Selling a property privately? B E W A R E!

After being contacted by a "gentleman" recently, the old adage "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is" came to mind. Following, is the latest communication from him. It is remarkably similar to the style of a number of scams I have read about .............

"bonjour Mr Bruton

comment alez-vous ?

mon client et interesser par votre bien

il aimerais savoir si vous accepterais une parie A officiel puis une autre partie B non officiel ?

donc la partie A 90% officiel virement bancaires et la partie B 10% donc en liquide ( cash )

en vous demande ceux la pour la raison que nous avons des petit problème en France et nous aimerons pas tout déclarée

mais il faudrait parler de tout sa face a face et de vive-voix parler des modalité de paiement , faire un peut connaissance , et également

vous présenter des preuves de fond bancaires . donc il faudrait si possible organiser un rendez-vous .

actuellement mon client ne peut pas se déplacer a cause de nos nombreux rendez-vous et aussi son show-room de diamants en italie a


si y'a une possibilité de nous rencontre en italie a milan pour parler amicalement sa serait idéal .

puis par la suite mon client se deplace directement vers vous avec un expert pour venir voir votre propriété et faire toutes les dermarches chez votre notaire dans votre ville , signer le contrat , compromis de vente etc .

il seras a milan a partir du 26 octobre . apres le rendez-vous il se deplace directement chez vous

je tien a preciser mon client vous fait pas deplacer pour rien , il ne cherche pas a negocier le prix , et il passe pas par un credit de banque l'argent et disponible je tien egalement a vous dire quil vous propose 935.000 euro pour votre propriété par ce que il pense c'est un idéal investissement

nous sommes des personne serieux et nous cherchons pas a faire perdre votre temps


j’attends de vos nouvelles"

I’ll second Marie-Claire’s comment about using an Agency (immobilier)

2 of my 3 French rentals were through them. My current one came in response to my own Ad in Le Bon Coin - failing finding something ground floor with a small outside space, with any Immobilier and now I’m stuck with a rotten rental, that looked good - fresh modern wallpaper, fresh paint! Little did I know what it was all hiding! So these situations can work both ways, wherever in World you may choose to buy or rent! or who with/from! I’ve got the outside space with a small courtyard - wonder why the Landlady didn’t go through an agency? Now I know why and never again would I respond to a private house owner? The Agencies sort out all the pros and cons for you and although French all spoke English!

Of course you would never, ever answer to such an email, let alone do any sort of business.

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Interesting point about you becoming a near neighbour of whoever buys your house. One of my friends has dropped a particular agency as he began to think that, as she is also a neighbour, she was only showing his house details to the sort of people that she would like next door.
Good luck with your sale, a good house in a good location will sell.

Brian, above...(can't get used to this site for replies!)

If I had an ideal take on things I'd choose not to be present but, security for valuables, eg, and having 2 dogs loose in the house means it's not to be. Also we will be living just around the corner in our small hamlet, so I'd also like to guage the eventual buyer! As to location, we're very well situated to be idyllic with stunning countryside, tranquility, but a large village with everything in it a 3 minute drive away...took us 3 moves to find a great location such as this, and only downsizing due to certain family circumstances requiring it...which is why we snapped up a little place in the same hamlet, to 'see us out' and keep our lovely neighbours :)

And to John, having chatted now to certain folks and pals, we most certainly are not the only ones brassed off with how things are done here. perhaps the ones you know are putting all trust in their agents and fingers crossed behind their backs...all that tells me, after being flooded with many viewings but no sale, is making my point....neither the buyer nor the seller is being properly targeted/marketed.

Off now for a dental appointment (2 weeks wait for that rather than 2 hour notice of viewings), pity I couldn't have thrown my doors open these past 2 hours while here in the day!

The right properties in the right locations are expensive (3,000 per sqm and more) as well as difficult to find. There are English people house hunting currently, but fewer than anticipated, and those who do intend to buy are looking for exceptional pieces of property (spacious, quiet, light, central, good neighbourhood, well renovated, balcony, view, close to a park, the sea…). Marseille just doesn't have much to offer in reality as most flats are small, dark, not renovated, don't have a balcony, offer a view into your neighbour's living room and are either way out in the sticks, or noisy.

Additionally, Marseille is far from being to everyone's taste, public transport is slow and under-developed, the multi-cultural aspects thrill a lot of people as long as they don't have to live in a neighbourhood with numerous representatives of different cultures and social classes. And it's dirty. Very dirty in fact. I love it, but spent a lot of time looking for a flat that suited me. Most people give up and move away.

A surprisingly large number of vendors do not want to see potential buyers. The largest group of those is the recently bereaved who are also making an emotional decision to move or sell, such as a parent's house once he or she is gone. At present my OH has a house on the market that she sold to the present owners but one of them is now fatally ill and the other no longer wanting to be there. We do not all live in a perfectly balanced world by our own standards and values.

