Foreign currency – changing from GBP or USD to EUR
The French property buying process includes a contract called the "Compromis de Vente" where the term of the sale are laid as well as the price – which will be in euros. So if you are living in the UK you will need to convert pounds to euros so you can complete the purchase of your property in France. The same applies if you wish to change dollars to euros or other worldwide currencies.
A Foreign exchange currency broker can offer favourable rates on these transactions and could save you a small sum which go towards a new kitchen, bathroom or swimming pool!
‘Diagnostics’ or obligatory inspection reports.
The obligatory inspection reports, paid for by the vendors, will be annexed to the contract.
Not all the reports mentioned below will apply to the property you purchase. It depends on the age, type and location of the property.
Energy Efficiency (diagnostic de performance énergétique, or DPE)
This report was introduced a few years ago and was intended to highlight differences in heating costs between properties. The DPE results have to appear on all advertising. The report is valid for 10 years (unless it was issued before 30th June 2021).
A DPE must be carried out in all dwellings, unless the accommodation is intended to be occupied less than 4 months per year. It is not required for properties where the only form of heating is open fires, or where there is none at all.
From April 2023, where the property to be sold is classed F or G, the vendor will need to have an energy audit undertaken in order to inform the buyer of the nature of the works required to improve the score. It will apply to class E from January 2025 and D from January 2034.
Furthermore from 1 January 2025, G-rated properties will no longer be allowed to be rented out. From 1 January 2028, F-rated properties will no longer be allowed to be rented out. From 1 January 2034, E-rated properties will no longer be allowed to be rented out.
The electrical safety report is not obligatory for properties built, newly-wired or completely re-wired within the last 15 years. The report is valid for 3 years.
The report is necessary when fixed gas pipes have been installed in a property for at least 15 years.The report is valid for 3 years.
An asbestos report is not required for properties built after July 1997.
If asbestos is present, the report outlines the condition of the material concerned, and indicates whether any action is required.
The report is valid indefinitely where no asbestos is present, or for 3 years if asbestos is present..
A lead report is not required for houses built after 1st January 1949.
Where traces are found, this is often in undercoats of paint but still detectable by the machine used by the inspector.
The report is valid indefinitely where no lead is present, or for 1 year if lead is present..
A termite report is not required for properties outside of designated risk zones.
The report must be less than 6 months old at the time of final completion.
Some areas of the country are subject to specific risks such as earthquake, flooding, land-slip, radon, industrial accidents, accidents due to mining, etc. The purpose of the report is to inform buyers of the level of risk, if any, in the commune concerned. The risk report concerns the whole of the commune, not specifically the property itself.
There is also a requirement for the vendors to declare whether or not they have made, or have knowledge of, any insurance claims following damage to the property due to certain recognised ‘catastrophic’ events in the past..
The report must be less than 6 months old at the time of final completion.
A precise measurement of surface area must be supplied for properties within a copropriété (usually an apartment or part of a gite complex)
It remains permanently valid unless work has been carried out which changes the surface area.
Any essential remedial work highlighted by the report is obligatory and the buyer will usually have one year after purchase to carry it out.
The report must be less than three years old at the time of completion of your purchase.
In some areas, properties connected to mains drainage are exempt from this legislation.
The role of a Notaire – a public official
A Notaire is a public officer who operates in every area of law including family, property, inheritance, asset management, company law, countryside law, local authorities, etc.They act on behalf of the State and are appointed by the Minister of Justice, and the fact that a contract is drawn up by a Notaire is a guarantee of its legality and authenticity.
The Notaire – a self-employed professional
Although they have public authority, the Notaire operates on a self-employed basis and is responsible for their own office. They are self-employed professionals who are paid by their clients (and not the taxpayers) on the basis of a rate fixed by the State for the services they provide. The term "notaire fees" when associated with property sales usually includes not only the Notaire’s own remuneration and expenses, but also the sales tax and stamp duty that they collect on behalf of the state.
