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Old 24.11.2016, 18:15
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swiss, investing in french real estate

Hello!

I'm a young guy from Geneva who's worked for 2 years in Switzerland and have a nice little sum saved up. I would really like to invest it, and since I am scared of investing in the stock market right now as i feel there will be an imminent crash soon, I'm thinking of real estate, and as you know swiss real estate is very high, to high for me to be able to invest in. Naturally, I think of the closest possible solution, which is France...

I have been eyeing a couple possible studios, especially in Annemasse, where the ceva train project will be built and where the tram line 12 will be prolonged. the studios are all around 80-90k.

Thoughts? Has any body here done something similar before? Any advice? Also welcome to taking any advice about other ways i could invest my money?

Appreciate any help
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Old 24.11.2016, 18:21
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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Hello!

I'm a young guy from Geneva who's worked for 2 years in Switzerland and have a nice little sum saved up. I would really like to invest it, and since I am scared of investing in the stock market right now as i feel there will be an imminent crash soon, I'm thinking of real estate, and as you know swiss real estate is very high, to high for me to be able to invest in. Naturally, I think of the closest possible solution, which is France...

I have been eyeing a couple possible studios, especially in Annemasse, where the ceva train project will be built and where the tram line 12 will be prolonged. the studios are all around 80-90k.

Thoughts? Has any body here done something similar before? Any advice? Also welcome to taking any advice about other ways i could invest my money?

Appreciate any help
The costs & taxes when buying are about 10%
Service charges could easily be 4k a year
Annual taxes 1k plus
CGT for first 23 years of ownership on a sale
Social charges on a sale for the first 30 years of ownership.
Agents fees on a sale with VAT could be 10%
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Old 24.11.2016, 19:51
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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Agents fees on a sale with VAT could be 10%
Wrong. We're just selling a flat in France and it's the buyers who pay the agency. 5% agency fee, not 10%.
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Old 24.11.2016, 21:06
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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Wrong. We're just selling a flat in France and it's the buyers who pay the agency. 5% agency fee, not 10%.
You will find on lower transactions the fees are higher.... The OP is talking about a very cheap apartment.

When I bought a place in France, the seller ended up paying the agent 8% plus TVA thats roughly 9.6%.
5% plus TVA is roughly 6% which is money the buyer is paying that does not go in the sellers pocket.

Perhaps you would state the transaction value your talking about, then we can see if it's relevant for the OP or not. Please also state which department in France as who pays what varies by area.
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Old 24.11.2016, 21:07
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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Wrong. We're just selling a flat in France and it's the buyers who pay the agency. 5% agency fee, not 10%.

Pssst, I think the guy wants to buy
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Old 24.11.2016, 21:37
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

so, you dont think it is a good idea?
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Old 24.11.2016, 21:42
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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Pssst, I think the guy wants to buy
Psst, read the post. Fmf answered this:

"Agents fees on a sale with VAT could be 10%"
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Old 24.11.2016, 21:42
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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so, you dont think it is a good idea?
Depends what it's for & why, as a rental investment for sure not.
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Old 24.11.2016, 21:46
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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so, you dont think it is a good idea?
Personally, I always think real estate is a good idea. If you're buying to rent out, you may need an agency to take care of the tenants, deal with maintenance issues, etc. This will cost you a percentage of your rental income. But there is always demand.
It always comes down to the location. You need to do some research ...
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Old 24.11.2016, 21:59
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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Psst, read the post. Fmf answered this:

"Agents fees on a sale with VAT could be 10%"
I know you not the brightest spark here, but I will try to humor you.

Estate agents fees are generally in the 5-10% range PLUS TVA, on a lower price sub 100K apartment the amount will be close to 10% with TVA included.

There is an advantage to the seller paying the fees as the property is proportionately cheaper & Notary fees are charged as a percentage of the purchase price.
Notary fees are only 3% of a new build, when the property is over 5 years old the costs will be in the 8-12% range.
You have not said if your sale was in department 74 where the OP is thinking of buying.
If you believe the fees could ever cost the seller nothing, you are delusional.
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Old 24.11.2016, 22:04
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

You are not the nicest person on EF, but I will try to remain polite.

We are selling a flat in the 74 dept. and WE ARE NOT PAYING THE AGENCY FEES, THE BUYER IS. THE AGENCY FEE IS AT 5%.

There, perhaps that is a little clearer.

There is an advantage to having the buyer pay the fees when selling as it helps to avoid paying tax on profit made from the sale (which you have to pay if it is not your primary residence).
Do you actually know anything about the French property market, or are you making it up?

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I know you not the brightest spark here, but I will try to humor you.

