Friday, June 28, 2013

Selling privately? Precautions you should take.

One of the hazards of putting your French property on the market privately is that you thereby invite anyone and everyone to come and view your home. Here are a few precautions you should take.

- Do not trust anyone simply because they say they are interested in buying your home. It is well know that con-men and worse use private For Sale signs and adverts as a means of gaining entry into the homes of vulnerable people.

- If you advertise in the press or on line, and receive phone enquiries and requests to visit, gather as much information as you can about the would-be purchase - full name, address, phone number (preferably a landline not a mobile) when making an appointment to visit. 

- Never receive visitors alone, have your spouse present, a relation, neighbour, friend with you.At the very least alert a friend or neighbour close by, saying you will call them immediately after the visit. Immediate neighbours can also be your eyes and ears - for example, noting down a car registration number.

- If you have a For Sale sign outside your house, be particularly careful with unannounced visitors. If you are alone and in any doubt, do not answer the door or say you are expecting a visitor by appointment and the ask the caller(s) to come back later by appointment. At this point, take their details as noted above and if possible their car registration. You can then arrange a visit when someone else is with you.

- Do not be afraid to ask for the above information. Potential buyers who visit estate agents will hav their identiy and other details checked (including their ability to pay!) by the negotiator , and visits will be logged on the computer. These are essential precautions used particularly when negotiators accompany visitors to a remote or empty property. They are also used to fill-in the 'bon de visite' which the visitor signs as proof of being shown the property by the agent. (Many properties are advertised with more than one agent so this is an essential procedure to avoid later disputes).

NOTE: I recently posted the above information on the FrenchEntree forum following a press report of a young woman reported missing after advertising her property for sale and receiving a visitor. At the time of writing there is no further news of her wherabouts. The post was universally applauded by members of the FrenchEntree forum as sound advice.