I can’t argue about the advantage for the buyers of seeing the property warts and all to get a real feel for the location. I also understand that there are probably many agents and sellers who would prefer the buyers to see the property under perfect conditions. I don’t, however, understand what you mean about balance. Surely any serious buyers would be able to see the location in the middle of the morning rush hour or whatever but be able to make an appointment for an internal viewing when the owners can be there?

John Brian, weekends with Sundays as favourite are often used to cover up such things as trucks passing, evenings but not too late in the summer only. Most of the year my OH avoids evenings and weekends anywhere near a busy road in order to show potential buyers what is there and also for those who are sceptics to begin with to show that their fears are without reason. There are far too many agents who she says more or less only show weekends and evenings but then don't give a toss about the complaints they get after the buyer is in possession. Agents who work properly with their clients should have keys in order to access the house when nobody is there, including when working residents have to be out. It is all done for the convenience of the clients at both ends but there are naturally agents who turn everything round in their own favour. Perhaps David has found the balance there whereas you have not.

Fair enough David but you seem to be in a unique position as everyone else that I know who is selling their house is keen to have every possible potential buyer through their door. I don’t understand the working angle either. Do French agents only arrange viewings from Monday to Friday, nine to five? Looking back to the times when I have sold properties, most of the viewings were at the weekends or in the evenings.

With the TVG making the centre of London to Marseille a relatively quick trip for a weekend retreat soon, I think prices for the right properties in the right locations could improve.

To John, below, yes you have 'picked up' info from another forum, but what you also failed then to make clear, is that we work, and for every viewing requested that fails to be serious AND fails to meet the buyers requirement list, it's us who have to clock off work, both, as we have to ensure the house is tip-top well-presented, as is the gardens. We also remove two dogs that, believe me, you wouldn't want in the house too! One of us is on hand to answer questions while also ensuring we stay out of the way, etc tricky in itself. And naturally the requests to view are within a working day schedule 9the agents)

Please don't try to pretend that all that is a breeze, unless you either don't care when your time is taken up, or the state of your place at any time, as it is stressful. To make it less stressful all we ask as the sellers is that we are shown only to those who's remit we fit and that are able to proceed at a good pace to an offer, and at reasonable notice of a viewing....why some take umbrage or have a problem with that beats me!

Just want to say that the most annoying thing about immobiliers is

the fact that they so often do not answer the clients questions.

The client......being the owner of the property who appoints them to sell

the property.

Not getting a reply is not the sign of a professional!

Buyers are as well protected, where's the problem ? If a buyer has an offer accepted then the rules are clear. A buyer wouldn't go throuh the hassle and red-tape of the Compromis etc if they weren't 'serious' buyers surely ? What would be the point otherwise ?

Absolutely Jane. The trouble is I think I based my reply on facts about David Evans’ sale that I have picked up from another forum. They are not only wanting the agents to vet the potential buyers before they make an offer but before they even visit the property. I cannot see how that is possible.

John, Roger would only need to 'vet' potential purchasers after they express an interest in purchasing his property.

However, if you are a serious seller, I feel that you should be as well protected as a buyer.

Very true Simon! Additionally they don't even have to come up with any money for photographs, advertising and the time agents invest before the buyer signs on the dotted line which can take many, many moons!

Brian, I had several locations in mind when I talked about cheaper properties, one of them is Marseille, which, being a large (and poor) city, usually has low-priced property flying of the shelf, whereas people who can afford large amounts of money may be hesitant to invest it in Marseille. The other locations I was thinking of were ski-ing resorts...

3% ??!! Try something like 8% here, and you'll see why vendors expect some bang for their buck! In our case we know we have a good product, appeals to french and ex-pat alike, and is always immaculately presented to interior and gardens...That doesn't happen out of the ether - the property is fully maintained on a week by week basis check, we have to clock off work, clean from top to bottom, take pets off the premises while one stays for the viewing out of the way, put all the heating going even tho' we're back off to work just after....In our case we feel we've chosen one of the best agency's in our region, just the one for the moment, and still more dialogue was needed that to us seemed obvious after a failed offer...If we also wanted to carry out some of the info slog ourselves we'd also do the sale ourselves, as we have in the past when not so pushed for time...

I sell alot of British-owned properties ... to the French, mainly. I charge a 3% fee and no one has ever complained. Normally I show a property about 50 to 60 times before I get a buyer. This often inlvolves travelling 200-300 kms to each viewing. Inevitably it is the vendor who gets the sale ... as they benefit from the agent's publicity and their own prix net vendeur which is lower than the agent's price.

I don't understand why vendors are complaining so much about agents. They get an incredible deal whereby they only pay if the property gets sold. There are not many other businesses that work like that!