Can we use pounds for property sale?

If a house in France, owned by a British person living in France, is sold to a British UK resident, with both parties having UK bank accounts, is it possible to use sterling to pay for the transaction, transferring the money from one UK bank to another, avoiding currency exchange fees? J.L.

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Yes it is possible. Since the house is in France, the transfer of the title to the new owner must be done in France, making reference to euros as the currency, but with the transaction to be paid in sterling between you. French stamp duty and fees will have to be paid in euros.

You will need to find a notaire who is prepared to act in this way since the notaire will not be holding the funds and at the time of the final signature there will be delays to allow the time for the funds to transit from the buyer’s bank account to the seller’s.
However there are financial risks to this, since even though the contract may be signed by both of you, there is no guarantee the funds will be transferred, so you could find that you have sold the house and not had the money. You would then have to go to court to retrieve the money or the house. So, while it may seem appealing, this is not recommended and it may be preferable to transfer your money to France, using a currency specialist to avoid paying fees.

Reader's query answered by Hugh MacDonald

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