French Property sales – the Notaire’s involvement
One or more Notaires will be appointed to oversee every property sale in France. A Notaire will work in close collaboration with your estate agent throughout the property sales procedure. They will ensure that all legal requirements are met, and that all parties are aware of their rights and obligations. They carry out various searches, establish title, advise the parties on inheritance and financial issues, draw up the deeds, and register the sale at the land registry. Each party can, freely choose their own Notaire, and it is the buyer who is responsible for paying all the notaire fees and stamp duty on a purchase. Notaires sharing the workload share the fees, which are determined by the State on a sliding scale according to the purchase price. Thus it does not cost any more to use two Notaires.
Final completion – signature at the Notaire’s office
Final completion is a formal affair, where the Notaire receives the parties in their office and reads out to them the terms of the official deed of sale and all its annexes, before witnessing everyone’s signatures. After completion, the Notaire will register the sale, give all parties a written certificate of the transaction, and will in due course (after a few months) supply the buyer with a stamped authenticated copy of the final sales deed, which is in effect the ‘title deed’ for the property.
If the parties cannot be present at the Notaire’s office for the signing of the sales pre-contract or final deed, it can usually be possible to sign by power of attorney. If you choose this option, your Notaire will prepare the power of attorney and send it to you to sign, but be aware that a person of authority in your home country such as a solicitor or French consul may be required to witness your signature, and as proof of your identity the witness must counter-sign and stamp the document.
More information can be found on the official Notaires’ website: click here.
Please tell us when & where you are visiting France to arrange a property viewing.
Also give an idea of your search criteria.
ADVICE FOR FRENCH PROPERTY BUYERS
The team at Euro Immobilier Chalais / Town & Country Property France have a wealth of experience when helping international clients with their French property purchase. Our knowledge and customer service are second to none, so let us help you through each stage of buying a house in France.
1. PREPARING YOUR SEARCH
Once you have made the decision to buy a property for sale in France you will need to ask yourself a number of questions before you start house hunting in earnest.
Why do you want to buy a property in France?
Some of the main reasons to buy a French property:
full time residence for a family
full time residence for your retirement
Your requirements for a full time residence will generally be different from those for a holiday home in France. For example you may need ; schools for families, all year round shops, nearby medical centers and hospitals, good internet connection, easy access to airports and cities. When choosing a French property for full time residence you might want to be sure that there is already central heating, double glazing etc in the French property you choose..
When choosing a holiday home in France, you will probably already know the area you want to buy in France. Think about whether you will use the property just for family & friends or if you’d like to actively market the French property as a holiday rental in France. Good transport links, holiday activities as well as bars & restaurants may need to be included in your French property search criteria.
Where do you want to buy a French property?
Which part of France is going to suit you best?
France is a big country with stunning countryside, beautiful seaside beaches, majestic alpine areas, romantic cities and varying climates to match – so there’s something for everybody.
Consider what is important to you and how far are you willing to travel to :
Shops, bars, restaurants – walking distance, 5 mins drive or more?
Golf, skiing, sailing, horse-riding etc. How far are you willing to go and enjoy your pastime?
Access to transport links ?
Can you afford to buy in the region you choose? Prices vary hugely across France so check out how the different regions compare with each other and with your budget.
Let our local agents guide you – they live and work in the area and would love to share their knowledge to help you find the right place for you..
How are you buying a French property?
Are you cash buyers? Using a pension release scheme? Or do you need a mortgage?
Before you begin your French property search, it is important to establish what your budget is – do not forget to include the Notaires fees, house insurance and removal costs into the equation.
When do you want to buy in France?
If you are a family with school age children, then moving to France should ideally coincide with the start of the academic year which is usually early September.
For those looking to buy a gite or income generating property then you should be looking to buy in the low season to allow you time to be ready for the high season.
MAKE A WISH LIST
Get everybody involved in choosing your property in France, be honest with each other and don’t be afraid of listing the "must haves" and probably more important the "must have nots"!
