Traditionally, the first step for the majority of sellers is to get in touch with a number of local estate agents to arrange a property valuation and receive an overview of asking price suggestions. When you do, please note that agents are not permitted to charge for this service.
The process is actually not much different to that in the UK. When inviting agents to evaluate your property, they will aim to find and highlight your homes’ unique selling points and discuss any issues such as structural problems, that could influence buyers’ decisions. Agents will analyse the size of your property’s rooms and consider any renovation work you have conducted that may have added value e.g. a new bathroom suite. Another key deciding factor for the bottom line, which you have very little control over, is your property’s physical location and its proximity to nearby villages and lifestyle offerings. The closer to amenities, the better.
In addition to your agent quotations, we recommend carrying out your own market research to ensure that you are completely comfortable and satisfied with the suggested asking price. Online listings of similar properties in your area will provide a current indication of market values, whilst the online Land Registry (cadastre) is also an excellent source of information.
For independent advice, we suggest contacting the local notaire who will have a general overview of the area’s property prices.
Why is the same property listed at a different price with another agent?
When evaluating your property, estate agents analyse how your property compares to their current portfolio. If they have properties for sale that are similar in size and location to your home, they are able to take into account what these homes are listed for and which price point is likely to attract more buyers. As all estate agents will have a different portfolio, valuations might differ slightly. In addition, French estate agents also consult the French Land Registry called DVF. This is a publicly accessible database, featuring the last 5 years of property sales records.
How can I add value to my property?
If you are considering giving your property a facelift before putting it on the market, less is sometimes more in terms of your return on investment. A new coat of paint and decluttering can work wonders to present your abode in a whole new light. If you still wish to make structural changes or add onsite amenities such as a pool to secure the sale, do your research on what buyers are currently looking for. If in doubt, speak to your local agents about recommendations as they will have a very good understanding of the buyer demographics and what these are looking for the most when house hunting.
What taxes do I need to pay when selling?
Before Brexit, British sellers were subject to a 19% capital gains tax and 7.5% social levy charge. For non-EU residents, the social surcharge increases to 17.2%, which means British sellers might be facing a total capital gains tax bill of 36.2%. To ensure that all taxes are paid correctly, UK residents are now also required to engage a fiscal representative for capital gains formalities if the sales volume exceeds €150,000.
The good news is that you can qualify for a taper relief and your capital gains tax reduces if you have owned the property for more than five years. Buyers who have owned their property for over 22 years won’t have to pay capital gains tax at all. and you won’t owe any of this tax after 22 years. Furthermore, the social levy charge also decreases after five years of ownership, and you won’t be liable for this levy after 30 years.
How have Brexit and the pandemic influenced property demand?
Naturally, when Brexit was first confirmed, we saw a number of British buyers feeling concerned about the impact it might have on owning a holiday home or retirement property in France. Now, that the rules and regulations have been made clearer, we have seen a continuous return of British buyers who finally want to make their dream of owning a French property a reality.
The pandemic, on one hand, has of course made it more difficult to attract international buyers due to travel restrictions. On the other hand, we have seen a steady increase in French buyers, seeking remote homes. Similar to ‘the great escape’ London has seen during the pandemic, we have equally witnessed city dwellers from Paris who embraced remote working and made a permanent move to the French countryside.
If you are curious about the value of your French property, try Sextant Properties’ new online valuation tool here.
*Matthieu Cany is managing director at estate agency network Sextant Properties