Estate agents fees are generally in the 5-10% range PLUS TVA, on a lower price sub 100K apartment the amount will be close to 10% with TVA included.

You have not said if your sale was in department 74 where the OP is thinking of buying.
If you believe the fees could ever cost the seller nothing, you are delusional.
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Old 24.11.2016, 22:07
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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I know you not the brightest spark here, but I will try to humor you.

Estate agents fees are generally in the 5-10% range PLUS TVA, on a lower price sub 100K apartment the amount will be close to 10% with TVA included.

There is an advantage to the seller paying the fees as the property is proportionately cheaper & Notary fees are charged as a percentage of the purchase price.
Notary fees are only 3% of a new build, when the property is over 5 years old the costs will be in the 8-12% range.
You have not said if your sale was in department 74 where the OP is thinking of buying.
If you believe the fees could ever cost the seller nothing, you are delusional.
In regards to taxes, do you know if I will have to pay them to switzerland or to france? do you have any idea how it would be calculated? I can't find an answer online.

Also do you think it is better to buy one apartment cash or to get a loan to buy 2 apartments to rent?

I appreciate the help...
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Old 24.11.2016, 22:15
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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You are not the nicest person on EF, but I will try to remain polite.

We are selling a flat in the 74 dept. and WE ARE NOT PAYING THE AGENCY FEES, THE BUYER IS. THE AGENCY FEE IS AT 5%.

There, perhaps that is a little clearer.

There is an advantage to having the buyer pay the fees when selling as it helps to avoid paying tax on profit made from the sale (which you have to pay if it is not your primary residence).
Do you actually know anything about the French property market, or are you making it up?
How much taxes do you have to pay on the sale? I feel like it would be very hard or impossible to make profit on reselling a house in france due to taxes.
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Old 24.11.2016, 22:33
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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How much taxes do you have to pay on the sale? I feel like it would be very hard or impossible to make profit on reselling a house in france due to taxes.
We are selling at profit and avoiding capital gains tax. If you hold on to your property for 5 years (this is to avoid speculation), the amount of tax then begins to reduce each year (by 6%, see below).

Are you thinking of using the place for weekend ski-ing or renting it to friends? It really depends whether you are interested in ever living there, or if it is just a placement.

Also, bear in mind that interest rates are on the rise. I spoke to a friend who works for the BNP, and they are snowed under with acquisitions, as people want to borrow while the rates are still low. This means lots of people are buying, and probably slightly raising prices. It has been a slow year in general for real estate.

"(a). Capital Gains Tax

The basic rate of capital gains tax is 19%.

Tapered relief against the tax is granted over 22 years of ownership, commencing from the 6th year of ownership, as follows:

No allowance for the first 5 years of ownership.
Between 6 and 21 years of ownership: 6% allowance per year."

Last edited by Britething; 24.11.2016 at 22:38. Reason: adding info.
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Old 24.11.2016, 22:41
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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We are selling at profit and avoiding capital gains tax. If you hold on to your property for 5 years (this is to avoid speculation), the amount of tax then begins to reduce each year (by 6%, see below).

Are you thinking of using the place for weekend ski-ing or renting it to friends? It really depends whether you are interested in ever living there, or if it is just a placement.

Also, bear in mind that interest rates are on the rise. I spoke to a friend who works for the BNP, and they are snowed under with acquisitions, as people want to borrow while the rates are still low. This means lots of people are buying, and probably slightly raising prices. It has been a slow year in general for real estate.

"(a). Capital Gains Tax

The basic rate of capital gains tax is 19%.

Tapered relief against the tax is granted over 22 years of ownership, commencing from the 6th year of ownership, as follows:

No allowance for the first 5 years of ownership.
Between 6 and 21 years of ownership: 6% allowance per year."
No I am rather thinking of letting an agency take care of the appartement and collect the monthly rent, instead of letting my money sit in my account doing nothing... Was your property for rental or residence?
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Old 24.11.2016, 22:48
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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Wrong. We're just selling a flat in France and it's the buyers who pay the agency. 5% agency fee, not 10%.
Serious query, we'll be selling a house in France next year (also in 74) and have been told that as sellers the agents fees will be ~5%, and that before we get into notary fees, etc.How are you managing to avoid this and making the buyer pay it instead?
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Old 24.11.2016, 22:52
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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You are not the nicest person on EF, but I will try to remain polite.

We are selling a flat in the 74 dept. and WE ARE NOT PAYING THE AGENCY FEES, THE BUYER IS. THE AGENCY FEE IS AT 5%.

There, perhaps that is a little clearer.

