If you’ve been following my blog, you know that we just bought a house and moved. Well, 95 percent moved. Luckily we’re in the same town so the things that remain at the apartment won’t be a big deal to get over here. But actually unpacking the boxes? Well, that IS a big deal. They’re taking up space in our garage at present. A loooot of space.
Anyway, before I get back to that, I wanted to share a few facts and other things I found interesting while going through the home buying process in France.
What you don’t know about buying a house in France and the moving process
First, let me say that my in-laws are moving stars. If there was a reality TV show (is there already?) on people who are really skilled movers, they would win. I’m sure of it. My mother-in-law is super organized and a cleaning machine and my father-in-law is extremely handy and just never stops moving and packing and running around. They don’t even read my blog but I have to tell the internet how much I appreciate their help. Otherwise, I’d still be on the elevator trying to figure out how to get the fridge out the door.
Note: I’m not an expert on French real estate and am just sharing my experience about buying a house in France, so this list isn’t the end all and be all of buying a home and moving in France by any means.
Here are a few of my observations on buying a house in France as an American:
- Home inspections (beyond the required energy/gas and a few other obligatory things) aren’t common here and the overwhelming majority of French people buy homes without having the roof, foundation, plumbing, etc. checked over by a professional. The French will also tell you a more thorough inspection isn’t really necessary.To give some context, my parents recently sold their home in the U.S. and the detailed home inspection turned up a faulty window lock, a door knob that didn’t turn properly, a light socket that didn’t work right and other minor things. It’s common in the U.S. for the seller to fix these issues or for a credit to be given toward the home’s cost. Not in France. If you do an inspection (I paid for one because it seems foolish not to), anything that turns up can be presented to the seller, but in most cases, homes are sold “as-is” and it is the buyer’s responsibility to fix things once they’ve moved in. You surely won’t get money from the seller. So for instance, in our home, we have to have a roofer repair a few pieces of slate around the chimney and a few other little things. They’re not super expensive repairs, but will be things we have to get taken care of.
- At the closing, which is handled by a notary, there’s no negotiating ahead of time for the seller to pay any of the buyer’s closing fees. This is apparently common in the U.S. and something I saw when I caught up on a little HGTV in the U.S. Anything is negotiable in theory, but this is not a common practice in France at all.
- If you’re moving in France, the buyer pays the real estate agent’s commission. And these range but ours was was about 7.5% of the purchase price.
- Banks are slow. While I’ve never purchased a house in the U.S. and don’t have a frame of reference for this, buying a house in France takes quite a while. Sure, the fact that banks are closed on Mondays in many cases and close for lunch may have something to do with the delay, but does it really take a couple of months for a loan to be processed? I guess so!
- Neighbors don’t bake you a cake. There’s no welcome wagon. No introductions. I guess the French don’t have a reputation for being the warmest group of people, but I thought some neighbors would at least say hi! I was wrong and Tom told me that it would be unusual even for me to go knock on someone’s door to introduce myself (relates to his post on social differences). While this varies depending o where you live in the U.S., I feel that in suburban neighborhoods at least, it’s normal to welcome newcomers. Not here. I will be knocking on their doors. Hahha.
- When moving in France, it’s normal to have a washer in the kitchen, a toilet separate from the sink in the bathroom and a small fridge, but we managed to find a house with space for a washer and dryer in the laundry room, space for a full-size fridge and two bathrooms with a sink in the same room as the toilet! Guess we got lucky there!
Anyway, as always, thanks for reading! 😉
Anything on this list surprise you? Do you have anything to add about buying a house in France?
Photo credit: GloriaGarcía / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND