Monogram Marks Real Estate
Buying your property

Guide to buying your property on the French Riviera

Here we give you a walkthrough of purchasing a property in France. If it is your first time purchasing a home in France this can give you a good first insight about the process. There are of course other scenarios which haven’t been mentioned below. Contact us if you want to know more about the process of purchasing a property on the French Riviera.

Five starting points for you who want to purchase a property

  1. Get qualified for a mortgage before you start searching. This will specify your search better. Be transparent with your broker about how you will finance the property.
  2. Find an agent which you are comfortable working with and that understands your needs and stick to that broker. Mutual trust amongst the buyer and broker creates more efficiency throughout the whole buying process.
  3. Research recent sales of comparable properties. France is not as transparent as other countries with recently sold properties. Recently the register was made public and more accessible for buyers but it can be challenging to determine what is comparable and not. Ask your broker for more in-depth knowledge and comparables.
  4. Do complete due diligence of the property’s construction and state. Even though diagnostic surveys are by law obligatory in France, there can be things that aren’t noticed by this surveyor. Ask how the property was built, last renovated, if there has been any significant damage to the house previously or an insurance case that could affect the property’s value. This will help you determine the future cost of eventual repairs or maintenance. It will also avoid unpleasant surprises that can be costly.
  5. Find out the best way for you to buy. Shall you purchase privately or through a company? Maybe you want to plan for inheritance or buying together with another family? These are things that are good to discuss with your selected notary and lawyer before you make a purchase.

Different stages of purchasing a property

Below we have summarized the process of acquiring a property in France and what we believe are good to know when planning your investment.

1. Start your property search in the French Riviera

When you have found a broker you are comfortable with, it’s time to define your search. You don’t need to know everything about what you are searching for, but it’s good to have a framework and general knowledge of what you prefer.

Remember that in France, the broker can collaborate with other agents and also have off-market properties to select from. It is important to make a thorough groundwork to understand the market you will invest in.

2. Visit properties

Once you have selected the properties which are interesting, the broker will organize the visits. If you cannot arrive in France in the near future, ask for the broker to make a pre-viewing call with you on a video-call. This will help you further determine if the property is interesting. When you visit the properties, take your time to inspect it thoroughly and ask a lot of questions. What are the positives and the negatives? (Yes, you will always have both).

3. Making an offer

Before submitting an offer it is wise to have your financials in order. This will save time and puts you in a stronger negotiation position against the property owner if everything is ready to move ahead.

Is there a need for a suspensive condition for the purchase to be valid? For example mortgage or building permit. Make sure your broker is aware of the conditions and requirements of the sale so this can be put into the purchase offer to avoid potential conflict further ahead.

Your agent will draw up a purchase offer and put in the necessary requirements for the sale which you will need to sign. Here will the dates for the validity be present and also the expected dates for the signature of the preliminary contract and final deed be present.

If the offer gets accepted, your broker will gather the necessary information for the property and communicate with the selected notaries in order to draw up the preliminary sales agreement.

4. Sign the Compromis de Vente (Preliminary sales agreement)

The “Compromis de Vente” or preliminary sales agreement is the first legally binding document of the property purchase process. This contract will be created by your entrusted notary with the necessary information from the broker. You can have one single notary representing both the seller and buyer, or you can have separate notaries.

After the preliminary sales agreement is signed, the purchaser will have a 10 days cooling off period in which they can draw out from the sale without reason and with no penalty. This is a general protection for you as a purchaser. To purchase a property is an important investment and should be considered wisely.

Within these 10 days should the deposit be paid to the notary representing the seller. Usually, the deposit stands at 10% but can be negotiated depending on the sale.

Note: There are circumstances where the 10 days cooling-off period isn’t valid. Examples for this is when you purchase a SCI (Societé Civile Immobilier), plot of land or garages.

Information that contains within the Preliminary sales agreement

● Full information of both purchaser and seller. ● Description of the property and details of the plot including buildings. ● Confirmation of ownership of the title deeds ● The agreed price, the brokerage commission and estimated notary fees. ● Amount of deposit – usually 10%. ● Circumstance in which the deposit may be forfeited, obligations or the purchaser and declarations from the seller. ● Suspensive conditions of the sale. ● Results of the DDT (Dossier de Diagnostic Technique). ● Estimated completion for the sale and signature of the final sales deed. ● If furniture is purchased in the sale, a list of these will be in an annex. ● Details of penalties should either side fail to complete the contract

5. Sign the Acte de Vente (Final sales deed)

To reach the “Acte de Vente” or final sales deed usually takes around three months (depending usually if there is a mortgage included). This is the final step in the purchasing process and until you can move into your new home!

The signature takes place at the notary’s office and at this point the full purchase price shall be paid. If you can’t be present physically at this meeting, you can have a power of attorney drawn up by the notary.

The date for this signature is set far in advance but can be subject to change if there are any parts missing. The information contained in this contract is mostly repeated from the preliminary sales agreement but will be thoroughly explained by the notary. Important to know is that insurance is needed to be arranged before you take ownership of the property.

Once the signature is done, the keys will be handed over and you are free to enjoy your new home!