There is an advantage to having the buyer pay the fees when selling as it helps to avoid paying tax on profit made from the sale (which you have to pay if it is not your primary residence).
Do you actually know anything about the French property market, or are you making it up?
As agents fees are deductible from French CGT it makes no difference if the price is higher as the profit it the same.

You need to give an indication of the sale price of your property as fees are tapered. I suspect for 5% fees plus TVA, the sale price is substantially above 90k

I have owned property in department 74 since 1999 if that helps answer your question.

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Serious query, we'll be selling a house in France next year (also in 74) and have been told that as sellers the agents fees will be ~5%, and that before we get into notary fees, etc.How are you managing to avoid this and making the buyer pay it instead?
Whilst it's more usual for sellers to pay the fees, anything is possible by negotiation. The net price you receive is likely to be the same as the seller will pay a lower price if he has to add 5% fees, probably substantially lower than the 5% as the 5% has to be cash rather than part of the mortgage.
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We are selling at profit and avoiding capital gains tax. If you hold on to your property for 5 years (this is to avoid speculation), the amount of tax then begins to reduce each year (by 6%, see below).

Are you thinking of using the place for weekend ski-ing or renting it to friends? It really depends whether you are interested in ever living there, or if it is just a placement.

Also, bear in mind that interest rates are on the rise. I spoke to a friend who works for the BNP, and they are snowed under with acquisitions, as people want to borrow while the rates are still low. This means lots of people are buying, and probably slightly raising prices. It has been a slow year in general for real estate.

"(a). Capital Gains Tax

The basic rate of capital gains tax is 19%.

Tapered relief against the tax is granted over 22 years of ownership, commencing from the 6th year of ownership, as follows:

No allowance for the first 5 years of ownership.
Between 6 and 21 years of ownership: 6% allowance per year."
Was this a main residence that is free from CGT?

You don't mention social costs in addition to the CGT? There was talk about this was an illegal tax for non residents, however it appears to still be collected.

There is also a supplementary CGT for profits above 50k an additional 2% rising to 6% above 250k making the total CGT & Social payments upto 40.5%

When I bought it was free of CGT after 15 years, then the rules changed to 30 years which has reduced to 23 years plus additional social charges (30 years) & the extra 2-6%. What the taxes will be in the future is anyone's guess.

The thing in France, you never actually know how much you will receive until the Notary pays you out, often more taxes retained than expected.

Last edited by fatmanfilms; 24.11.2016 at 23:16.
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Old 24.11.2016, 23:02
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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Serious query, we'll be selling a house in France next year (also in 74) and have been told that as sellers the agents fees will be ~5%, and that before we get into notary fees, etc.How are you managing to avoid this and making the buyer pay it instead?
We negotiated with the agency from the outset, and told them the price we wanted "net vendeur". Although they tried for 6% initially, we told them it would be 5% as we wanted the buyer to foot the bill (to avoid capital gains tax) but that we also needed to raise a certain sum from the sale to finance another project. At the same time, we didn't want to push the sales price out of the bracket in that area.
Sales were slow last year, although interest rates were low, and it took us just over a year to sell.
From the buyer's perspective, paying the agency directly means they are not paying the "frais de notaires" (which actually go to the state for the most part, not the notary) on the full amount of the transaction. Win-win.

"Les frais d’agence sont-ils forcément à la charge du vendeur?
Par Valérie Valin-Stein

QUESTION-RÉPONSE - Lorsque vous faites appel à un agent immobilier pour vendre, vous lui versez naturellement une commission. Celle-ci est contractuellement à la charge du vendeur. Cependant, il est tout à fait possible de prévoir une répartition différente de cette dépense lors de la conclusion de la vente.

Vendre aux meilleures conditions
En pratique, le mandat signé avec l’agence immobilière précise que le vendeur doit s’acquitter de cette commission. En effet il décide de manière indépendante de mandater l’intermédiaire et de ce fait, engage sa responsabilité sur cette rémunération. C’est la raison pour laquelle cette commission est souvent répercutée sur le prix de vente du bien immobilier.
Le montant de cette dépense joue donc un rôle important dans le choix de l'intermédiaire. Lorsque vous choisissez l'agence à laquelle vous confiez votre bien, vous devez prendre en considération le montant de la commission et son impact. En effet, lorsqu’elle s'ajoute au prix demandé pour le bien immobilier cela peut le rendre moins attractif sur le marché!
La commission d’agence
La prestation d’un agent immobilier se situe généralement entre 6 et 8% du prix de vente lorsque vous passez par un acteur "traditionnel" (agence avec pignon sur rue, réseau professionnel…). Elle peut être inférieure (de 1 à 3%) si vous faites appel à une agence dite "low cost".
Au moment de la signature de l'avant-contrat le vendeur reporte généralement cette charge sur l'acheteur. Dès lors, il est important de distinguer le prix de vente de l’habitation du montant de la commission. En effet, cela permet à l'acheteur de limiter le paiement des droits fiscaux (droits d'enregistrement...) au prix de la vente et de ne pas y intégrer la commission. Ainsi, malgré l’engagement contractuel initial, c’est très souvent à l'acquéreur qu'incombe le paiement la commission. En pratique, rien n'interdit de prévoir un partage de la commission entre vendeur et acheteur."
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Old 24.11.2016, 23:28
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

