FACT FILE - Buying a property in France
Also: New Mandatory Property Surveys
are now more and more people buying a holiday home or settling in France. Below
is a brief guide.
normal procedure when purchasing a property in France is to sign a preliminary
contract, which is usually drawn up by the agent, and pay a deposit of 10% of
the purchase price which is held either by the notary or some times by the agent
in an escrow account. Completion normally takes place 2 to 3 months afterwards,
at which time the purchaser pays the balance of the price + the conveyancing costs
('frais de notaire') which come to around 6.7% in the case of a resale, and around
2.5% if it is the first sale and the property is less than 5 years old.
France the notary's job is to register the sale of a property, and ensure that
all the legal requirements are met with. The purchaser has the right to choose
his notary (most agents can recommend a reputable one), and if the vendor also
wishes to appoint a notary he may do so. This in no way affects the amount of
the conveyancing costs, which at the moment come to a total of about 6.7% of the
purchase price + the costs of the paperwork if a loan is involved. These costs
are borne by the purchaser.
agents in France can only operate with a licence, or 'carte professionnelle',
and should also be members of a recognised association (syndic.) such as the FNAIM,
UNIT or SNIP. You are advised to check that any agent you are using DOES conform
to these requirements and is therefore covered by professional insurance.
new law, which came into effect in June 2001, provides the purchaser with a 7
day 'cooling off' period, during which time he can change his mind about buying
the property with no questions asked. The only requirement is that he notify his
change of mind by registered letter before the expiration of the 7 day period.
This law used to apply only to new properties, but now applies to ALL purchases
by a private buyer. If the purchaser is a real estate professional, eg a 'marchand
de biens', he does not benefit from this withdrawal period.
most French people are not used to having surveys carried out. New buildings nearly
always carry a 10 year warranty on construction, but if you are buying your dream
stone farmhouse (if you are lucky enough to find one!) there is nothing to stop
you having a survey done, preferably within the 7 days' 'cooling off' period.See
Also: New Mandatory Property Surveys
should be transferred into the purchaser's name on the day of completion. Most
agents will perform this service. If you are not a French resident the easiest
solution is probably to arrange for a direct debit to your bank account, with
the bills sent to your home address so that you can keep track. It is therefore
advisable to open a French bank account before completion so that you are already
in possession of all the forms.
of France and French owners of secondary homes are liable for capital gains tax
when they sell; after various deductions, this amounts to 16% of the profit for
EUROPEAN residents, and 33% for residents of non EU countries. French owners of
secondary homes are liable for 16% + 12%(28% total).
is important to know that French inheritance law is very different from that in
the children cannot be disinherited. You should be aware that FRENCH
law applies to any property you own in France, even if you are not a French resident.
It is possible to leave your share of the property to the surviving spouse, but
this will require a specific document to be drawn up, preferably at the time of
purchase. Your notary or lawyer can best advise you how to do this. Look into
making a will in France as well as your country of residence.
FNAIM -Fédération Nationale de l'Immobilier - France
is the 1st professional organisation of estate agents.Set up in 1946, FNAIM
(French national real estate federation) is recognisable by the famous Yellow
Cube logo, it brings together, over 11,000 real estate agencies. In becoming FNAIM
members, professionals undertake to abide by the quality charter developed by
the Federation. The charter underlines the ethics, integrity and professionalism
required of all FNAIM members.
a professional trade association, FNAIM is concerned with representing and defending
the interests of real estate professionals and their clients, the consumers. Its
mission has encouraged it to maintain privileged ties with public authorities
and to participate actively in the preparation of statutory and regulatory provisions
for all topics likely to have decisive implications for exercising a real estate
profession, in particular, and the housing policy, in general.
a number of analytical tools at its disposal, FNAIM is unquestionably a leading
reference in the provision of information and economic studies on the real estate
market. Every quarter, it puts out business updates presenting the position of
old housing on the property transaction market and once a year, that of the income-producing
real estate market. It also publishes studies on the real estate industry and
statistics worth knowing. FNAIM can thus focus its lobbying action on viewpoints
based on fact and supported by reliable economic data.
