Steps to Buying in France

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Any purchase of property in France must be done in France and must go through a public notary. The notary’s responsibility is to legalise the sale making sure that there are, amongst other things, no outstanding debts on the property.

Once a price is agreed regarding a property, a chosen notary will prepare a pre sales contract (called ‘compromis de vente’ in French). An agency pre sales contract can also be used. This pre sales contract will be the base for the sale. It will stipulate the buyer, the seller, the property, the price, any conditional clauses if any, the dates for the final act of sale (in general three months after the pre sales contract).

Once this pre sales contract is signed by both seller and buyer, the seller is bound. The buyer still has one week during which time he can pull out of the purchase without any given reason.

Once the cooling off period of one week has passed, the buyer must place a 10% down payment on the notary’s escrow account. From this point, if a buyer wants to pull out of the deal, he will lose his down payment. The notary will process all the necessary documentation, regularise the sale and arrange an appointment to sign the final act of sale. On the day of signature, on top of the price agreed, the buyer must pay the notary fees of 7% (these fees are not negotiable).

Once the final act of sale is completed, the transfer of title deeds is done. The keys are handed over at the signature of the final act of sale.

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