Tuesday, August 11, 2009

French property sold furnished - or not?

Many properties, especially small apartments and second homes, are frequently offered for sale complete with furniture. This can be a mixed blessing as many holiday apartments and villas, designed only for occasional use or for letting, have a tendancy to be furnished with rejects from the (French) owner's main home, and may include a lot of junk that it will be the new owner's job to remove. British and Scandinavian owned properties tend to be more stylish.

If there is a significant quantity of furniture and equipment (such as a washing machine, fridge etc) included in the sale price, it should be listed and itemised to avoid any later disagreements about what was or was not included. It is possible to add a value to each item listed and deduct the total from the sale price of the property: this will marginally reduce the value of the property itself for taxation and land registration purposes.

Disputes often arise about what can or cannot be removed by the owner/vendor between the signature of the 'compromis de vente' and the final sales act. Certain items are regarded as forming part of the property's normal structure and cannot be removed. These include doors, windows, sanitary ware, boilers and heating equipment. The owner can however, without express agreement of the purchaser, remove kitchen equipment, bathrooms fittings, curtain rails, light fittings etc, provided this can be done without materially damaging the property.

It is essential therefore to reach agreement beforehand and visit the property, accompanied by the agent, on the day of signing the final sales act, to ensure that only those items expressly agreed have in fact been removed, and you are prepared to accept the property in the state in which you find it.