Prop­erty di­rec­tory

Living France - - Contents -

A guide to the buy­ing process, plus prop­er­ties for sale and to let in France

Whether you’re look­ing for a ren­o­va­tion project, the per­fect hol­i­day bolt-hole or that château you’ve al­ways dreamed of, Liv­ing France’s prop­erty di­rec­tory should be the first place to look. To help you hit the ground run­ning, we’ve put to­gether a back-to-ba­sics guide to buy­ing a French prop­erty. Bonne chance!


Ven­dor and buyer agree on the price and terms of con­tract, in­clud­ing any con­di­tional clauses ( clauses sus­pen­sives) and any fur­ni­ture in­cluded in the sale.

Agent’s fees ( les frais d’agence) are usu­ally in­cluded in the price and as such, paid by the buyer. Check this is the case. The no­taire’s fixed fees plus tax ( les frais de no­taire) are also usu­ally paid by the buyer and are on top of the pur­chase price. When buy­ing pri­vately, there will be no agent’s fees but no­taire’s fees will still ap­ply. The pre­lim­i­nary sales con­tract

( com­pro­mis de vente) is drawn up by the agent or no­taire and signed by both par­ties. If the buyer is buy­ing pri­vately from a ven­dor, it’s the no­taire who draws up the con­tract.

The buyer pays the de­posit (usu­ally 5-10% of the pur­chase price) to the no­taire and a 10-day cool­ing off pe­riod en­sues, dur­ing which the buyer can with­draw (but the ven­dor can­not) and af­ter which the con­tract is legally bind­ing. If the buyer pulls out af­ter this, he for­feits his de­posit. If you are go­ing to buy with a mort­gage,

now is the time to put in your ap­pli­ca­tion. How­ever, it is wise to ap­ply for a mort­gage in prin­ci­ple be­fore you start your prop­erty hunt, to avoid dis­ap­point­ment later.

If you are tak­ing out a mort­gage, this will be a con­di­tion of the pre­lim­i­nary sales con­tract, giv­ing you the pos­si­bil­ity of pulling out should your ap­pli­ca­tion be turned down. Once the of­fer is of­fi­cial, it will be con­firmed to the no­taire and the con­tract be­comes un­con­di­tional.

The no­taire han­dles the con­veyanc­ing, which typ­i­cally takes two to three months. When all the pa­per­work is ready, the no­taire con­firms the date and time of the sign­ing of the acte de vente.

Re­ports on lead, as­bestos and flood zones (and in some ar­eas, ter­mites) are manda­tory; the ven­dor pays for th­ese. An en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency re­port (known as a DPE, or di­ag­nos­tic de per­for­mance én­ergé­tique) is now also manda­tory, while a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter risk re­port ( état des risques na­turels et tech­nologiques) has to be pro­vided in ad­di­tion. It spec­i­fies whether the prop­erty is within an area where there is a risk of flood­ing or other nat­u­ral or tech­no­log­i­cal dis­as­ter or ac­ci­dent.

The buyer trans­fers the bal­ance of pay­ment to the no­taire prior to com­ple­tion. On the day of com­ple­tion, all par­ties meet the no­taire to sign the con­tract (the buyer can ap­point a proxy). Keys and an at­tes­ta­tion de vente are handed over and own­er­ship is trans­ferred. The fi­nal acte de vente pa­pers are sent out around six months later.

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