Who Should Draft the Compromis de Vente?

It is true that French estate agents (agents immobiliers) by law are permitted to draw up the compromis the vente, which is the contract of sale in France. In fact, a buyer and seller could even agree the terms of the sale between them on the back of a napkin! But that does not mean it’s a good idea. Most [...]

How to Avoid Gazumping in France

When I lived in London the conversation during after-work drinks inevitably would turn to house hunting frustrations. There was always someone drowning their sorrows after just having been outbid at the last minute. No surprise that the English adopted the satisfyingly resonant Yiddish expression gezumph to name the devastating experience of having your dream property snatched away by a competitor right [...]

Buying Property in Provence: Viewings

House purchase negotiations are a delicate process anywhere in the world. Tempers easily flare and communications can break down because of misunderstandings or hurt feelings. When you don’t speak French fluently and don’t know the ins and outs of French customs and the French real estate market, then things could go wrong even quicker when buying property in Provence or [...]

Provence Property: Why Hire a Buyer’s Agent?

An exclusive buyer's agent or property finder is a local property expert who does not list properties for sale and exclusively represents buyers in their search and acquisition. They negotiate the lowest possible price and best conditions on their clients' behalf, pre-screen properties for clients, point out any potential problems and protect their clients' interests throughout. True buyer's agents are [...]

French Property and the Free Search Myth

If you've been searching for French property for a while and find the system confusing, then you're not alone. On the face of it things in France seem to work the same way as in the UK, Australia, America or Holland. Maybe you contacted an estate agent assuming that they had access to all property listings? Or did you think [...]

Marseille or Aix-en-Provence? Give me both!

One of the favourite pastimes of the Aixois is fervently discussing the town's many qualities. They cite the climate, culture and architecture; rave about the shopping and surrounding countryside; and compare notes on their favourite Luberon village, Mediterranean beach, local wine and restaurant. When we first moved here, I would often enthusiastically add how wonderful it was to also have [...]

How to Avoid Buying the Wrong House in Provence

(This article previously appeared in FrenchEntrée Magazine May/June 2015) We all know that house hunting is an emotional experience and that the majority of house buying decisions is made on first impressions alone. The first thing most of my clients will say is that a house must "feel right". There’s nothing wrong with listening to your instinct, as long as [...]

Provence: Falling for the Real Luberon

Before we moved to France I had read Peter Mayle’s account of his idyllic year in the Luberon region of Provence, and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, when planning our great escape from the grey-skied rat-race that is the City of London we never contemplated moving to the Luberon. Somehow it all seemed too much of a trodden path. A brief [...]