Having had the offer accepted, the next stage was to get the contract of sale – “Compromis de Vente” prepared and signed. This process took much longer than expected. Our solicitor, the agent and the Notaire all seemed to be involved. Several changes were asked for but didn’t appear in the next version. Sometimes just getting the latest version of the document was difficult. With a two week business trip due to start on 18 April, we needed to get the compromis signed by 17 April at the latest.Finally, a version of the compromis was agreed upon by all parties on 15 April, ready for signing on 17 April.
We went to the Notaire’s office in Marseillan on 17 April. The vendors were present as were the agents. A few last minute changes were made to the document. The Notaire then proceeded to read the 50 page document addressing either us or the vendors for approval. All four of us vendors and purchases then had to initial every page of the document. Steve and Phill then had to hand write a paragraph in French before signing. After signing we went to visit our friends at Villa Littoral for a glass of champagne to celebrate.
Having signed the compromis de vente not much happens for a while. The mayor has first refusal to purchase and needs to be given a month to decide. We had a completion date set for 19 June 2015.
In the mean time we needed to get mortgage protection life cover. This involved a lot of paperwork and a visit to the doctor to get the medical form completed. We got the mortgage protection insurance approved which was the final piece for getting the mortgage offer. The formal mortgage offer finally arrived on 28 May 2105. Receipt of the documents started a 10 day countdown. We must accept the offer on 8 June 2015 by signing some forms and sending them to the bank by courier.
Another condition of completion is obtaining buildings insurance. One company asked a lot of questions and then wouldn’t give us a quote. We contacted Britline and got a very reasonable quote which we accepted.
We also had to arrange a local moving company to move our things from Montpellier to the new property in Marseillan. We asked the estate agent if she knew a moving company. She put us in contact with Le déménageurs bretons who gave us a quote. We accepted it and they delivered a stack of cardboard boxes. We have arrange to move on 20 June 2015.
We also arranged for our belongings which have been in storage since September 2014 to be delivered on 23 June 2015.
We now have to wait for confirmation that the Notaire has completed his work and that the acte de vente can be signed on 19 June 2015.
We now have to wait for confirmation that the Notaire has completed his work and that the acte de vente can be signed on 19 June 2015. It will be nearly four months between having the offer accepted and completing the purchase. All of the pieces are falling into place to get this far and there is still much to do.
There was a 6 week wait after signing the compromis de vente. The Notaire has to do some checks and the Mayor need to have first refusal to purchase. During this time the mortgage offer needed to be obtained. We also needed to obtain mortgage and property insurance. The completion can’t take place without it. When it came to buildings insurance Britline came to the rescue. They were most efficient.
Everything seemed to happen at the last minute. There were several missing documents including the all important 30 page Acte de Vente which we didn’t see until two days before completion. Finally everything was in place.
We went to the Notaire’s office on 19 June 2015. The previous owners and the agents were there too. The Notaire was running late so we had to wait 20 minutes. We finally went in and the Notaire read through the Acte de Vente and then all parties had to initial and sign the document. The keys were then ours!
We went to the agent’s and drank a glass of bubbles to celebrate. We then went to the property. The previous owners were there removing stuff! Not that we wanted it. One of the sisters asked if she could have the lights…
The French regulations governing electric wiring, gas installations and sewage are an issue when buying a property in France. It is OK for an old house not to conform to regulations. When you buy a property it is the new owner’s obligation to make the installations conform to current regulations.
The electric wiring in our property was downright dangerous. Wires appear out of walls and disappear into adjacent walls. Most power sockets are 2 pin and there is no earth connection. There were far too few sockets. Apparently a living room should have 5 power outlets. The water heater didn’t work either. This is OK in the hot Summer weather when a cold shower is rather welcome.
We got an electrician in, via the estate agent, to quote for new wiring and heating. His quote was a staggering €18,000. He must use gold wires!
We also have 5 rather large pine trees in the garden. We got a tree surgeon in via the estate agent. His quote was a staggering €7,500.
We found a site called “Find a Trade in France” where you can post a job and several local trades people can then send in a quote. We will get at least 3 quotes before parting with any money. There is quite a lot of work which needs to be done before we can start operating as a guest house. Now we need to prioritise the work and get the urgent things done as soon as possible.
We found an English guy, Roy Dyson, who lived locally and does ronovations. His prices were reasonable. He first arrived with two electricians. One of them fixed our water heater for free. We arranged to have the house rewired. We went from 7 power points to 42! We also had the pine trees cut down and removed.
Beware! It is so easy to spend too much once purchasing a property in France. There is often a lot of work to do on the property. We had a constant stream of deliveries over a period of months. Keep within budget and think carefully about the priorities of work on the property and purchases!