Nightmare house sale

I was a user of this site until I moved back to the UK a few years ago. I kept my home in the Aveyron as a holiday home until I decided to sell last year. I had people interested and in October 2016 I received an offer, which I accepted. I approached the Notaire through whom I purchased the property some years previous asking them to Act on my behalf. I signed a Proposition d’Achat with the Agents on November 7th. I assumed that everything was fine and time ticked by.
Things didn’t seem to be progressing and in February 2017 I visited the Notaire and signed a Procuration de Vente. During this time I had heard nothing from the Notaire. There had been a discussion with the agent regarding the sale of Furniture at the property (The property consisted of a farmhouse and gite,both fully furnished). Having weighed up the cost, I ruled out travelling and collecting the furniture. some I sold at a Vide Granier, the majority I agreed to sell to the buyer for a ridiculously low figure.
I will be the first to admit that my grasp of the French language is not the best.
It turned out that when I signed the Proclamation I also agreed that the furniture was ‘included’ in the house sale! OK I will have to take that on the chin, however I repeatedly contacted the Agent and Notaire asking ‘Who had asked for the furniture to be included in the price’ despite many requests no-one has responded to that question.
The Notaire advised me that the Compromis de Vente had been signed on the 20th February. I still wanted answers relating to the inclusion of the furniture in the sale. More emails were sent, the question was not answered. In early March I received an email saying that if I continued to ask about the furniture they would annul the sale and I would have to pay the 10%!
I decided to let things continue and will be making a complaint to the Chamber of Notaires after the sale.
I have heard nothing from the notaire since. I received an email yesterday from the purchasor informing me that the Acte de Vent will take place on the 16th June. I contacted the Notaire by email, who replied surprise, surprise, stating that they were about to contact me. There followed a further email from the notaire saying I must attend with a court approved interpreter! I am sure this will cost many Euros. I have replied to the Notaire, stating that I have signed a Procuration, they represented me when I purchased the property and when I sold another property, they didn’t ask for an interpreter then why now?
So it continues . . . . .

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Yes sorry ‘procuration’, I have changed it in the original text. Thank you for pointing that out.

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Hello there…being an agent myself based in the Aveyron I’d love to hear in which area your house was. Sounds like the whole business was handled less than professionally by both buyer, agent and Notaire. Sadly not unique in this day and age. With regards to the traducteur assermenté the notaire is within his / her right and the cost can be as much as €250 if not more. They have to be registered on the list issued by the courts in the Aveyron.
If you want to pick my brain, I’m happy to answer your questions. Good luck!

I’m a bit confused.

So is the problem, essentially, not the fact that the furniture is part of the deal but that the “ridiculously low figure” has not been added on to the purchase price?
Was a specific figure agreed on or did you just agree in principle to accept a “peppercorn” amount? If it really is a ridiculously low figure, is it worth the candle?
Also I’m not clear who exactly you authorised to act on your behalf, was it the estate agent?
Presumably you have a copy of the compromis even if you didn’t sign it? If so it should be clearly stated in that exactly what is included in the sale.

Hi, I don’t want to go into figures. The furniture was of good quality. It filled a three bedroom house and Gite. we agreed an amount which I of course assumed that I would be getting in addition to the sale of the house.
The point is that I have asked the Agent and the Notaire on numerous occasions who authorised it to be included in the sale (It wasn’t me!) neither will respond to the question. In any case, within the compromis de vente the furniture is listed at three time the price we agreed!

No I wasn’t asking for figures - just asking if a specific figure was agreed upon!
Sorry but I’m even more confused now.
Surely the person who authorised it to be included in the sale=the person who signed the compromis=the person you authorised to act on your behalf, because who else it have been. The person who signed the agreement, authorised that agreement. So there shouldn’t really be any need to ask the question AFAICS. Was this in fact the estate agent?
But I’m obviously missing something very basic here because as I understand it, you agreed to sell the furniture to the buyer, and isn’t that exactly what’s been done? And if it’s listed in the sale agreements at three times the price agreed then that’s good from your point of view if CGT is going to be an issue, because the value specified for the furniture will be deducted from the price of the property for the CGT calculation (am I right on this?). So, is the problem that the price you agreed on the property hasn’t been adjusted at all to reflect the furniture?

