Selling a property anywhere can involve a lot of work. Whether it’s your home or an investment property, it takes time and money to find someone to buy it from you. When you decide to sell your property in Paris, whether it’s a small apartment near Disneyland or holiday accommodation on the Champs Elysees, you need to be familiar with the best practices for selling in the French capital. There are some general rules for selling property to pay attention to, as well as some French and Parisian particulars which are important for a successful sale. Follow these practices if you want a less painful way to sell your property in Paris.
1. Know What Selling in France Involves
If you’re getting ready to sell a property in Paris, you need to understand the sales process in France. You have likely already approached this from the perspective of a buyer unless you inherited or were gifted your Parisian property. This can make you familiar with the process but some things can change, and it is different when you’re selling instead of buying. When you’ve found a buyer, either a promesse de vente is prepared by a notaire, or an estate agent or private parties arrange a compromis de vente. These are initial contracts that formalize the sale.
The seller must sell immediately on the signing of the contract, while the buyer gets a 7-day period, during which they can change their mind without financial consequences. For this reason, it’s essential that you’re sure you want to sell.
The final sale occurs when an acte de vente is signed, usually a couple of months after the initial contract. A notaire is needed to supervise this. The buyer pays the price of the property, plus any related fees and taxes and the ownership of the property changes hands.
2. Understand the Fees Involved
Understanding any of the fees involved in selling your property in Paris is important. If you use an estate agent to help you sell, their fees are likely to come out of the proceeds of the sale. It’s usually expressed as a percentage of the final amount you receive for the property, often around 5%. It is also possible to separate the cost of the property and the agency fees in the sales contract. This means the buyer will pay the net price of the property and the agency fees separately instead.
3. Know About Capital Gains Tax
Capital gains tax is important to take into account if the property you are selling is not your main residence. If it’s your home, there will be no tax to pay. However, if it is a secondary property, you need to be prepared to pay capital gains tax. The amount you pay is influenced by your residence for tax and financial purposes, as well as how long you owned the property. 19% is the current base rate, no matter where you are legally resident. If you have owned the property for more than five years, you pay less. Here’s how it works:
- Less than 6 years: 19% base rate capital gains tax
6-21 years: 6% per year
22nd year: 4%
4. Choose the Best Estate Agent, Not All the Agents
In France, there is no multiple listing service. This leads to many sellers listing their property with a number of estate agents to try and advertise it more and get the best sale. However, this can mean that the agents are competing with each other and their top interest is to sell as quickly as they can and beat the others. If you want to get the best price for your property, choosing just one agency that can give you all you need is the best thing to do. Pick the right estate agency, and they can get your property the exposure you need to find the right buyer.
5. Prepare Your Property for Sale
There are some legal requirements you need to follow if you want to get your property ready to sell. This is to prove that the property is safe and show its condition. You should get these checks done before listing your property for convenience. These are the things that the seller is required to carry out:
- Checking for lead, asbestos, and termites
Measuring the exact area of the property (loi carrez)
Checking electricity and gas systems
Energy-efficiency check – must be shown in the property listing
Check for any natural or environmental risks
Of course, as well as the legal obligations you have, you might want to prepare your property in other ways. The condition your property is in now might not be the best condition for you to sell it. You could do some things to make it more presentable, whether it’s making minor touch-ups and repairs, or redecorating to make everything more neutral.
6. Know Your Area of Paris and the Market
Being familiar with the area of Paris in which you’re selling is always a good idea. If you’ve lived in the property, you’re probably familiar with it from the perspective of a resident or at least someone who comes for a short stay now and then. You also probably researched the area when you were looking to buy an apartment in Paris, so you should know a little about it. However, it’s also a good idea to be familiar with the housing market and its current situation. Some of the most popular areas for people to buy property in Paris include:
Knowing the appeal of the neighborhood where your property is situated will help you find the best estate agent to help you sell it. It will also help you work out what sort of price you could get for your property, especially if you look at current properties that are on the market. You might think you know what your property is worth, but you need to know what the market is like to get a better idea. Plus, if you know what sort of people could be looking to buy in the area, it might help you set up the property to appeal to them more. Some neighborhoods are the best places to buy for students, some are great for those who want to live in France long-term, while others are better for people who want to buy property to let.
7. Be Up-to-date on Currency Exchange Rates
If you live outside of France, you might be converting the proceeds of your property sale to a different currency. If this is the case, it’s important to be aware of exchange rates, especially if you intend to exchange a large amount of money at once. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a currency exchange calculator to work out how much you’re going to get for your euros. You might use your bank to make an exchange, but there are also specialist money exchange services that you might find more helpful and perhaps cheaper. Remember that the exchange rate could change a lot between the start and end of the sales process too, so be careful.
8. Give Your Agent as Much Information as Possible
Your estate agent wants to do their best with your property and make a good sale. If you make sure you provide them with as much relevant information as possible, they can get to work on what they need to do sooner. You can give them information like:
- Title deeds
9. Leave the Agent to Do Showings
When people visit the property to view it, try your best to get out of the way. Even if you’re just going to sit in a cafe for ten minutes or go for a walk, it’s best to let them get on with it. It can be off-putting to potential buyers if the current owner is hanging around or even following them around the property. The agent can answer any questions, so there shouldn’t be a need for you to be there. Make sure the agent has keys to access the property, but also that they give you fair warning if they book a viewing.
10. Wait to Buy Your Next Property
If you intend to buy a new property on the sale of your current one, don’t be in too much of a rush. There’s always a chance the sale could fall through until it has been completely finalized, especially if your buyer is relying on a mortgage. Wait until their bank has approved the purchase and you have the money you need before you buy another property. French banks will often change their mind even after verbally approving a purchase, so it’s best to be patient.
If you want some more advice on selling your property in Paris, you can get in touch with us. We can also talk to you about buying or renting our your property in Paris. Contact us via: