Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Don’t listen to the neighbours



We frequently find that our clients seek our advice before putting their property on the market, which is reassuring, of course. But then imagine our frustration when they then proceed to go ahead based on the opinion of a “well intentioned” friend or neighbour.

There are some classic examples – here are just a few:

Diagnostic reports

We advise all of our vendors to get all reports done before they go onto the market. This includes the fosse / drainage report and the famous termite report. By law, you are only required to have the DPE (Energy) report to place the property on the market.

Friends often advise to just get the DPE report done at this stage. The others can wait. The termite report goes out of date quickly.

The reality is that without knowing the outcomes of your diagnostic reports it is near impossible to provide an accurate market valuation. What if the fosse doesn’t not conform or there are major electrical anomalies…

Going down this route invites what we call “double negotiation”. In other words the buyer negotiates on your asking price, and then comes back to haggle further once they discover the problems, (whether they are large or small).

Even if you are lucky and have “clean” reports, having to request these reports after you have found a buyer inevitably causes a delay. Sometimes of up to 2 weeks – most notably for drainage reports. This means that you cannot sign a contract (CDV), and effectively you are giving your buyer longer and longer to reflect and perhaps change their mind. Many sellers find the 10 day cooling off period bad enough, so why add to it.

Oh, by the way, most diagnostic companies will offer a free updated termite report. Many also offer a discount for getting the entire package done at the same time, so a discount price for getting it done at the outset.

N° of agents

In the UK most people selling use a sole agent. France has traditionally been different, and has been multiple agency.

Friends tell you you have more chance if you use a bigger agency or several agents. They cite that the bigger agent gives you more publicity, so you have to be on their books. Because it doesn’t cost you anything you can go with 2,3 or even more agents, and increase your chances of selling.

Wrong on both counts! Sole or Exclusive agents have a proven track record of selling more quickly and getting the asking price for your property. Listing with several agents means that you end up on the same portals at different prices (due to the variances with agent’s fees), making you look desperate for a sale. Rather than increasing your chance, you are actually decreasing them. On an exclusive mandat basis, will can control the marketing process, provide extra advertising if required, and manage your viewings professionally.

Oh, and as for going with the biggest agents, just do the maths. They have over 15,000 properties on their books. In a whole page advert they promote 12 properties, so you have a 0.08% chance of being on that page, (actually less as these figures are rounded up).

Your house in unique - keep it that way with the advertising. Exclusive clients like to buy an exclusive property!

Pricing

We are very experienced in the geographical areas in which we operate. We know how much a property has sold for, we have access to industry data and trends. So we can give you an accurate estimation for the value of your house.

Your own brain and your friend tells you that you can always reduce your price, but not increase. You also think well it cost me A and we have spent B, so we will ask A + B plus a bit. That might work in a rising market or in the UK, but this is France!

Modern properties generally have a rate per square metre habitable for your area. Older properties will also have that, but in addition will vary enormously depending upon the character features, or quality of renovations undertaken, and indeed potential cost of repair / maintenance.

Starting at the correct market price is key. The first 3 months are critical for you to achieve the best price. There is an old saying in the property business that “time is not your friend”. What this means is the longer that you are on the market, the lower your eventual price will be.

We know of many vendors who have ignored our advice about pricing, and have gone down the wildly optimistic route, but remain for sale 5 or more years later!

Strangely, you will find that these people also ignored our advice about sole agency and diagnostic reports.


Monday, 1 April 2019

Latest client testimonial


Once we had made the decision to sell our house in France it was important to find an agent who would present the property in a professional manner. After doing the rounds of a few agents we came across Allez-Francais and liked what we saw on their website and invited Richard Morford over.
 

From the outset we were impressed and liked Richard’s approach and within no time at all photos were taken, description written and floor plan drawn. The floor plan was an important inclusion so often not included by other French estate agents. Presentation is everything and the photos went a long way in doing this. Richard spent a great deal of time on the photography and the subsequent selection of best shots to use. Those taken using the drone were really impressive. Our house was on the website in no time at all and was being presented in the best possible way.

Some will say it takes years to sell a French house and yes this is true, in many instances it can. But there are many factors that sell a house, none more important than the house itself and the asking price. We set a realistic price and within weeks we had a viewing and had accepted an offer for the full asking price. But you also need an agency that doesn’t just list your house, you need one that takes an interest in it and you as the owners. We can say that our choice in Allez-Francais met every criteria we set and we could not have been happier with the outcome. Thank you Richard and Nikki for all your efforts and assistance.