FNAIM is also backed by a Legal Department that keeps an on-going legislative
and regulatory watch on the industry and allows the Federation to be a source
of analyses and proposals in its dealings at Parliament level. It also meets the
needs of members by being available for consultation by telephone or post.
or selling info in France - If
you need to
check out what property has sold for in France then you need to visit www.immoprix.com
. The data is provided by Notaires. You'll find prices and indices for each type
of property (house, apartment, land) based on its geographical location (region,
department, municipality, district, neighbourhood).
Mandatory Property Surveys
de Performance Energétique - DPE (Energy Performance Survey): From
the 1st July 2007, these are mandatory for all sales. This survey is provided
purely for information purposes (like in England
and Wales, Scotland,
Ireland and The
Republic of Ireland) and covers levels of energy consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions. Properties are rated from A to G (A represents optimal
performance) and the survey is valid for 10 years. It also includes recommendations
for improving energy consumption Article L134.L of the Building and Housing Code.
If you are letting out your property remember The DPE - Diagnostic de Performance
Énergétique should accompany any new or renewed lease agreement for a lease period
of longer than four months. It is the responsibility of the property owner to
have a building examined and to make any obligatory improvements.
-Risque d'Exposition au Plomb - Lead Survey:
This has been mandatory since July 1998 for properties built before the 1st January
1949. The lead survey is valid for one year only. If the survey is not provided
a vendor can be liable to criminal action if let is detected under Article L1334-5
and 1334-8 of the Public Health Code. If you are letting out your property
remember As of 12 August 2008, landlords of property built before 1 January 1949
must attach a CREP (Risque d'Exposition au Plomb) report detailing the risk of
exposure to lead poisoning within the building. This CREP must accompany any new
or renewed lease agreement.
Law: For the sale of an apartment all relevant documents must include a reference
to the exact surface area in a property, if not the buyer is entitled to have
the sale annulled up to one month after signature. If the surface area proves
to be smaller than the stated amount, the new owner has one year in which to obtain
the a reduction in the purchase price. If the the surface area has been underestimated,
the vendor (seller) has no recourse against the buyer (Law 96-1107 of 1th December
Gas Installations -installations de gaz : From the ist November 2007 it has
been mandatory to carry out a survey on the state of any gas installations that
are over 15 years old. The survey has to be carried out by an ISO 17024 certified
surveyor and is valid for one year only. It covers the gas pipes and ventilation
/ combustion systems. Comes under Article L134-6 of the Building and Housing Code.
Survey - amiante: An asbestos survey must be included in the sales agreement
for any property built before the 1st July 1997.The survey has to be carried out
by an ISO 17024 certified surveyor and samples are then analysed by an approved
laboratory - COFRAC
Wiring: A report on the condition of the electricity supply in the property,
where the wiring is over 15 years old. This requirement is a recent (2008) change
in the law, and is scheduled to become operational on 1st January 2009. A survey
is valid for three years. No survey is necessary where a certificat de conformité
can be produced as evidence that the property complies with the regulations, provided
the certificate is less than three years old.
and man made risks report - un plan de prévention des risques naturels: A
report on the existence of natural risks that include flooding, earthquakes etc
or a man made risk like transportation of hazardous substances or the nuclear
industry is required for an property located in a high risk area. High risk areaa
are defined by the Prefecct L.125-5 of the Environment Code and the reports are
valid for six months.
Survey - etat des risques parasitaires: This survey must be included in the
deed of sale for properties located in contaminated areas as defined by the Prefect.
A surevey is valid for 3 months only.
Surveys that are likely to be introduced in France
tanks Survey - Fosses septiques: A report on the condition
of a septic tank, for those properties which do not have mains drainage.The government
keeps moving back the date when this survey requirement is scheduled to come into
operation. The date now being suggested is 2013.
The above information is given in good faith by jml Property Services and the
website it is being displayed on. It should not be relied on for accuracy and
property owners should consult tax experts / accountants in the country their
property is in and also their home country. ©jml property Services ©jml
property Services 07-05
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