Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Selling your French home - description!

In a recent case involving the private sale of a French apartment, the English owners offered the property 'as is' but included in the asking price certain items (refrigerator, microwave, beds etc) plus certain others that were offered separately, at a price to be negotiated. The property details included two lists - items that were included in the asking price, and the items offered separately.

An offer was received from a French couple, who intended marketng the apartment as a summer rental, and accepted by the owners. As they approached the preparation of the compromis de vente (pre-contract) the French buyers insisted that the apartment was offered 'fully furnished' and that their offer was based on that. No amount of discussion could convince them that the printed details, of which they had a copy, clearly noted which items were included and which were not. It took considerable negotiation to finally reach an agreement, the owners reluctantly conceding all but a few items they wished to retain, in the interests of concluding the deal and moving on.

Could the property details have been clearer? Perhaps with hindsight one could use the French word vide, to emphasise that the apartment was offered empty. This term however does need clarification and agreement between the parties, as it does not normally imply that the vendor can strip out fittings such as kitchen units, bathroom cabinets etc which are expected to be left behind.

However, in all situations, it seems advisable to list and agree the items that will be left behind, and those that the vendors wish to retain. Some of the latter could of course be offered for sale at a price to be agreed.