We would not hesitate in recommending Allez-Francais.

Sheila & Alan Brown


www.allez-francais.com



1st April - April Fool / Poisson d'avril ..........



We are still here, uncertain about Brexit even though the 29th March was set in stone ages ago. It is fair to say that Europeans are watching this farce played out with increasing weariness. So moving on, no doubt we will return to the subject in the weeks / months ahead.

As a small company, we are very aware that there is a wide choice for our customers out there, and we genuinely appreciate your custom. Our enthusiasm and professionalism sets us apart from the larger companies out there, and we regularly have wonderful testimonials, some of which are highlighted at the foot of this newsletter.

So why do clients choose Allez-Français? First of all, I think that smaller is better. We are closer to the action, we know our properties, our areas and you do not end up dealing with Head Office to arrange viewings etc you deal with us directly. Our focus has always been on providing rapid responses to telephone calls and e-mails, usually within hours or even minutes, rather than longer delays. We cover a large part of S W France, and 3 geographical areas in some detail, all of which are popular with UK & International buyers in particular.

Larger agencies may seem to be an easy "one stop shop", but prove to be anything but that from feedback that we receive. Viewings of 5 or 6 properties in an area such as the Poitou Charentes can result in accompanied visits with 3 or 4 (or more) agents, who vary enormously in talent and experience. Our team is made up of experienced agents who have been with the Allez-Français team for at least 5 years. They are successful because they are enthusiastic and professional. They will guide you as necessary in accordance with your requirements and demands. Often, we are able to propose a property that you may previously have overlooked, based upon the feedback that you give us during your visits. Often, our sales are in conjunction with those clients who have chosen to spend at least a 1/2 day viewing with us, allowing this flexibility.

Don't forget, we can introduce you to a range of complimentary services, primarily Currency Exchange and Mortgage Services. During Q1 of 2019 alone we have seen the £ to € fluctuate between 1.10 and near to 1.18 - that is a 7.25% difference if you got your timing right or wrong, which is what some of our clients have done by having a frequent dialogue with Tom and his team at Foremost. A reminder also, that all of our contracts (CDV) are drafted and signed with a Notaire (not the agency) and similarly, all deposits are paid to the Notaire (not the agency).

Learn more about our properties and services at www.allez-francais.com


Friday, 1 March 2019

A few tips if planning to view French property after 29 March



I had really hoped that by now we would have had a bit more clarity for Brexit as there are now only 28 more days to go. Alas, that was wishful thinking, so we go into the final month still not knowing what sort of deal will be agreed if one can be achieved at all.

Meanwhile, many of our UK buyers have decided that they will get on with their French dream regardless. Some have wasted time whilst they hoped for greater clarification, whilst others have thought 'enough is enough', lets just get on and live our lives and live the dream.

If you are planning a viewing visit post 29th March, here are a few tips to help you on your way.

From 29th March regardless of whether there is a deal or no deal, it is expected that any travel into Europe by road will require a 'Green Card'.
This will replace the European Certificates of Insurance that have traditionally been issued from UK insurance companies who have an agreement with the EU to allow UK citizens to travel under one simple certificate of insurance. The European Green Card should be free from your insurer. In addition to your UK driving licence, motorists may be required to purchase an International Driving Permit to be able to legally drive on European roads post-Brexit. This is most likely in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Anyone driving abroad will need one 3 months before they travel, and they are available from main Post Offices.

How up to date is your passport?
If there’s a no-deal Brexit, it is likely that you will not be allowed entry to the EU (except Ireland) if your passport is within 6 months of its expiry date.

Remember also, our diaries are pretty full at this time of the year, so please do not leave it too late before requesting a viewing visit, as you will possibly be too late.
We have around 175 properties for sale currently, 59 of which are in exclusivity, so roughly 1 in 3 which are effectively sole agency. The big advantage for you as a buyer dealing with a property that is listed on this basis is that we know exactly what is happening and can advise you accordingly. With multiple agency listings, (very common in France), the vendors can often forget to keep everyone in the loop, and even worse, an agreed sale in principle can be overturned by another agency! And to reassure you, all of our contracts, (Compromis de Vente) are prepared by a local Notaire, and all money (deposit and final balance) is paid direct to the Notaire.



Second referendum looks like the only solution to parliament stalemate


The Prime Minister will come back to the Commons with another tinkered with withdrawal agreement, changing a word here, re-phrasing a sentence there but essentially the same deal as before. If that gets knocked back by MPs once again, she will ask Parliament to approve or reject leaving with no deal. That will almost certainly get rejected, so then we go to her third vote in the sequence, to approve asking the EU for an extension to the Article 50 leaving date of March 29. However, with the EU not prepared to negotiate a new deal what is the point of extending the leaving date unless it is to seek another outcome.

