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Buying real estate in France: A Complete Guide

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Buying real estate in France: A Complete Guide

Buying property in France is a process that may seem complex, but if well planned, can lead to the realization of the dream of owning a property in our beautiful country.

A step-by-step guide to buying property in France

This detailed guide will take you through every stage of the property purchase process in France, focusing on preparation, property search, visits, the offer to purchase, signing the compromis de vente, financing, legal checks by the notaire, signing the deed of sale, the tax aspect, registering the property, and finally taking possession of the property.

1. Preparation: Identifying your needs

Buying a property starts with defining your needs and criteria. Ask yourself some important questions:

- What is your budget?

- In which region would you like to buy?

- What size of property is right for you (apartment, house)?

- What are your needs in terms of amenities (schools, shops, transport)?

- Do you have any particular preferences (new or old property)?

- What are your sustainability criteria (eco-responsible housing or with an advantageous DPE diagnosis)?

Once you've clarified your needs, you can start your search.

2. Finding the right property: working with an estate agent

Finding the ideal property can be difficult in France, given the diverse and competitive market. It's essential to choose a local agency, expert in the market and its sector, where real estate agents will submit a selection adapted to your request, your resources, and won't hesitate to make you proposals you wouldn't have initially thought of.

Put your trust in them! Agents also have access to more confidential property listings that you wouldn't have had access to without their help - this is known as the off-market.

3. Visits

Once you've selected a few potential properties, arrange visits. This is your opportunity to check whether the property matches your requirements. Take photos and ask questions about the property's history, maintenance costs, and any renovations.

This is also the time to discuss the terms of sale with your trusted agent.

4. Offer to Purchase

Once you've found a property that suits you, you draw up a written offer to purchase, which your real estate negotiator passes on to the seller. This offer must specify the name of the property, the price you are willing to pay, the date of the offer and the period of validity.

It may also specify the conditions of sale, financing arrangements, or any planning permission you may need (for the construction of a swimming pool or annex, for example). If the offer is accepted, you move on to the next stage.

5. Signing the Preliminary Sale Agreement

The preliminary sale agreement (compromis de vente) is a legal contract drawn up by the notary that binds the buyer and seller. It details the terms of the transaction, the price, the planned closing date, and any conditions precedent (such as obtaining a mortgage).

Once signed, it is binding on both parties. You usually pay a deposit at this stage, which can vary depending on the agreement.

6. Financing

Most buyers need to obtain a mortgage to finance their purchase. If you're not buying the property for cash, you'll need to provide financial documentation and wait for approval from the bank or your lending institution.

Once the loan has been granted, you can move on to the next stage.

7. Legal checks by the Notaire

Before the final signature, a notaire (a French public officer) will carry out legal verifications on the property to ensure that it is free of any disputes, encumbrances or legal problems.

8. Signing the Deed of Sale

Once all the legal checks have been completed and the financing is in place, both parties meet at the notary's office to sign the final deed of sale.

This is when ownership officially transfers from the previous owner to you. You'll need to pay the balance of the purchase price at this point, as well as notary fees and transfer duties.

9. Tax aspects

The purchase of real estate in France is subject to various taxes, including transfer duties, commonly known as "frais de notaire". These fees cover registration duties, the notary's fees, and other costs associated with the transaction.

Rates vary according to region and type of property, but are generally around 7% to 8% of the purchase price.

You will also be liable for the taxe foncière and taxe d'habitation, which are local taxes paid annually based on the value of your property.

10. Registration of the Property

After the deed of sale has been signed, it must be registered with the tax and land registry authorities. This ensures that you are officially recognized as the new owner.

11. Taking possession of the property

Once all the administrative formalities have been completed, you can finally take possession of your new property. This is the time to celebrate and enjoy your investment. It's essential to note that every real estate transaction in France is unique, and details may vary depending on the region, the type of property, and the specific negotiations between the parties.

It is strongly recommended that you consult a real estate professional to guide you through this complex process and ensure that everything is carried out in compliance with current French laws, including tax obligations.

Choose Côte d'Azur Sotheby's International Realty for a Successful Real Estate Acquisition

In the quest to buy your property on the Côte d'Azur, it's essential to surround yourself with trusted experts to guide you through the process. That's where Côte d'Azur Sotheby's International Realty comes in.

Our five renowned real estate agencies cover the Côte d'Azur from Le Lavandou to the Italian and Monegasque borders, as well as popular destinations such as Saint-Tropez, l'Esterel, Cannes, Cap d'Antibes, Nice, Beaulieu sur Mer, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, not forgetting the hinterland.

Why choose Côte d'Azur Sotheby's International Realty to assist you in your real estate acquisition in France, and more specifically on the Côte d'Azur?

Here are a few compelling reasons:

Local Expertise

Our team has in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market. They understand the intricacies of neighborhoods, ever-changing market trends, and available properties. This expertise guarantees a selection of properties that precisely match your criteria, saving you valuable time in your search.

Selection of Exclusive and Confidential Properties

At Côte d'Azur Sotheby's International Realty, we give you access to a selection of exclusive properties for confidential marketing, known as "off-market" in real estate. This gives you the opportunity to acquire high-quality properties that match your expectations, while maintaining confidentiality.

Efficient negotiation

Our agents are experienced negotiators who will work on your behalf to secure the best possible deal in terms of price and terms of sale. Their experience ensures you a fair and advantageous transaction.

Legal and tax assistance

Buying real estate in France can be legally and tax complex, but with Côte d'Azur Sotheby's International Realty, you're in good hands. We work closely with notaries and legal experts to ensure that the transaction takes place in compliance with current French laws.

What's more, we'll help you understand the tax implications of the purchase, including droits de mutation and other taxes associated with real estate acquisition in France, whether you're French or foreign.

Personalized assistance

At Côte d'Azur Sotheby's International Realty, we believe in providing personalized service, tailored to your specific needs. Our agents are available to answer your questions and concerns at every stage of the process, from the initial search to the signing of the deed of sale.

By choosing Côte d'Azur Sotheby's International Realty for your real estate acquisition on the Côte d'Azur, you benefit from the expertise of an internationally renowned agency, giving you invaluable peace of mind in your project.

Our commitment to customer satisfaction and our ability to simplify a sometimes complex process make Côte d'Azur Sotheby's International Realty an invaluable partner in your search for property on the Côte d'Azur.

Don't hesitate to contact us to begin your journey towards realizing your Côte d'Azur real estate dream.

+33 4 92 92 12 88

Article written in October 2023