The transaction

Buying A Property In France

Many people who visit France become enchanted with the French way of life and have contemplated moving to France or buying a second property here.

Property prices in France are currently lower than in the UK, and in the Charente the potential saving is considerable. It's exciting to think that what are dreams at the moment could become a reality.

The Vendor and the Estate Agent

In France the process of buying a property is regulated at each step of the procedure, from the owner of the property placing it with an estate agent (immobilier)

A contract to sell (mandat de vente) is completed by the owner and the estate agent, showing the owners price, the estate agents fees plus Vat (TVA)

The scale of fees (barème des honoraires) is strictly regulated and legally must be displayed at the agents premises.

The Purchaser, the Estate Agent and the Notaire

When you decide to purchase the property you should appoint a solicitor (notaire) to do the conveyance (cession) who will charge their fees (usually between 8% and 10% of the purchase price of the property).

It's a legal requirement in France that all property contracts must be written in French and all money transactions should be in Euros. Any French property contracts you sign in the UK (or any other country) have no validity in France.

The Preliminary Sales Contract

Once you have found the right property with our agency you will be asked to sign a preliminary contract (compromis de vente).

The Preliminary contract (Compromis de Vente), is very important as all legal aspects of the sale are fixed at that time. The Compromis de Vente is binding for both the vendor and the purchaser (acheteur). The property agent can sign the Compromis de Vente, but it advisable to use your notaire.

You will be required to place a deposit of 10% of the property price in the hands of the notaire to guarantee your commitment to purchase the property.

If you do not wish to continue with buying the property, your 10% deposit is forfeited and given to the vendor. However if you've included the clause stating mortgage finance is being sought, and your mortgage application is declined, you will not lose your deposit.

IMPORTANT: In all cases, if a mortgage is being sought the sales contract must contain a clause stating that mortgage finance is being sought (condition suspensive).

The notaire will collect and verify all the documents such as property titles and mortgage documents. After which he will request the mortgage finance from the lender. When all that is completed you will be required to sign the final sales agreement (Acte de Vente).


Jargon Buster
Acompte Deposit
Acte AuthentiqueDeed of Sale
Acte de VenteFinal sales agreement
Agent immobilierEstate agent
Assurance décèsLife Assurance
Avocat Solicitor
Barème des honorairesScale of Fees
en bon étatIn good condition
Compromis/Promesse de ventePreliminary sales agreement
Condition suspensiveLet-out clause
Contrat de réservationReservation contract
Cuisine aménegéeFitted kitchen
Cuisine équipéeEquipped kitchen
Cuisine americaineOpen plan kitchen
en Deux (2) niveaux2 storey
Exposé NordNorth facing
Feuille de paiePayslip
Frais de dossierMortgage arrangement fee
Frais de notaireNotaire fees
HypothèqueLegal charge (mortgage deed)
Mandat de VenteContract to sell
Maison 4 pièces 4 room house (plus kitchen & bathroom)
Multirisques HabitationBuildings & contents insurance policy
Notaire French notary (Solicitor/Lawyer)
Période d'anticipation Pre-completion period
de Plain-piedSingle storey
PrêteurMortgage lender
Relevé de compteBank statement
a RénoverIn need of renovation
3, 4 pièces3 or 4 rooms (plus kitchen & bathroom)
Vendeur Vendor