Last week we brought you Top Ten Mistakes people make when buying an apartment in Paris part 1, and today we continue our guide and follow up with mistakes 6-10. Now might be the best time to buy that we’ve seen in decades due to the lower Euro, the low prices (compared to the past decade) and low mortgage rates. It’s a perfect storm waiting for you in France in your favor just waiting for you to find your dream flat in Paris. But doing your research and learning from the previous mistakes made by others will make your experience, more rewarding, safer, smarter and more fruitful. Please refer to 1-5 if you haven’t read those yet here before you continue further.
6. Don’t make too low an offer in the opening round of negotiations. You can blow it by insulting the seller if your offer is too low and out of the reasonable range. The seller may not even want to make a counter offer as most sellers price the property 5% to 10% above their ‘bottom line.’ And they may not take you to be a serious buyer. If a full price offer (100% of the asking price) is made to the seller, he is ‘morally obligated’ to accept it. If the property is worth owning and there is a risk that another buyer might be making an offer, don’t make the mistake of offering a lot less to save a small amount on a purchase that over time will appreciate and may only result in a few additional dollars more per month on your mortgage.
7. Taking friends’ advice instead of seeking professional advice and assistance. Maybe your friend is a real estate professional in France, but maybe not. Maybe your friend is simply someone who once made a purchase in France and thinks because she has experience, she is qualified to advise you. That’s not good enough. You are about to spend hundreds of thousands of euros on an asset you intend to have and enjoy a very long time. Don’t make the mistake of being ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ by not getting professional help and advice to see you through the process and protect you from making bad decisions.
8. Believing the published real estate statistics. Don’t believe what you read. Even if the statistics themselves don’t lie, there are too many variables to skew the real picture. The only real price guide are other properties on the market with similar characteristics. It’s always a case of ‘what the market can bear’ and then there is what the seller is willing to take — which may or may not be at market value. If the property is worth it to you, then don’t be afraid to pay the price.
9. Believing what the sellers’ agent tells you. The sellers’ agents have one goal in mind — selling the property. They do not care if the property works for you as the buyer and will sometimes say or do just about anything to make a sale. This is true for even the most trustworthy of agents. The only person you can trust is the person working for you.
10. ‘Getting cold feet.’ Don’t let fear of the future (the unknown) prevent you from living in the present and enjoying your hard-earned money by making a property purchase in France. Owning a property in France will broaden your world and change the way you think about life forever…plus it will be a good investment that you won’t regret making.
Note: Adrian Leeds is one of the most seasoned, knowledgeable, well-known and trusted Americans working in the real estate industry today in France. Her company, the Adrian Leeds Group, Inc. offers a full range of property services ‘for’ Americans, ‘by’ Americans. She can be seen regularly on episodes of House Hunter’s International.