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.
Beautifully restored 9 bedroom medieval castle located in a quiet setting in Montpellier. With its origins dating from the 11th Century, this superb historic castle has been superbly refurbish...
- Floor Size: 700 square metres
- Plot Size: 550 square metres (0.06 hectares / 0.14 acres)
- Bedrooms: 9
Full of character and charm, this elegant manor house has a total spacious living area of 400m2, which includes 8 bedrooms and 7 bath/shower rooms and there is a heated swimming pool set within the ma...
- Floor Size: 400 square metres
- Plot Size: 1,360 square metres (0.14 hectares / 0.34 acres)
- Bedrooms: 8
With character features throughout and full of charm, this tastefully restored 4 bedroom house is ideally situated within the attractive and lively village of Pezenas with bars, restaurants, boulanger...
- Floor Size: 160 square metres
- Plot Size: 255 square metres (0.03 hectares / 0.06 acres)
- Bedrooms: 4
Modern and spacious recently built 6 bedroom home with a total living area of 285m2, which features a large 80m2 living/dining room with a central feature fireplace, fitted and equipped kitchen, 6 bed...
- Floor Size: 285 square metres
- Plot Size: 7,096 square metres (0.71 hectares / 1.75 acres)
- Bedrooms: 6
Bright and modern 2 bedroom 4th floor apartment, with a total living area or around 72m2, plus a large terrace of 87.2m2, ideally situated in a quiet setting close to the centre of Montpellier.
Idyllic 18th century 3 bedroom stone built house rebuilt by an architect, surrounded by 1.6 acres of glorious land, enjoying far reaching countryside views from its peaceful location perched on the ro...
- Floor Size: 227 square metres
- Plot Size: 6,600 square metres (0.66 hectares / 1.63 acres)
- Bedrooms: 3
Totally and beautifully refurbished manor house, whose origins date from 1875, with a total living area of 600m2 including an independent mansion and a stone main building with 3 independent apartment...
- Floor Size: 600 square metres
- Plot Size: 2,600 square metres (0.26 hectares / 0.64 acres)
- Bedrooms: 13
Full of character and charm, this spacious 4 bedroom country house, with a total living area of 412m2, is ideally situated on the south facing slopes of the unspoilt Minervois, in Ferrals Les Montagne...
- Floor Size: 412 square metres
- Plot Size: 6,500 square metres (0.65 hectares / 1.61 acres)
- Bedrooms: 5
Grand, spacious and unique 19th Century manor house, with a vast total living area of around 1,400m2, currently split into 11 apartments including a unique dwelling of 400m2 and another house, set wit...
- Floor Size: 1,400 square metres
- Plot Size: 2,983 square metres (0.30 hectares / 0.74 acres)
- Bedrooms: 32
Unique and spacious 8 bedroom apartment, with a total living area of 400m2 and a private garden of around 800m2, situated within an exceptional Maison de Maitre, within walking distance to amenities i...
- Floor Size: 400 square metres
- Plot Size: 800 square metres (0.08 hectares / 0.20 acres)
- Bedrooms: 8