France is one of the most popular countries to buy property abroad, and it's not hard to guess why with the countries fantastic landscapes with coastlines and countryside, rich history, incredible food and of course the world famous wine.
Whether you are looking for a holiday home or want to relocate; buying a property in France is straight-forward as long as you know the process! Here are our five top things to consider when buying a property in France.
1. You need a 'Notaire'
Notaires is very similar to UK solicitors, they represent and act on behalf of the buyer and seller during the purchasing process of any piece of land or property in France. They are a mandatory if you are thinking of buying a house as their primary role is to ensure that everything about the sale is legal, follows the correct protocols and the appropriate taxes are paid on purchase of the property.
Taxes can vary from 2.5% for a new build, up to 8% depending on the property's value. A proportion of the taxes also involve the french equivalent of stamp duty.
2. Survey the property
Surveys are not common in France but it is possible to arrange one and we would advice you having one done before the inital contract. This is so there can be conditional clauses added into the contract if needed, on completion of the survey. If you do not choose to conduct a survey, sellers are still required by law to provide reports on lead, asbestos, termites, gas, energy efficiency, water drainage and natural/technological risks.
3. Compromis de Vente
A compris is the preliminary contract between the buyer and the seller which is drawn up by the notaire once an offer has been accepted. There can be 'suspensive' clauses added into this first contract which means there are conditions to the sale, such as the buyer obtaining a mortgage. If the conditional clauses are not met then the seller does not have to accept the offer.
4. Cooling off period
Once the Compris de Vente is signed by both parties, there is a 10 day cooling off period to allow the buyer to withdraw from the sale if they wish, without loss of their deposit. The deposit is usually 10% of the property price.
5. Acte de Vente
This is the final contract which is signed by both parties. If the buyer cannot attend for any reason, they can appoint a power of attorney to sign on their behalf. This is then the stage when the final sale price is paid, along with the fees/taxes.
We are award-winning specialists in the South of France who offer luxury properties for sale and rental. We will happily search the market to find your perfect property and personally assist you in the purchasing process! Contact us today to talk to our dedicated French Riviera specialists today for more information on how we can help.