Putting house on market but moving before sale

A friend suggested to me that you can't get the utility meters read until you have actually agreed a sale of the property - is this true.

I will be putting up our house for sale this month but intend moving at the beginning of October and not allowing viewers until we have left. With packing up and having a disabled OH and a small house, I decided it was too much hassle to have viewers arriving (I should be so lucky, perhaps) and treading over the boxes etc.

John, not moving tends to lead to a more parochial outlook. I don’t think that is controversial, just a statement of fact.

I see that you haven’t packed your spade, you’re digging yourself into a deeper hole. The final paragraph in your first post cannot be misread.
I’m not sure what people staying local to their place of birth has to do with anything. Most of my friends in Britain, France and Germany live in the area where they went to school, there is nothing strange or wrong with that.

Yes, sorry it is Vero, just as we often say ex-pats or Brits as a generalisation. I did only say some Brits, which Wasn’t meant as no french!
I know both expat and French people who have said or done something thing that wasn’t very practical at the time, myself included on occasion.

Organised indoors I’m definitely not now, but do also have to try to be both pragmatic and practical when circumstance makes it necessary.

Retiring here to France from UK in 2008, has given me more time and opportunity to know and be involved with younger and older French, most of whom have never moved far from, if at all, their place of birth. Also 6 yrs. of owning a holiday property in the Aude, before retirement in the Herault

If you had read my reply properly you would have seen I only said as some ex-pats. With exception of the Aude, everywhere has been rural - mountain and countryside, none of them expat communities, but all French inhabitants with some unknown till arrival, occasional visiting expat holiday home owners. I have got involved in local village life, (my 4th department experience here, I am on local village comite des fetes, 2nd one I’ve joined, so yes I said what I did with good reason. My moves have all also been for logical and practical reasons, marital and health.

I was not slighting ALL French, wouldn’t dream of it, pragmatic as they are, it’s a shame you should have read my reply the way you did! I stand by my comments to Doreen, who also has lived here a long time with her husband, she was replying to comments from an apparently ex-pat couple who had maligned her. We all get older and hopefully wiser!

Bien dit.

'The French' is a bit of a generalisation, don't you think? Some of us are impractical and disorganised and some of us aren't. Same as anywhere else, really. You could look at the way I do things & if it isn't the way you do them you might think think I'm not organised and that it isn't practical but you would be very wrong, - practical and organised are very subjective. Most of us (French people) simply don't have the time to be other than practical and organised.

Plenty of practical people around here, just what I’d expect to find living in the countryside, whatever the country.

I feel you're a bit harsh on the French. I have always found the ones I've had the pleasure to meet extremely practical and pragmatic. Maybe it's because I work with self-employed winegrowers to whom being practical is a matter of survival.

It is sure that when one moves to a foreign country one has to adapt at many levels in a short period of time.

Have a nice day.

Good for you Doreen, you said it as it is in your circumstances and I notice John and Vicki Marsh couldn’t even be bothered to apologise for their incorrect assumptions!

If only the French were as practical and organised as ‘some’ expats! Practicality is not something I’ve come across too much here, given I’ve lived in or rented a few different places now!

Stick to your guns girl :slight_smile:

That sounds ok, I know we have radiators and needed to keep a minimum temperature. We chose not to drain the radiators because of the problem of getting the system going again in Spring when we were only using the house for holidays.
I hope your move back to UK goes well.

At the end of the day you still own the property, if it is empty or not you have a supply to it via water and electricity. On normal conditions we buy a house as we sell ours, you need to cut of the water as no longer required so no on going charges. The electricity needs to be connected as you may require lights at a cost, houses in France as you know can take years to sell so there will be an on cost as most people have not got the ability to sell there house before selling theres .Why do people complain about costs when quite simple you pay for what you use a typical British way of winging or pleading poverty.

Doreen, surely you will need the electricity on during the colder days. If you have not sold the house it could be much cheaper to have the electricity on to run your thermostat than have burst pipes and all the consequent damage.?

Every rented place I have moved to Doreen, on viewing, the electricity was off, all viewed in daylight, so shutters and windows opened by Immo or in this case landlady. On leaving I did the same, read the meter with Proprietors or Immo there to agree, and phoned EDF with reading. My bill was sent and contract with finished as of date of leaving. Ownership had nothing to do with it.

Prior to moving in, I also phoned EDF to confirm was leaving? /moving to?. I assume you will leave set old property keys with an Immobilier. Presumably No prospective purchaser will be viewing alone, but will be accompanied!

If it works with a vacated rental property no reason why not with a property for sale. Make sure water heater is turned off as well as mains switch! The other thought is that EDF may switch off their supply to meter also, water supply the same, I had to have water co., come out and turn on again, I day late! OK it cost me for their attendance, but that’s life! When/if I leave here I will do the same, just advise utility co!'s. All charges thereafter responsibility of new occupant!

Hope that helps & good luck with the move!

To finalise the accounts, I phoned and they told me to take the readings. You could do that in advance so when they ask you,you have it ready. Then they sent me a final bill a few days later. I think the person on the phone could speak a bit of English but I just asked them to speak a little slower for me and we did it in French. Perhaps you have a friend or neighbour who would help you if you really don't feel confident?
I think your idea of keeping some electrical system in place will still be the best for selling your property. I hope your move goes well. It must have been difficult to know whether to uproute your unwell OH yet again but I hope you manage to settle and enjoy your new life.



utilities: page 5


why not delay putting the property on the market until a week before you move. in my experience people usually want to see the property straightaway and would not want to wait 2 months to view.

At the end of the day its pointless marketing a property you can not view especially with an agent whom you have a limited time on the front page of the website, by the time your ready for viewings the advert could be on the back page, better to wait until a week before you leave.

hope this helps


I know this may seem a strange solution to your problem but have you thought about telephoning the companies and asking them what is possible. My mother -in -law died very suddenly in July and as she was in rented accommodation I had all sorts of contracts to terminate in advance of our finally vacating the Flat. I found the service clientelle extremely helpful in all cases. Certainly the elecricity and water allowed me to send in my own readings and finalised a bill.

However,just one other thought. If you are leaving a house to be sold, don't you think it will be easier to sell if it can be lit up especially with winter approaching and the grey days that brings. Maybe you should be prepared to pay the meter charge a little longer. It might prove to be an investment if your house sells quicker!

I suggest you take the meter reading as you leave and if you have nothing on while you are not in the property and it will only be used as and when the viewings take place it should be minimal usage. You can then have the meters checked either by the estate agent or when the sale goes through. Hope this helps.