Mrs May said there are three choices: Leave with a deal, leave with no deal or no Brexit. If Parliament rules out the first two then the only option remaining is the third.

If there is to be an extension to the leaving date and Parliament has exhausted its options, it can only be for the purpose of giving the people another say. That will no doubt cause uproar among the hardened leave supporters who say we made our decision and we should stick to it. Get on with leaving. But what is wrong with asking people, almost three years later, if they still feel the same? The situation has changed. We are no longer bombarded with jingoistic slogans from Boris Johnson and Co.

The arguments have moved way beyond Nigel Farage, UKIP and their mistrust of foreigners. The warnings that were dismissed with a snort about huge firms leaving the UK are coming to pass. Multi-national companies who are closing facilities, moving operations, shifting assets and cutting jobs as a result of Brexit has grown ever since the vote in June 2016. Nissan, Jaguar and Honda in the car industry. Airbus in aviation engineering, Barclays and Goldman Sachs in finance, Panasonic and Philips in electronics. Even Dyson, whose boss was a strong campaigner to leave, is off to Singapore. The NHS is facing staff shortages that will last longer than the short-term worries over medicines and supplies.

So why would anyone want to deny people the opportunity to re-think their decision, unless it because you are worried they have seen through the lies and want to change their mind.

Trust in and respect for parliament would be lost and never recovered we are told. There’s not much trust and respect there at the moment if we are being honest.

The people have spoken and Parliament should get on with it we are told.

MPs are not there simply to do as they are told. They are representatives and if they think the country is making a mistake they have a responsibility to say so. MPs are not delegates, simply carrying out instructions from their constituents, they have a far greater responsibility than that.

Article by Stewart Paterson 
https://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/17467234.brexit-second-referendum-is-the-only-solution-to-stalemate/


Monday, 11 February 2019

February - the month of romance



February – the month of romance, with Valentine’s Day falling on Thursday 14th. Is this going to be the month that we can help you fall in love with one of our French properties for sale?

We certainly have a great selection, currently over 175 properties on the site, of which 58 are on Exclusive mandats with our agency. Explore the website to see what has changed since you last browsed.

This month is also a great time to view, with the temperatures and the light quality at its worst. No doubt about it, if you like a property in February, you will love it when bathed in sunshine in the summer months.

Constantly in our focus, at the moment, is the Brexit scenario. Obviously it impacts significantly for UK buyers, and the £ enjoyed a mini revival until 29th January and the MPs votes on the various amendment proposals in Parliament. But also, Europe is massively involved, although the consequences for the EU nations of Britain crashing out are not as harsh as they would be for the UK.

On the subject of a referendum, there is talk in France of the Loire Atlantique region to rejoin Brittany. The Government has been asked to consent to a public vote. I hope they know what they are letting themselves in for ....

The PUMA was designed to replace the Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU) but it goes further in that it is compulsory for any French tax resident who is not affiliated to mainstream French social security or that of another territory for health purposes. The contribution applies to all investment income (revenus du patrimoine) at a rate of 8% after an annual allowance of €9,933 (2018) per person.

www.allez-francais.com

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Why now is the time to spring clean your agents !


Spring – is known as the season of rebirth, revitalisation and regeneration. It’s a time of the year where clean-ups and clear-outs are popular. It’s called a spring clean for a reason, after all.

Whilst we are still in January, Spring is appearing on the horizon, and you should start forward planning. Why?

The property market tends to be better in the Spring, and hopefully we will soon have Brexit and its associated problems behind us.

As we march onwards deeper into 2019 many of you should be asking if you are getting the best from your estate agents?

Being with several agents may appear to be the sensible option, and "widening" your chances of a sale. But the statistics actually suggest the opposite. Working with an agent on a sole agency (or Exclusive mandat) generally ensures a faster sale and achieves a higher price.

Our agency is consistently selling more properties that we have in exclusivity in comparison to "simple" mandats where there are a number of competing agencies.

Your property is unique - so why devalue the property by offering the property to a number of agents, who then advertise the property at varying prices (because of their different fee structures), and use a mixed bag of images, (some bad and some truly awful).

Far better to entrust your sale to one top notch agency who will present your property professionally, invest via their marketing budget, to achieve a sale as quickly as possible for the best possible price.

We await your call, or e-mail us at contact@allez-francais.com for more details.