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We negotiated with the agency from the outset, and told them the price we wanted "net vendeur". Although they tried for 6% initially, we told them it would be 5% as we wanted the buyer to foot the bill (to avoid capital gains tax) but that we also needed to raise a certain sum from the sale to finance another project. At the same time, we didn't want to push the sales price out of the bracket in that area.
Sales were slow last year, although interest rates were low, and it took us just over a year to sell.
From the buyer's perspective, paying the agency directly means they are not paying the "frais de notaires" (which actually go to the state for the most part, not the notary) on the full amount of the transaction. Win-win.

"Les frais d’agence sont-ils forcément à la charge du vendeur?
Par Valérie Valin-Stein

QUESTION-RÉPONSE - Lorsque vous faites appel à un agent immobilier pour vendre, vous lui versez naturellement une commission. Celle-ci est contractuellement à la charge du vendeur. Cependant, il est tout à fait possible de prévoir une répartition différente de cette dépense lors de la conclusion de la vente.

Vendre aux meilleures conditions
En pratique, le mandat signé avec l’agence immobilière précise que le vendeur doit s’acquitter de cette commission. En effet il décide de manière indépendante de mandater l’intermédiaire et de ce fait, engage sa responsabilité sur cette rémunération. C’est la raison pour laquelle cette commission est souvent répercutée sur le prix de vente du bien immobilier.
Le montant de cette dépense joue donc un rôle important dans le choix de l'intermédiaire. Lorsque vous choisissez l'agence à laquelle vous confiez votre bien, vous devez prendre en considération le montant de la commission et son impact. En effet, lorsqu’elle s'ajoute au prix demandé pour le bien immobilier cela peut le rendre moins attractif sur le marché!
La commission d’agence
La prestation d’un agent immobilier se situe généralement entre 6 et 8% du prix de vente lorsque vous passez par un acteur "traditionnel" (agence avec pignon sur rue, réseau professionnel…). Elle peut être inférieure (de 1 à 3%) si vous faites appel à une agence dite "low cost".
Au moment de la signature de l'avant-contrat le vendeur reporte généralement cette charge sur l'acheteur. Dès lors, il est important de distinguer le prix de vente de l’habitation du montant de la commission. En effet, cela permet à l'acheteur de limiter le paiement des droits fiscaux (droits d'enregistrement...) au prix de la vente et de ne pas y intégrer la commission. Ainsi, malgré l’engagement contractuel initial, c’est très souvent à l'acquéreur qu'incombe le paiement la commission. En pratique, rien n'interdit de prévoir un partage de la commission entre vendeur et acheteur."
Haha, you have contradicted what you wrote earlier, perhaps you thought writing in French would help you

'QUESTION-RÉPONSE - Lorsque vous faites appel à un agent immobilier pour vendre, vous lui versez naturellement une commission. Celle-ci est contractuellement à la charge du vendeur. Cependant, il est tout à fait possible de prévoir une répartition différente de cette dépense lors de la conclusion de la vente'

Roughly translated Question - Answer - When you use a real estate agent to sell, you naturally pay him a commission. This is contractually the responsibility of the seller. However, it is quite possible to provide for a different distribution of this expenditure when the sale is concluded

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Wrong. We're just selling a flat in France and it's the buyers who pay the agency. 5% agency fee, not 10%.
Sometimes it's better to say nothing
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Old 30.11.2016, 10:48
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Re: swiss, investing in french real estate

Why would you put all your eggs in one basket with a high-risk investment in a potentially illiquid asset?

Thee are many ways to 'invest' in the stock market, which do not rely on picking a stock and hoping it goes up

You have a good piece of capital, if I were you I would invest some of it in yourself by learning how to make money in financial markets, then you can put your savings to use in a diversified and less risky venture than throwing it all into one investment in property.

Start with: www.tastytrade.com if you want a mountain of free education about how to manage your own money in a sustainable way
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