French law is very specific on how the sale of furniture together with a property has to be processed and your notaire sounds to me to have done it correctly UNLESS the price you agreed on for the furniture is not reflected in the total amount you will receive - which is what I’m not clear about.

It is very usual for the notaire to overvalue the price of the furniture in the total selling price, because the buyer doesn’t have to pay tax over that part of the price. It seems to me that by giving a procuration to the notaire, you’ve practically given him the right to act in your behalf. This means he could sell the house with the furniture for a low price to a good friend, and turn around and sell it for the real value. Never trust anybody in real estate.
By the way they have no right to put the blame on you for the sale not going through just because you keep asking who authorised the inclusion of the furniture in de selling price.

Hi Anna,
the buyer agreed to buy the property at a certain price. At that time we
had not even discussed furniture. We later discussed the price of the
furniture which was separate to the price of the house. Therefor I was
expecting to get the price of the house AND the price of the furniture.
However they have included the furniture in the price of the house. I never
asked for that and they will not tell me upon whos authority they did it.
It could be theirs or the Agent. Does that make it a little clearer?

Hello Keith,
Having worked in an estate agents I would suggest it would seem highly likely that the instruction for property furniture contents be included in the sale price would have come from the estate agent’s office. Any particulars regarding the sale - such as the value of a fitted kitchen so it can be deducted from the sale price thus reducing the notary’s fees (even if only marginally) etc. have to be communicated to the notary’s office by the estate agent for them to be included in the preliminary (and later) sales agreement. Hope this helps.

PLEASE tell me the name of your Notaire so that I never get near him/her. His comportment sounds unprofessional, at least from the point of view of communicating clearly and openly with you.
I am so sorry this has happened to you…it is not fair and you deserved not only a hint or foresight from the “professionals” helping you, but honesty in place of using the ‘translation’ or the “10%” or the “annulation” as threats.

for your information, I have now engaged a solicitor to look into the whole
issue for me. It has indeed progressed since my last post. Despite written
assurances from the Agent who claims to have had an assurance from the
notaire, A Hussier appeared on the day and seized a fair amount of money
from the sale on behalf of another agent despite us having documentary
evidence to disprove their claims. Also I was never served any papers for
the tribunal so was unaware of the hussiers involvement until the day!
As this is now going through a legal process I shall withold the names of
the agent and Notaire until I have some definitive result. Providing the
outcome is as I anticipate, I shall not hesitate to name and shame them.

Hi Keith,

I’m glad you are moving in the direction of justice in this case. Please let me know the outcome.

Malana and I stay from time to time in a home in a village near Rodez. We did not engage a sales agent, except for the agent that was representing the sellers. He made many assurances concerning the condition of the property, the sellers intention of cleaning and emptying it, and errands he would run on our behalf to get ready for the purchase. He did none of those…the house was left with furniture we did not want, and was so dirty it required a deep clean that took a very long time. So, I would not mind telling people they might have a similar negative experience if they use Jean-Stephane VILAIN of the agency Selection Habitat based in Rodez, Aveyron. “Very nice guy”, by the way – just inept.

Also, we used a notaire recommended by the sales agent, whom I would also caution people to avoid. He too was a “very nice person”, but also inept due to poor communication turnaround and followup. I am providing his name in case anyone wants advice on whom to avoid: Maitre Julien LACOMBE, based in Septfond 82240 (Tarn et Garonne).

I would be happy to counsel any Americans undertaking a move from the US to Aveyron, since I went through the process from the home search to purchase, from business incorporation to immigration paperwork and automobile licensure…

Take care and best of luck.

L’impolitesse est l’imitation de force d’une personne faible.


strangely enough they were supposed to empty our house but when we came just before the sale so much junk left behind…

They did throw in a acre of fields behind the house though for a ridiculously low amount.

Hope you managed to get it sorted though