Once you find a property and agree on a price, the actual contract process will be handled by a notaire as they are the only persons permitted by law to perform conveyancing in France. The notaire charges a fee – usually between 6% and 8% of the net property price (the cheaper the property, the higher the percentage). The notaire is required by law to act impartially and acts for both buyer and seller.
‘Clauses suspensives’ permit you to withdraw from the purchase under certain circumstances, so it is important to give this some thought before you sign the Compromis de Vente. You can add any clauses you like to the contract (provided of course that the vendor is willing to accept them). If you are obtaining a mortgage, the notaire will automatically include this fact as a conditional clause in the contract. This means if your mortgage provider turns you down or refuses to lend on the property, you are not obliged to go ahead with the purchase. Other typical clauses you might include are ensuring that you are able to obtain planning permission, or ensuring that certain works or repairs are carried out. Many problematic purchases or disputes could have been avoided if the purchasers had introduced clauses to protect themselves at this stage.
The buying process in France is very straight forward.
Here are the 3 keys stages:
The legal costs associated with the purchase of property in France are known as the Notaire fees. However, this covers both the fees and taxes. In summary, the total fees and taxes payable are as follows.
Older Property - The total conveyancing fees and taxes payable for the purchase of an existing property are between 7% and 10% of the purchase price.
New Property - You will pay around 2% in conveyancing fees and registration taxes, plus VAT at the rate of 20% on the purchase price, except for sales between private individuals. Of this total, the actual notaire fee is only about 1%. The rest of the fee includes stamp duty registration taxes and disbursements. Notaire fees are regulated by the government and vary according to the sale price of the property and the department in which you are purchasing.
You can calculate what the notaires fees will be on the property you are buying using this facility.
If you are purchasing or selling a property in France on agricultural land (such as a farmhouse, vineyard, or many other rural properties) SAFER will become involved at the stage of signing the compromis de vente. The SAFER has pre-emptive purchase rights and the notaire is under obligation to notify this government body of any sale of farmland. In the notary’s jargon, the notaire “purges” the SAFER’s right to exercise its droit de pré-emption (right of first refusal). The SAFER then studies the file and can, in some cases, choose to object to the sale. Le droit de pré-emption may sound harsh, but, contrary to what one may think, the SAFER cannot expropriate nor can it purchase any property piecemeal.
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