An ideal wish list includes:
Do you want a full time residence or a holiday home?
What style of property do you like? – old/character, modern, single storey, farmhouse, Maison de Maître, town house, bungalow, chateau?
Do you have a preference for geographical location? – are you searching in a particular region/department/area of France?
What immediate environment will you require? – countryside, hamlet, village, town, city?
Do you prefer to have no near neighbours?
How many bedrooms do you want?
How much land would you like?
Do you want a gite, a swimming pool?
Do you have a hobby that needs space? Eg artist studio, garages for car collection, study for work etc
Do you want to do any work on the property? – full, some or no renovation, redecoration only?
What is your budget? (The prices shown on our website include agency fees. You will have to budget extra for Notaire’s fees of about 7-8%) Should you wish to consider a mortgage, please enquire here.
Which, if any, of these search criteria are flexible?
Please send us your wish list today and LET US HELP you with your French property search.
Your agent lives locally to the property and will accompany you on the viewing. They will be able to answer any questions you have and share their local knowledge with you.
When viewing please be honest with your agent – if you don’t like the property tell the agent and you can move onto the next property.
3. MAKING AN OFFER
Each vendor has their reason for selling and their positions do vary from being fixed price to very negotiable. Your agent will know the vendor, so check with them to see what may be acceptable.
Once the negotiation has been successfully concluded, you will be asked to supply the personal information that is required to draw up the Compromis or Promesse de Vente (the initial sales contract).
4. COMMITTING TO YOUR PURCHASE
The Compromis or Promesse de Vente establishes the terms and conditions of the sale. It is prepared by the Notaire with the assistance of our Head Office sales processing team. This contract is legally binding subject to certain suspensive conditions. The Compromis or Promesse de Vente will be drawn up in French, so our Head Office sales processing team will go through it in detail with you in English if you wish.
The advertised prices on this website include the estate agency fees. You should budget for the additional cost of the Notaire’s fees and taxes, usually around 7-8% of the purchase price of the property.
Cooling-off period for buyers
After all parties have signed the Compromis or Promesse de Vente, the non-professional buyer of residential property will have the benefit of a 10-day cooling-off period during which you have the right to withdraw from your commitment to purchase. During this period the buyer can withdraw from the purchase without penalty. The vendors do not benefit from a cooling-off period.
Paying the deposit
The deposit, normally 10% of the purchase price, must be transferred to the Notaire’s account by bank transfer before the end of the 10-day cooling off period. This can come from either your own bank or via currency brokers* who can often offer preferential exchange rates – enquire here.
*You should be vigilant when selecting financial services firms. If you’re using a UK firm we recommend you check they are authorised by the FCA (UK Financial Conduct Authority). Additional checks are also recommended.
Timeframe to completion
After the Compromis or Promesse de Vente is signed the Notaire will proceed with the usual title and planning searches, and the obtaining of documentation, in order to have everything ready for the target completion date.
An obligatory waiting period applies to certain administrative paperwork. Therefore the sooner the Compromis or Promesse de Vente is signed, the better, if the target completion date is to be achieved. Normally it takes about three months from the signing of the Compromis or Promesse de Vente to completion.
5. COMPLETION AND MOVING IN
The completion appointment will take place in the offices of the Notaire, in the presence of both buyer and seller.
It is always preferable to sign in person, and to personally inspect the property before you do so. If you are unable to attend the final completion signature, it may be possible to arrange a signature by power of attorney.
You will receive the keys to your new French property immediately after the signature of the final deed.
The team at Euro Immobilier Chalais / Town & Country Property France have a long and diverse collective experience in the French property market.
We’d love to hear from you and discuss with you your French property project, at whatever stage it may be. With no obligation and no pressure, we can help you decide what is right for you.
We will assist and guide you through every stage of the buying process:
from your initial enquiry
through accompanying you to the French properties you have chosen to view
answering your questions
negotiating with vendors
all the way through to the signature of the final deed