First house purchase in France

With respect my hackles rise when somebody yet again makes derogatory remarks about estate agents. As in all professions there are bad pennies but the reality is that most of us work very hard ironing out the many problems that arise during the negotiation and conclusion of a sale. We have to deal with many people such as yourself who always think they know better. This is particularly true of the British. The French are naturally more knowledgeable and respectful of the system and much easier to deal with. It works both ways.

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Having met many French estate agents during our house search I must say I thought many were pretty useless. I think it’s the non exclusivity and sharing the fee that acts as a disincentive to them investing too much time in a particular transaction. I suspect many are part time too.

Oops will repost

We have bought and sold here in 1992, 2001, 2004, 2009 2010, 2012 and 2016 and never a requirement for translator, perhaps a regional thing?
Didn’t speak French in 1992 and not exactly proficient now but passable. In all cases the agent we used spoke English so that must have satisfied any requirements.
We haven’t had any hiccups post sale or purchase and as already mentioned have used notaire for advice and document certification a number of times without charge although he does like our walnut oil!!

We used a UK solicitor who specialised in French property law when buying our first house, if your grasp of French isn’t great I don’t see the harm and is not that expensive.

The notaire has a responsibility to make sure there can be no comeback later on because someone didn’t understand what they were signing. So it is very common with transactions involving a non-native French speaker to require an official translator. It’s not about whether or not you can work out the meaning of the document, with or without help from a friend, but what would stand up in a court of law if there was a problem.

Some notaires are less inclined to require this, but in reality if they have any doubt about your understanding of French then they should insist. Same with many doctors who speak english, but won’t use it as it adds a level of responsibility that they don’t want to take.

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I have just purchased a house in France. Due to covid restrictions, we gave the notaire power of attorney, the seller who was resident in France was not present and a translator was obviously not required. We received the Attestations de Vente via email on the morning of the sale.

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That is my experience, as well, in my house buyings.

Peter please could you add your surname. Using our full names is a requirement of this site. Thank you.

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Likewise, bought and sold over half a dozen places but nobody has ever talked about needing a translator, all bar one transaction were private too. Bought comercial and fond de commerce too but that’s another ball game but again no translators ever been mentioned. In fact we’re talking about interpretors rather than translators but I won’t go into that (spoken -v- written translation).
However, if you don’t speak French then it’s obviously a good idea!
I think the whole estate agent thing is cultural. I worked for several years as an estate agent in the UK and was offered a job here too. Agents do the same job but very differently and it is easy to see why Brits find them not up to their expectations. They simply have a different way of working here, once you understand that it makes life much easier. Oh and over half of all sales are done privately without an agent here in France, 90% of all my transactions here were private, this makes agents very wary about giving away details of houses until you’ve signed a bon de visite for very good reasons!

Thornber

That’s interesting John and I notice it’s other peoples’ experience too. It could well be regional although I think Jane’s suggestion that it may be down to the individual notaire is extremely likely, since nothing of the sort was mentioned once the notaire got to know us.
(And @Andrew_Hearne - you are of course right about the interpreter/translator difference. In my defence, most of it seemed to be translating a written document but of course all the ancillary discussion was also translated…or interpreted :smiley: )

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It is compulsory to go through a Notaire when dealing with properties in France. They collect “the frais de Notaire” on behalf of the government. If you went through an estate agent, they should be able to advise you.

I don’t know what part of France you are in, but we bought our house in Brittany Through Mayer Immobilier in Huelgoat. Sylvie Mayer is the hardest working person I have ever met. Nothing was too much trouble and she helped us through every step of the purchase. When we went to the Notaire in Poullaouen she came with us and translated anything the Notaire could not. The whole prccess went without a hitch, and everything was explained.
So I thoroughly recommend Mayer Immobilier and Notaire Martin Rafray - Le Gohic in Poullaouen to anyone looking to buy in the Huelgoat area

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we are in a similar position, we had met the estate agent pre lockdown while house hunting and felt after meeting Marc that he seemed trustworthy from the off, we speak about as much french as Dell Boy at the minute and were struggling with google translate, after asking about translators his boss contacted us and offered to translate the main points of the paperwork and has since found that the property next door has drainage rights to our mains connection which he is helping us get removed from the property and deeds before we continue to the compromis, lets hope our good experience continues as we too are completing online with the notaire being power of atourney

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Vachement courageux :slightly_smiling_face:

That’s a lot of work (and stamp duty) John.

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I forgot 2008!!
Feathering the nest and all successful projects.
In amongst the dates is our current home of 10 years and hopefully will be for many years to come.

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Hi Robin. I found an English speaking Notaire, which was really useful as there are so many documents to get together to sell your property, the complexities of which are mind boggling compared to selling a house in the UK. Also the Notaire is really just a functionary to ensure the process is properly followed, not your interests protected. Good luck.

I used to be John but as I’m getting older not so much,I think my nerves will be shot before completion

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