Information - Steps - Costs

Guide to buying a property in France

Buying a property in France by foreigners

All foreigners can buy a property in France, even if they do not live there.

They only need a bank account and a valid identity document.

The profession of real estate agent in France

In France, the profession of real estate agent is regulated by law.

Real estate agencies must obtain a licence to operate from the French Chamber of Commerce.

Preliminary contract

The preliminary contract is usually signed at a notary’s office.

The preliminary contract contains all the information for the signing of the notarial deed, such as the personal details of the parties, the cadastral details of the property, the sale price, the conditions of sale, the handover and the taking possession of the property, with the possible addition of any suspensive conditions, such as the approval of the mortgage, pre-purchase rights, etc.

At the time of the preliminary contract, the buyer usually pays 10% of the purchase price as a deposit.

This amount remains in the notary’s trustee account until the final notarisation.

There is a law to protect the buyer, who has a reflection period of 7 days to withdraw from his purchase intention and is entitled to a refund of the deposit paid.

Sales contract

The sales contract is a public document that is signed at a notary’s office.

Before the final signature, the notary verifies the seller’s title, the regularity of the property in relation to the laws in force, any mortgages encumbering the property, any pending debts with the property management or the tax authorities.

These are possible debts that the notary has to settle by deducting them from the sale amount due to the seller.

The notary also checks the rights and obligations under any existing tenancy agreements, the insurance policy, the condominium owners’ regulations and the minutes of the last condominium owners’ meetings, the amounts of approved work and any ongoing legal proceedings.

The floor plan of the house is a very important document that will be attached to both the preliminary contract and the notarial deed.

The balance of the price is paid into the account of the notary who, after carrying out all the checks and settling any balances, transfers any remaining sum to the vendor.

The notary takes care of updating the land register, which allows anyone to identify the owner of the property.

Costs of the real estate purchase/sale

Basically, there are two types of costs associated with buying or selling a property: the brokerage fee and the notary fees.

The costs associated with the brokerage fee depend on the region.

n some cases they are borne by the seller and in others by the buyer.

Costs arising from technical expertise’s of the property (asbestos, lead, termites, surfaces, etc.) are usually borne by the seller.

Notary fees are charged to the buyer and are calculated from the notary fee, taxes, disclosure fees for the property and registration fees.

The latter are more significant in the case of mortgage financing to be registered.

The sum of these costs is about 2%-3% of the purchase price if it is a new property or up to 5 years after construction; they rise to up to 8% if it is an older property.

Annual costs

The property tax is a French municipal tax on real estate, calculated on the basis of the rental value of the property at 50% of the cadastral rental value set by the local government.

The residential tax is a tax payable by those who live in a property and is levied to pay for various municipal services.

It is calculated based on the cadastral rental value of the property, minus family expenses and any deductions provided if the house is a primary residence.

This tax is not due if the property is empty, i.e. not occupied.