Tips for Buyers
Analyzing your financial capacity Before you even start looking for a new home, you should conduct an analysis of your needs and an accurate evaluation of your financial capacity. You must establish a realistic budget taking into account your lifestyle and your goals. The role of this exercise is to set a reasonable purchase price. This way, you can narrow down your search and avoid being tempted by a property that is above your means. The key element in this exercise is accuracy. Remember that a budget is only useful if it takes into account your overall needs and personal or family situation.
Mortgage loans - Most French mortgage lenders use a strict income to debt ratio to calculate the maximum loan that can be granted to a buyer. They are not very flexible on this, so it is always worth speaking to our mortgage experts ahead of planning a viewing visit to establish your borrowing capacity.
Defining your needs Once you have an accurate picture of your financial capacity and have established your budget, the next step is to define your needs. This exercise will allow you to reflect on your priorities, which will help you in your search and will guide your estate agent.
The following are the main elements to consider when defining your expectations :-
Type of property
Are you looking for a village dwelling, or a townhouse or something remote? Do you prefer a new or older house?
Neighbourhood What is your tolerance to noise and pollution? Are you looking to avoid high-traffic areas? Is the state of development of the area where you will be living important to you?
Proximity of services What are your needs in terms of public transport and public or commercial services? Is being close to work or to schools, etc. important to you? Many buyers tell us they want to be within walking distance of the boulangerie, but will you start to walk to the shops, or still use the car, (be honest)?
Indoor aspect What are your needs in terms of space? How many bedrooms and bathrooms are necessary? Do you want air conditioning / central heating? How much storage room do you need? Do you need an office and / or a workshop?
Outdoor aspect What are your needs in terms of parking? Do you like gardening? If so, what are the sunlight requirements? Do you want a terrace, a patio, a balcony, a pool?
Need for renovations Are you looking for a house that needs no improvements? If you are thinking of doing the work yourself, do you have the necessary skills? If not, have you evaluated the cost of repairs?
Organizing the search for your home is not a simple step, it is the most important and often the longest. It is recommended to take all the time you need before buying a home. The key to choosing the right home is to really know your needs. Talk to your agent about your priorities and try to identify the features you are looking for but that could be subject to compromises. This way, you will avoid wasting time viewing houses that are too expensive, too big or that are simply not what you are looking for.
Choosing the area - Visit the areas that seem to fit your needs. Your estate agent can help you make a list of houses that meet your expectations. They have access to detailed information on the properties being offered for sale in the areas that are attractive to you, and can save you valuable time. You can also search on our website now via an interactive map.
Choosing well - When you have found the home you are looking for, make sure you see it at least twice if possible. This way, if you choose different times of day you can see for yourself the activity level in the neighbourhood at those hours when you will likely be at home. You can also appreciate the amount of traffic, ambient noise, street lighting, etc.
If you are viewing you will inevitably be viewing several houses on the same day. When reviewing your visits afterwards you will often find that details start to blur, so make good notes and take plenty of photos.
Elements to verify:
Check the general state of the house: roof, gutters, siding, paint, etc.
Is the house energy-efficient? Is it well insulated? Are heating costs high?
How is the air quality and circulation?
Is the house damp? Are there traces of mildew? If so, check for cracks or water infiltration.
Do you have any reason to believe there are structural problems? Stuck windows or uneven floors point to this sort of problem.
Flush the toilets and check taps is possible.
Have the owners provided diagnostic reports to indicate the state of the electrics, and drainage for example.
Setting the fair market value of a property
If you are interested in a property, it is important to get an idea of its actual value on the market. With the help of your agent, compare the house you like to other properties in the neighbourhood and try to identify the elements which could have a positive or a negative impact on the asking price: location, size, year of construction and condition of the property, number and layout of rooms, materials used, landscaping, features specific to the area, etc. This information will help you determine the price you will offer the seller.
There are several ways in which a buyer can have a successful search and complete a purchase. They may act alone, in which case they will have to deal directly with the owners of the house they wish to purchase if the seller has elected to sell his property without the services of an agent. Then, the buyer is left to his own devices, both to evaluate the price and to carry out the transaction.
Agency fees / realistic pricing - Some buyers mistakenly think that by buying direct from a private vendor they have saves a significant sum via the agency fees – which are typically around 6%. This is not always the case! Sometimes the vendor will market the property at the same price as via an agent. Sometimes the vendor will go to test the market at an optimistic price first, before turning to the services of an agent. It is also worth mentioning that we have come across numerous private sales where many things that were expected to be part of a sale actually haven’t been included. This is where an agent will be on your side and ensure that you are getting what you expect.