There are 3 stages to the buying process:
On average it takes 3 months to complete, but it may take longer.
There are a number of factors that can affect this including:
The Compromis de Vente is a legal contract, and sets out the key points of your purchase.
It forms the basis of the final Acte which are the deeds to the property.
If you need it translated, please contact a registered translator so that you fully understand its contents.
This document will include:
Examples of let out clauses are:
Copies of the following documents will be required:
Once the compromis has been signed, only the buyer can change their mind and withdraw from the sale without penalty within the 10 day cooling off period. Each buyer will receive their own cooling off letter (SRU letter) with a copy of the signed Compromis de Vente. This is usually sent by registered post (signed for), and the 10 day cooling off period starts the day after receipt. Please note that the 10 days include weekends.
If a mortgage is required and there is a let out clause in the compromis with a stated date for the mortgage to be processed, it is essential that the buyer meets the target date. Otherwise the buyer could be in a position where the sale could be cancelled, they could lose the deposit and incur notaire fees (and if you are buying a property through an estate agent/immobilier, you could also be liable to pay their fees too).
During the cooling off period the buyer needs to make arrangements for the deposit to be transferred to the notaire. This is normally about 10% of the value of the property, it is paid direct to the Notaire to hold and should be transferred by the end of the cooling off period.
Notaires ask for a portion of their fees (from €100 to a few hundred euros - non refundable) to open the dossier.
It is recommended that the buyer sets up a french bank account and the notaire may request a RIB (the bank details). This will also be needed to open/activate the utilities (electricity/water).
If a buyer is unable to attend either the Compromis de Vente or the Acte de Vente, they may give a trusted person their power of attorney (procuration) which authorises them to act on the buyer’s behalf, this is normally a clerk of the Notaire.
If the Notaire has not met the buyer, they may insist that the power of attorney is signed in front of a witness (solicitor). The solicitor is only witnessing the signature, they are not validating the document.
If you are buying a property from outside France you may wish to seek advice on inheritance requirements,as these vary from country to country. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to review the different property ownership options in France (for example SCI, en tontine clause, pacs).
Please note this information is a guide, and you will need to make sure you seek the relevant guidance for your particular situation.
Please note that according to French law if you visit a property directly with the vendor, you are not allowed to then visit or purchase the same property through an estate agent.
If you have seen the property with an estate agent, you would probably have signed a Bon de Visite, this protects their fees and therefore prevents you from approaching the vendor directly or even with another estate agent! This could result in either you or the vendor being asked to pay the introductory fees if you haven’t followed the correct process.