Buying ‘Off-plan’ seems like a ‘win-win’ situation; the developer gets his money early, you get a discounted price and personal input into the specifications.
But we would advise you to instruct an independent solicitor to act for you – one who is not linked to the estate agent or developer. Whereas an English solicitor will automatically ask certain questions on your behalf, a French notaire is not quite so proactive and you you will have to ask them to ask certain questions.
The ‘big three ‘ questions which must be asked are:
- Does the builder have planning permission?
- Is the builder contractually obliged to give compensation if he doesn’t honour the completion dates for the various ‘tranches’ of the development. You might want to stipulate a maximum or indeed minimum period of time for moving in – both to avoid costly delays and to avoid having to move in before you are ready.
- Is there a bank guarantee in place so that you will get money back if something goes wrong?