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Guide to the French Buying Process
1. Signing the Agreement (Compris)
On finding a property you wish to purchase you will need to negotiate the terms, price and conditions of the sale with the owner. The next step, once you are in agreement, is to sign the preliminary contract (Compromis de Vente). This is a legal document and after ten days will be binding on both parties. Rules change frequently in France and it is best to consult with your notary about when this period starts. Generally the compris will be signed in France with the Agent. Variants can be included in the compris, for example an Acte (clause) can be added if the name or names to go on the title deed have not been finalised. If a mortgage will be required to purchase the property, the details for this, including the name of the mortgage company, must be on the compris.
2. Paying the Deposit
Generally the deposit will be 10% of the agreed purchase price. This will normally be paid to the notaire. There are exceptions to this, if the agent holds a carte professionelle, is bonded and fully registered then you may pay them, but do not hand over the deposit to anyone else. If for some reason the purchase does not go through, for example, if you write to the notaire and the agent that you do not wish to go continue with the purchase before the contract is binding (within seven days of signing the compris), then your deposit would be repaid. This would also apply if a condition had not been met, or the mayor or S.A.F.E.R. (a government agency that has the right of first purchase on most rural property that comes onto the market in France) could oblige the purchaser to give way. If you decide after the seven days 'cooling off' period that you do not wish to complete the purchase and pull out of the sale you would lose your deposit. If however the vendor pulls out of the sale then you will receive your deposit back plus the same amount from the vendor.
3. On Completion
Generally it will take around two or three months to complete the purchase. During this time the balance of the purchase money must be paid into the account of the notaire, this must be done well ahead of the completion date. The notaire will prepare the documents, check that the deed of sale (Acte de Vente) is in order and have the legal title ready to be signed over. It is possible to have someone sign on your behalf if you give them power of attorney. An interpreter may be of use at this point if your French is not very good and many Notaires will suggest (or insist) that an interpreter is with you.
IMPORTANT - Disclaimer :
All information provided is believed to be current and provided free of charge. No liability can be accepted for the reliability of the information and statements made as this is obtained from 3rd parties. We always recommend you take legal advice from a fully qualified Lawyer or Notary before buying a property overseas.
Ultra modern, spacious and unique 3 bedroom villa, located in a quiet residential setting in the greater Ceret area, only 5 minutes from shops and restaurants. With a total living area of 250m2...
- Floor Size: 250 square metres
- Plot Size: 3,874 square metres (0.39 hectares / 0.96 acres)
- Bedrooms: 3
An unusual refurbished stone mill with gothic shaped windows, spacious, 425 m2 living area, 6 bedrooms, large south facing terrace first floor with mountain views, pool, outbuildings, 5400 m2 of land ...
- Floor Size: 425 square metres
- Plot Size: 5,452 square metres (0.55 hectares / 1.35 acres)
- Bedrooms: 6
Charming, spacious and completely restored 10 bedroom stone built farmhouse, set within a romantic and remote mountain area bordering a river, with a total living area of 257m2 which includes the main...
- Floor Size: 357 square metres
- Plot Size: 11,370 square metres (1.14 hectares / 2.81 acres)
- Bedrooms: 10
Perfectly presented 4 bedroom family home located in Ceret, within quiet and peaceful surroundings, on a plot of 1,760m2 with lawns and woodland and with stunning countryside views towards Vallespir v...
- Floor Size: 180 square metres
- Plot Size: 17,200 square metres (1.72 hectares / 4.25 acres)
- Bedrooms: 4
Renovated 19th Century farmhouse, 225m2, guest cottage 62m2, 7 bedrooms, original features, swimming pool, 4 terraces, 800m2 of grounds with beautiful views on surrounding mountains, running gites or...
- Floor Size: 280 square metres
- Plot Size: 800 square metres (0.08 hectares / 0.20 acres)
- Bedrooms: 6