The ski season has just started and you cannot wait to head back to the ski slopes in your favourite French ski resort. You have been to the same ski resort for many years and you are now considering investing in the purchase of a ski chalet to be used as a holiday home and generate some rental income. You know well the area and has approached a local estate agent to find your dream property in the mountains. Your mortgage has been approved in principle and your offer has been accepted.
You are at the stage you may be asking yourself: do I need independent legal advice from a UK-based firm of solicitors? The answer to that will depend on your personal circumstances, your objectives and attitude towards risks of purchasing a property overseas.
From a strict conveyancing point of view, you do not need the services of UK-based solicitors as the conveyancing will be carried out by a French “notaire”. French conveyancing is an area of law reserved to “notaires” who are usually appointed by the seller or the developer.
Why using us? What added-value can we offer you during the French conveyancing process?
It may sound obvious, but we are usually instructed primarily for providing peace of mind. With over 15 year-experience advising international buyers in purchasing French properties and being bi-lingual, we can review your preliminary sale contract (“compromis de vente”, promise of sale) or deed of sale (“acte de vente”) in a quick turnaround. Even though you might have received a translation in English, we can explain the main terms, highlights any issues and make some additional recommendations if necessary so you can make an informed decision before you sign your contract like you would do if you were purchasing a property in the UK. If you need extra support, we can liaise on your behalf with estate agents, developers or notaires throughout each stage of the buying process. Buying a property overseas can be stressful, so having a supportive, responsive and efficient independent legal advisor is highly desirable.
Cross-border estate planning is another key area where we can advise you on. You might be concerned on who will inherit your French property when you die and on the amount of inheritance tax to pay in France but also in the UK (if you are UK-domiciled). We can advise you on French & English inheritance law as well as the appropriate purchase structure and whether you should have a separate will for your French property. We understand that every case is different and treat each client as an individual.
Finally, you might be concerned by the French tax implications (income tax, capital gains tax & social charges, wealth tax…) of renting out your ski chalet. The applicable taxation regime will differ in accordance with the level of your annual rental income but also in the way the property is rented out (furnished, unfurnished, para-hotel services, leaseback scheme). We can advise you on the French tax implications of renting out your property as well as on the different options of owning your property (direct ownership or via a French company).
If you are considering purchasing a ski property in France or your offer has just been accepted and you need independent legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact Loic Raboteau via email at email@example.com,uk or via tel on +44 (0) 2038655439.