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It’s Insurance, So Why Take the Risk?

Volume XXII, Issue 16

Panoramic view of the terrace on the apartment in Nice Adrian Leeds is purchasing

Yesterday I met with our Niçois Notaire, Carole Vangioni, to thoroughly review the “Compromis de Vente” (pre-sale) of the apartment I am purchasing in Nice.

One of the reasons I am purchasing the apartment (aside from the fact that it’s a fabulous apartment worth owning) is that it’s a way of moving more assets to my daughter’s inheritance tax free. I’ll structure the purchase in a way that she will have the ownership, even though I’ll have full rights of usage until my death, and then when that happens, it will be hers with no taxes to pay.

The meeting with Maître Vangioni was exhaustive because there was much to discuss to ensure no future issues with the property. She is one of the best in the business who really watches for the crossing of every T and the dotting of every I. People purchasing in France without assistance from advisors and consultants, such as us, risk making mistakes. The seller’s agent doesn’t get paid to care about the buyer and won’t. Fortunately, I know what questions to ask and along with a good Notaire, can feel confident.

Niçois Notaire, Carole Vangioni

Niçois Notaire, Carole Vangioni

For example, as we were reviewing the documentation, Carole pointed out that the seller’s purchase documents from 2006 had not denoted the existing veranda at all and remarked that the Notaire had not done his job. This means the seller overlooked this very important detail when purchasing the apartment. We would not have missed that. And because it wasn’t noted on the deed, a lot of research needed to be done to ensure that it was sanctioned by the Syndic and the city to avoid any future problems. Also, I may want to add another veranda on the terrace, so it was important to me to see if the chances are good that will be accepted.

The apartment's veranda

An exterioer view of The apartment's veranda

An exterior view of The apartment’s veranda

Carole was very thorough and therefore her document was about 50 pages. I wrote six pages in my little notebook myself. We covered the issues surrounding a leak from the terrace that had damaged the apartment below—what the cause was, who was responsible for it, how it would be repaired and paid for, etc. We discussed the upcoming “ravalement” (resurfacing) of the building—that it had been voted and paid for, but won’t start until October of this year. She informed me that the AC compressor had been installed on the roof without authorization, but had never caused an issue, however remains a risk. We looked at every tiny detail until we were sure this would make a good purchase.

I learned that the quarterly condo fees are exactly in line with the average of about 45€ per square meter per year. (Very inexpensive, right?) The seller has agreed to hold 5% as a deposit in escrow with the Notaire, but should I default, I’ll be on the hook for 10%. This is fairly standard. The apartment registers an “E” on the DPE rating which is just below the recommended rating, but can be fixed by doing a better job of insulating the walls, windows and ceiling.

Chart for the French DPE rating system

In the final review, I asked, “Do you agree this is a good property to purchase,” to which she replied, “If you don’t buy it, I will!” That clinched the deal for me with one exception. I want to be absolutely sure that I can get a good floor plan out of it to maximize the space.

This is why next week before I sign the pre-sale agreement, I’ve authorized an architect with whom we work closely to present possible floor plans and our Interior Designer Martine di Mattéo is already working up ideas. To have the exact dimensions of the apartment and all its rooms I authorized a complete measurement of the apartment by a professional. This is the investment I must make to ensure the space will work the way I want it to.

Someone at last weekend’s International Living conference, when discussing this preliminary research, was surprised at the idea of spending money in advance of purchasing the apartment on an architect and designer. I was equally surprised by the notion that I wouldn’t! How will I know if spending hundreds of thousands of euros is worth it if I don’t make this one small investment?

The apartment in Nice's grand terrace

The apartment’s grand terrace

This is the same for our potential clients who don’t value our consultation time and fee paid in advance of embarking on a move to France or purchasing property in a country with which they are not yet familiar. How shortsighted is that? It’s insurance, is it not? And why would you want to take the risk?

The signing is projected to take place at the end of the month. The due diligence will have been done once I see floor plans! If you have already committed to purchasing a property, but would like “insurance” such as what we provide, visit our Purchase Transaction Assistance page to learn more on how we can protect you from making costly mistakes!

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds screenshot from House Hunters InternationalAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. If you’d like to see the presentation I made at the International Living’s Fast Track Europe Conference we attended last week, click here.


1 Comment

  1. Margot Desannoy on April 18, 2024 at 3:39 pm

    Bonjour Adrian! J’aime beaucoup votre joli apartement a Nice. Toutes nos félicitations😀🇫🇷🍷

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