Buying Property in France

Beynac House

The Real Estate Registration system in France is fairly straightforward and efficient. First of all, it is important to realise the functions of the "Notaire" in real estate transactions.

The Notaire

The notaire is the French lawyer who specializes in property matters.  He is a public official, with powers delegated by the State to authenticate the deeds he drafts, and to provide complete security for the contracts he supervises.  He has an important role at every stage of the purchase process.  The use of a notaire is not compulsory at the beginning stages of the buying process, but it is for the later stages, since he has a government-mandated monopoly over the preparation and signing and execution of the final deed. He is also responsible for making good title to the property, and is liable for any mistakes he may make in the deed, for which he has professional indemnity coverage.  Only deeds settled by the notaire can be registered.

There are two basic steps in the purchase of property:

The "Compromis de Vente", or agreement of sale.

This basically contains reciprocal agreements to sell and to purchase, and fixes all legal aspects of the sales agreement: description of the property; general and special conditions; price and method of payment; date for completion, and penalty clause.

The contract is signed by both parties and a deposit (usually 10% of the acquisition price) is paid either to the estate agent or to the notaire, who will hold it.  If the buyer does not purchase while all the conditions are performed, he loses the deposit, which is then given to the seller.

It is common to include in the contract some "conditions suspensives", or opt-out clauses.  They take precedence over other clauses.  Should they not be fulfilled, the contract becomes null and void and deposits are returned.

At this point, the law does not stipulate that the deed be authentic, meaning it does not need to be supervised by a Notaire.  Parties are thus free to sign a Compromise de Vente.  However, we strongly recommend using a Notaire (at no extra cost at this stage) to oversee this key step of the transaction, and to get sound advice on the consequences of the contract signed.

Importantly, there is mandatory cooling off period of 7 days, during which time the purchaser may withdraw and recover his deposit.  Once the 7 days have expired, and the purchaser withdraws, the seller may claim the deposit.  

Once the Compromis de Vente is signed, the seller and the buyer are committed, and all of their future obligations rely on the document.

Administrative Work

Once the Promise of Sale has been signed, the notaire undertakes searches to collect various documents concerning the estate to be sold, such as title, mortgages, town planning regulations, etc.

This might take 2 or 3 months.  All other elements of the contract, namely the ones relating to the opt-out clauses, if any, have to be investigated during this period, but not necessarily by the notaire, such as buildng permission applications, lease contracts, mortgage application.

When the various formalities are completed, both parties will be invited to appear before the notaire to sign the final deed.

The "Acte Authentique" (Conveyance - Final Deed)

The Acte Authentique reiterates and confirms the terms of the Compromis de Vente.  The buyer pays the balance owing and costs and gets the keys to the property.  When the conveyance is signed, the original is sent by the notaire to the Bureau de Conservation des Hypotheques (Land Registry) for registration and in due course an official copy issued to the purchaser.

Costs of the Purchase

The costs vary according to the type of property.  They are generally around 7% of the purchase price, which includes transfer duty payable to the French government, stamp duty, land registry charges, and the notaire's fee and VAT on the notaire's fees.  These figures are fixed by law and are broadly the same throughout France.  These costs, commonly known as notary fees, are paid by the purchaser.

Language of Contracts

The French State requires that the use of the French language is compulsory in any French written agreement.  The use of a foreign language in French deeds is illegal.

Jurisdiction

Most of the contracts are signed in France by all of the relevant parties to the real estate purchase.  Nevertheless, the French contracts do not necessarily need to be signed in France.  They must be published in France for their legal enforcement, but a notaire may send the contract to be signed, or choose to travel to sign the contract with his clients.

Currency

For non-residents, the price must be paid in euros.  This payment, however, can take many forms, such as a cashier's check or a money order.

Please contact us for more information.  We look forward to talking to you.

jimliz5

Jim & Elizabeth Hilgendorf
The Matchmakers
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jim's Cell: 510-501-9564
Elizabeth's Cell: 510-501-9643
CA DRE # 00667290

 

 

 

 


Loire Valley

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The Loire Valley is home to some of the grandest castles in all of France, and this tastefully restored farmhouse is typical of the stone estates in this area. The home, on two levels, includes a large living-dining room with a beautiful fireplace in stone, a fitted kitchen, and 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

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There is also a lovely tree-planted garden with a swimming pool, and several outbuildings.

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The property is close to Chinon, Tours, Saumur and Angers, and is in the heart of the Loire Valley.  If you love France, and love the Loire Valley and its beautiful stone houses, this is perfect for a second home.

Offered at 485,000 Euros.

Please contact us for more information on this property, or to inquire about properties in other areas of France.  We look forward to talking to you.

jimliz5

Jim & Elizabeth Hilgendorf
The Matchmakers
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jim's Cell: 510-501-9564
Elizabeth's Cell: 510-501-9643
CA DRE # 00667290

 

Dordogne

The Dordogne, or Perigord region of southwest France is a magical region.  This is a land of castles, beautiful rivers, lovely landscapes, wonderful food and wines, and a connection with pre-history that dates back to the Lascaux caves and beyond. 

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This lovely farmhouse is about 15 minutes from Perigueux in the Dordogne.

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 Dating from the 16th century, the buildings have been recently and tastefully restored.  The property boasts a swimming pool and more than half an acre of gardens.

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The farmhouse includes 8 rooms, 5 bedrooms, a large living room with a beautiful, old fireplace.  There is also a barn, a well, and a fully restored outbuilding with an old oven.  The property overall is in very good condition.

Offered at 455,800 Euros.

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Please contact us for more information on this property, or to inquire about properties in other areas of France.  We look forward to talking to you.

jimliz5

Jim & Elizabeth Hilgendorf
The Matchmakers
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jim's Cell: 510-501-9564
Elizabeth's Cell: 510-501-9643
CA DRE # 00667290

 

 

 


Normandie

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This beautiful Normandie home, about 50 minutes from Paris by car, is a stunning estate on 17 acres of landscaped and tree-planted grounds.

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With roughly 3400 square feet of net ground floor space, the home has 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 shower rooms, a home cinema and a heated indoor swimming pool.

Near a charming village, with all amenities, this estate is an extraordinary find.

Offered at 650,000 Euros.

Please contact us for more information on this property, or to inquire about properties in other areas of France.  We look forward to talking to you.

jimliz5

Jim & Elizabeth Hilgendorf
The Matchmakers
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jim's Cell: 510-501-9564
Elizabeth's Cell: 510-501-9643
CA DRE # 00667290

 

Near Paris

 This lovely house, located about fifty miles west of Paris, near Houdan and Dreux, is set amid a beautifully landscaped park on 15 acres.

 

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With over 3500 square feet on three levels, the home boasts 9 bedrooms - one a master suite with dressing and shower room - and a vaulted cellar and terrace.

 

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The park was created by a famous landscape architect, and contains ponds, bridges, a river and woods.

 

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The home combines the charm of an ancient house with modern conveniences.  Also on the grounds are two guest houses, a caretaker's house, a swimming pool with mosaic tiles and a pool house.  A lovely property in a quiet area, in a charming and historic village.

Asking price: 1,700,000 Euros.

Please contact us for more information on this property, or to inquire about properties in other areas of France.  We look forward to talking to you.

jimliz5

Jim & Elizabeth Hilgendorf
The Matchmakers
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jim's Cell: 510-501-9564
Elizabeth's Cell: 510-501-9643
CA DRE # 00667290

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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