This attractive area is the extreme south of France bordering the Mediterranean, with the coastal plains and the magnificent Pyrenees offering complete contrasts in scenery.
Perpignan is the main town of the area, with many historic buildings and an attractive river running through it. Many of the hill villages in the foothills of the mountains are very attractive while on the coast at the foot of the hills Collioure is a beautiful small town and Argeles-sur-Mer a little further north is a typical seaside resort with many holiday amenities. For those wanting the sea, the beaches are either long and open or, where the mountains join the coast, are in lovely bays.
There are several ways to reach the area. There is an international airport at Perpignan with weekly scheduled flights. It is possible to fly to Paris and then take an internal flight to Perpignan. Toulouse and Montpellier are the nearest international airports in France with regular flights. Barcelona airport in Spain offers the widest choice of flights and is about 2.5 hours' drive from Perpignan along the motorway. There are also charter flights from the UK to Gerona in Spain, about one hours drive away. The area can also be reached by train and coach from the UK. There are good motorway systems through to the Channel Ports or you can drive in a more leisurely fashion through the rural parts of France.
There is excellent windsurfing and sailing with several marinas in the area, and diving is also available locally. Tennis, golf, riding, camel riding and walking are other outdoor activities which can be enjoyed. For those who fancy a gamble, there are casinos in which to try your luck.
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.
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