh coat of neutral colour paint inside if rooms look tired
· Outside cut the grass and prune trees and shrubs, and keep them that way
· A load of fresh gravel on the drive or parking area gives the area outside of your house a relatively inexpensive lift
A buyer must be able to imagine themselves living there surrounded by their own possessions, so you want your house to look as light, spacious and neutral as possible.
· Get rid of all of the junk you have been meaning to recycle for ages
· Clean out cupboards, tidy and streamline bookcases and shelves
· Pack away as many personal effects as you can bear to be without
· Neutralise colour schemes and minimise patterns wherever possible
So does the price
It is very hard to accurately gauge the true value of your own house, and well-meaning friends don’t always understand the true state of the property market, so
· get several valuations (you may be very surprised at the variations in valuation you are given). Places to go to for a valuation include local and national estate agencies, notaires (particularly if probate is involved), our own E-valuation service and independent web sites such as www.immoprix.com and www.meilleursagents.com/prix-immobilier/
· if you are dealing with an estate agent, make sure you understand the mandate. Mandates are binding contracts and they vary – has the agent included their commission in the selling price? Are they trying to penalise you if you sell privately? Are they asking for exclusivity? How long are you contractually obliged to use them for and how do you bring that obligation to a close?
· Make sure you are happy with the price you finally decide to put your house on the market at – don’t be browbeaten or flattered into making the wrong decision.
A picture speaks a thousand words
The importance of photographs cannot be overstated. You can get them taken professionally but as a homeowner with a smartphone you can usually do a perfectly good job yourself. Remember – you own the copyright of photographs you have taken or commissioned and can use them as you want. If an estate agent takes them they are theirs – and you need their permission to use them.
· The “hero” shot (or lead photo) is your most important marketing tool. It is the bait that first hooks the fish and so has got to be right for the job.
· Consider your property’s best angle. This need not be the facade…it could be an architectural feature or something which sums up the character and charm of your French home. This is one of our most successful “hero” shots at the moment. The house being sold is a town house in a wine producing region and this picture sums up why many people want to move there:
· The hero shot does, of course, need to be backed up by other photos which tell the wider story of your property but still leave something further to be discovered by an interested buyer.
You need to kiss a lot of frogs…
………before you find your prince.
As a rule, French property takes much longer to sell than British, for example. We do sell property in a month (or two) of taking it onto our books, but everyone knows of property which has been on the market for several years and one to two years is not an unreasonable time to allow for selling your house, even if you have the price, presentation and photographs absolutely right. The fact is that there is a lot of property around and the dynamics of the French housing market are different to elsewhere. To maximise your chances of a sale:
· Make sure you have the correct paperwork to hand and that it is up to date
· Deal with all enquiries about your house for sale promptly and honestly - and keep records of who has seen your house, a summary of their visit and how they found it in the first place.
· Be professional – showing people around your house is a skill and there are tips and techniques which can make a viewing much more likely to result in a sale.
…Be patient – Buyers can take a long time to materialise and then make up their minds. The legal process is slow and can be frustrating. Remember you bought your house didn’t you. And, sooner or later, so will someone else.