16th January 2011

Estate agents and solicitors. An inscrutable bunch. You never know where you stand with them. And their charges! But, whatever you do, don't tell the English lot what the French charge, or there'll be a riot.
Typical English charges: solicitor's fee for selling your house - 700 pounds plus VAT (now 20% - can you believe it?); estate agent's fee - 1.5% of asking price.
Typical French charges: notaire (solicitor's) fee to the buyer only: 18,000 euros. Yes, you heard it. 18,000! Apparently, most of this goes to M. Sarkozy, not to the notaire. Estate agent's fee to the seller only - 6% of asking price. So, for a house selling for 200,000 euros, the agent picks up 12,000 euros.
So, all in all, the French win hands down. Mind you, the French agents in particular work hard for their money. Not only do they accompany all viewings, they arrange notaire appointments, attend all signing appointments at the notaire's office, acting as translator where necessary, and meet all parties back at the new house after the signing.
Him Indoors says he remembers that old solicitor's firm in the UK called Sue, Grabbit and Run. Enough said!

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