Buying the flat

 So when you buy a new flat there are pros and cons.

The pros are that you're buying something that conforms to the latest standards of safety, insulation, etc. In theory the place will be well built with no great defects. In the event of serious defects there is an insurance backed guarantee for ten years. For less serious issues you have a year to identify them and get the builder to rectify them.

Not only that, but much of the legal shenanigans that are involved in a house purchase are done on applying for planning permission - I mean things like checking for risks of flooding (ha ha) or industrial accidents, for nuclear risks, for polluted soils, for old mineworkings, etc etc. This means that the legal costs involved in buying a new place are much less.

So some people argue that you don't need the services of a Notaire. Notaires cost money, so if you don't need one why have one? I thought about this and decided I wanted someone on our side in scrutinising the flat purchase, so I found one with a good reputation and emailed to ask him to act for us. He phoned me straight away and said that that would be fine, and so it went.

A disadvantage is that you pay for the flat in instalments. A small deposit when you sign to reserve the flat. A percentage when you sign the contract. Another percentage on completion of various stages - the completion of the foundations, the laying of the first floor, the second floor, etc... The scheme's architect certifies that the work has been accomplished and you get sent a bill, called an "Appel de fonds".

We were due to sign the contract at the end of January, but there was some problem with the documentation, so it didn't happen. Meanwhile the building was progressing well. We saw the completion of the foundations and the building start to rise - the ground floor car park, then the first floor apartments, then they started on our floor.

Then we were told that we were ready to sign to buy. We arranged an appointment with our Notaire and contacted the bak to transfer the first instalment - 30% of the price of the flat.

Then covid struck. Our signing got pushed back a week, but the money was in the notaire's client account ready.

Meanwhile we were sent illustrations of the various tiles and floor coverings available for the bathroom and toilet and for the rest of the flat. We pondered the shades of grey, beige and marbled white and the different tones of parquet flooring and made our choice. We selected a vague "Hall of the Mountain King" theme for most of the flat with "Liberace's boudoir" in the toilet and bathroom.

The day came to sign. Our notaire is a young chap, educated at the Sorbonne, and very personable. I remembered to greet him properly: 'Bonjour Maître', "Au revoir Maître", but the tone of the session was informal. We pondered the grave risk of flooding. He observed that we were on the second floor and I informed him that we were both able to swim. 

Since then we have had to notifications that the ground floor and first floor have been completed. I contacted the bank to arrange the transfer of the next amount of money. When that has been transferred we will have paid for half of the flat.

It's due for completion at end of March 2023. I expect to move in some time around Easter.


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