Buying a property in France

The process of a purchase can take up to three months.

We believe that when you purchase a property in France, you should be made aware, not only of matters relating to the property, but also matters relating to tax and estate planning.

We shall bring to your attention all the ramifications of the purchase.

The Estate Agent

Are there any differences between a French Estate Agent and a UK agent?

The main difference is that a French Estate Agency owner must have a law degree or at least ten years experience to obtain a registration certificate. They are normally very competent with full knowledge of the property and the state it is in; they also know the area well enough to be able to answer any of your questions.


Their fees will normally be included in the price of the property you are given.

How and when do I pay their fees?

Their fees will be included on the completion papers (Title Deed) and will be paid directly to them by the Notaire from the purchase price paid by the purchaser.

How can we help you with the Estate Agent ?

Unless you speak fluent French or they speak fluent English, we can liaise with them on your behalf to make sure that all the necessary information on the property is received and checked. Nearer completion we can liaise with them for the transfer of the utilities into your name, making sure that the direct debits are in place as at the date of completion.

The Notaire

Can I choose the Notaire?

Yes, although in most cases the Estate Agent will refer you to the local Notaire who will normally hold the deeds from the current owner. However, you can, if you wish, choose a Notaire anywhere in France to deal with your purchase.

Fees of the Notaire?

In France the Notaires have set fees, in the case of a purchase, it is a percentage of the purchase price, currently the percentage is around 7%. This includes stamp duties and all registrations necessary for the purchase.

What is his role?

The role of the Notaire is extremely important, as would the role of the solicitor in the UK. However, in France the Notaire has the duty to complete full searches on the property you are purchasing and needs to compile a complete set of documents from the vendor (or his notaire) to allow him to sign the completion.

However, he is not obliged to recommend searches or surveys on the property such as easements or future projects in the area.

Can I have the same notaire as the vendor?

In theory you can, however, we strongly recommend having a different Notaire to avoid any “short-cuts” or conflict of interests.

Does the Notaire have to be in the same area as the property?

No, you can choose a Notaire anywhere in France.

How do we help and what role do we play with the Notaire in your purchase?

Our role is not only to liaise with the Notaire on your behalf.

Our role is to ensure that all aspects of the property you are buying is looked into, to allow you to make your decision with all the facts relating to the property. In most cases, we will ask the Notaire for extra searches or paperwork if we believe that the information given is not thorough enough, so that by the time the Sale Agreement (Compromis de Vente) is drafted, we will be able to give you an exact picture of what you are buying.

Before the Compromis de Vente is drafted we will discuss with you the most favourable way in which to purchase the property taking into consideration your personal circumstances, as well as focusing on the resulting taxation and matters relating to inheritance.

Once we receive a copy of the Compromis de Vente, which is prepared by the Notaire of the vendor, we review it to make sure that all that the terms therein are correct, and to include or refute any terms that might or might not be in your best interest, such as the agreement on the deposit which, if not dealt with properly, could mean the loss of your deposit if, for whatever reason, you decide to pull out of the purchase. We will send you a full summary of the contents along with our recommendations and/or possible points with which we do not agree and wish to make you aware of.

Throughout the purchasing process we will deal directly with the Notaire to handle all the necessary paperwork and will only contact you when necessary.

As mentioned previously we will also liaise with the Estate Agent, surveyors, banks and any other party involved in the purchase.

Our work will end once both parties have signed the final Deed.

Buying off-plan property (VEFA)

Buying an off-plan property is a very specific process that has very different rules and regulations. There are two stages to the purchase; the first will be a reservation contract that will require a deposit of normally a 5% of the purchasing price. It will be followed by a final deed of purchase that will total around 150 pages that will include very important information regarding, not only the property, but also the rules and regulations of the complex, the financial warranties given by the contractor, schedules of payment amongst other documents and information.