Setting up utilities

"We’ve just bought a property in Brittany and will going there at beginning of January to complete purchase. What do we need to do before we go? Thanks

Trisha if you look at Useful links on here, or online go to French I think, there are lists in both places of Utility phone nos with their English speaking phone numbers.

At the risk of upsetting you, why with just 2 months from your Q, to go, are you only asking this now, especially with Christmas coming up!

Agree with everyone who's mentioned it that you will need a French bank account.

If you don't speak French and you're used to the UK way - emails, PDF's, online - I'd recommend Credit Agricole Britline. Some people here will moan that there are much cheaper bank accounts - it's true but at the beginning it's such a joy to be able to email someone in English and get a reply! You can always change it once you're full-time here.

It is not difficult to set up a bank account - it's just a mountain of paperwork. Make sure you are thorough.

Also - you can get those estate agents working even harder for you. You can set up your landline, internet and TV through the Orange English speaking phone line. They can do it all without you being at the house / in France, but they'll need to send you the Livebox to make it all work. They always send them to a Relais Point in your local town - and - as long as your estate agents have proof of your ID they can pick it up for you in advance.

Again, there are other options for TV, phone, internet. But if it's likely to be important for you it's a great idea to get it done before you get here

bon courage!

x teresa

It’s holiday home to start with but will become semi permanent when we retire in about 2 years.

Thanks Colin

Thanks Mike

Thanks Paul

Thanks Tim

Well done Trisha, that makes life so much easier.

Is this a permanent move or 'only' a holiday pad ?

Yay, result. Well done Peter and Colin.

Thanks Peter. We have contacted our agent and he is going to do it all with us on the completion date. I will also ask him about the current owners insurance arrangements.

Trisha -- go to Useful Links/Get Help and you will find some useful numbers/web links to EDF etc.

Agents and their performance have been done to death on SFN John and most contributors seem to have a negative opinion of them. Some agents are excellent many are crooks and sometimes it's matter of luck if the agent turns out what the client expects him or her to be.

Not many agencies will willingly give out such info so it's up to the client to ask and make sure the same terms are in writing.

Unless things have changed the first suspensive clause in a Compromis was something like " the buyer agrees to buy the property in state in which it's found without any recourse to the buyer, notaire, agency " etc etc This immediately covers these people from blame so it's up to the client to understand what's being purchased. The 'vices cachés' clause among others has become important in recent years as some kind of protection to the buyer.

A lot will depend on if someone is still living in the property and all services are already connected, or if the property is vacant and services disconnected!!!

When we purchased our first house the sellers (French) in company with the Immo had arranged for the water company to be there and we signed over the water on the spot and agreed the water meter reading and we then checked the electricity meter, both signed and then a letter was sent off to EDF....simple. The immo had also arranged for the Bank to have an Account set up and cards ready for us..they were absolutely brilliant.

When we purchased our second house we had already informed EDF, but again the seller and the immo was there and we agreed all the meter readings before we shook hands and off they went.

Rgds, Mike L

Trial and error on our part (we are not yet fully resident so took a couple of visits to get things automated).

Hardest (and most important) part was setting up a French bank account since I moved from the Middle East not the UK. If you have a UK bank account and moving address then life is much easier. Tried Credit Agricole but reached a dead end, after several months of frustration. Then the agent that we purchased through recommended Banque Populaire...plain sailing from there on (internet banking, debit card, cheque book etc).

Insurance was via an english speaking broker we were recommended by an agent.

Water and electricity were both fairly straightforward (they seem to appear on the scene pretty soon after you!)

Orange was just a case of visiting the nearest boutique and signing a contract (mild complication because I did not have a chequier at the time - just pleaded ignorance and let them roll their eyes at me!) Engineer was out within the week and we have had uninterrupted landline and broadband ever since.

Not yet automated the local taxes though!

The Estate Agent/Notaire did most of the work for us but you will need a French bank account, if you haven't got one already, from which to take the direct debits. Without the bank account you could face problems.

The one thing we had to do ourselves was arrange for a telephone line* and I can't remember if we did that on-line or visited a France Telecom (now Orange) shop.

*As regards 'phone/internet. We now use an Orange Internet package (was called NetPlus but names change frequently) at 40€ month (incl rent for router) for unlimited internet and free phone calls within France, to UK and 99 other countries.

Not quite on topic, but interesting and relevant.

I have been trying to buy a property. The immobilier's fee was 10000 euros. The purchase collapsed. Part of the reason was that the immobilier failed to give full instructions to the "surveyor" who prepared the usual diagnostics (termites, electricity, lead etc.) on not one but two occasions. Asbestos was found on the third diagnostic.

On collapse the agent has sent me an invoice for around 1200 euros (including VAT). The charge is made up of those agent "activities" one would expect in a house sale/purchase. Except, this agent made it clear that they would not be assisting with organising the utilities.

There is an immense difference between 1200 (a loose representation of the cost of the agent's activities? ) and the fee of 10000 euros.

I reccomend prospective purchaser have the agent's fee quantified BEFORE they sign any compromis and negotiate a fee in line with that charged (around 5500 euros in this case) payable as an agent's fee to a notaire when the propert is marketed through a notaire.

p.s. Immobilier are required to display their charges in their agency. Over the last three to four years I have visited a number of agenencies and not once has an agent drawn my attenyion to those charges or the agencies terms and conditions.

Depends Trisha. As Colin said the agent did everything, did you buy through an agent ? If so they would normally do the necessary. Basically old contracts need to be cancelled by the previous owners including, Water, Electricity/Gas, Telephone & Insurance etc though the previous owners may ask if you wish to continue with their insurance company.

Make the agency earn their money if you are using one !

You may need to ask them to organise wood for the woodburner if that's your source of heating etc etc..

I bought in the summer. I asked the immobilier to do all that for me and she did. Sorted the transfers, direct debits, etc. I'd been told it was part of the services they offer and for the amount I was paying them didn't feel embarrassed asking.

Have any members just completed on a house purchase and are more up to date on what's required for utility connections etc than I am?