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Buying property

PURCHASING PROPERTY

Purchasing French Property

Key Financial Considerations

  • Calculation of total global budget after factoring in an additional 7.5% to cover acquisition costs
  • Borrowing Capacity. Our reputable mortgage lenders will be able to offer you a preliminary evaluation even before visiting any properties. Get your free quote by clicking here.
  • Currency Fluctuations. Our recommended currency advisors will offer free advice on how best to anticipate and account for any fluctuations. Get your free quote by clicking here.

If you are considering selling your period property, please do get in touch and see how we can assist you.

Being Fully Informed is Key

Once you have found you perfect home, French Character Homes will provide you with supporting information relating to the property, including copies of the Diagnostic Survey and Drainage Report, which will highlight any potential abnormalities and enable us to factor in any future costs. Please note that these reports are mandated by the vendor and designed to offer the buyer a technical appraisal of the condition of the property.

The Diagnostic Survey examines the electricity and gas installation; the presence of any asbestos, lead or wood eating insects (particularly termites); the energy rating with an estimated annual energy consumption and information relating to the local area, notably any pollution risks, history of any natural risks (eg. flooding) and seismic zones.

The Drainage Report examines the conformity of the private septic system or the connection to the mains sewage network.

Please note that the above reports do not include a Structural Survey. If you are concerned about the structure of the building and would like an expert to survey the building, we can introduce you to a RICS Chartered Building Surveyor.

The Purchasing Process

Signing the Proposition d'Achat or Letter of Intent

Once your offer has been accepted, we will ask you to sign a Proposition d'Achat; this serves as a written offer for the vendor. Once the vendor has accepted the offer, he then counter signs the document and agrees to reserve the property for a set period, until the relevant paperwork can be collated and sent to the French solicitor (Notaire).

Preparing the draft Compromis de Vente

The Notaire prepares a draft of initial legal contract, known as the Compromis de Vente. This draft is sent to both parties for their agreement. The purchaser is given the right, with the agreement of both parties, to stipulate any conditions of the purchase; these are known as Clause Suspensives. For example, the purchaser may request the sale be subject to a mortgage acceptance. These Clause Suspensives basically safeguard the buyer's deposit, which is otherwise non-refundable.

Any key points from the diagnostic survey and drainage report will be highlighted within this document and the full reports will be annexed to it.

Signing the Compromis de Vente

The Notaires prefer both parties to be present for signing the Compromis de Vente. If this is not possible, then either or both parties can sign by proxy. The Notaire draws up a Power of Attorney (known as a Procuration), which is then signed, witnessed and certified by either the French Embassy or a solicitor.

Some of our Notaires offer an English translation of the legal contracts – please request further details.

Within eight days of signing, the purchaser transfers the security deposit equating to 5-10% of the purchase price. Then follows a ten day cooling off period, during which time the purchaser may elect to withdraw from the sale, without any penalties.

Signing the Acte Authentique

The second and final contract is known as the Acte Authentique and is signed by the vendor and purchaser in the presence of the Notaire. This legal document repeats the terms and conditions of the Compromis de Vente and serves to finalize the sale and transfer the Title Deeds to the new owners.

Purchasing Costs


The legal fees represent approximately 7.5% of the purchase price (equivalent to UK Stamp Duty). These are comprised of registration fees; local, departmental and national taxes; and Notary fees.

Agency Fees

Our Agency Fees are included in all our advertised Sales Price. In compliance with the Loi Macron-Duflau January 2017, see our fees table.

Ownership Costs

The Taxe d’Habitation is a local residential tax and is payable by the occupant of the property on the 1st January each year.

The Taxe Foncière is a tax imposed on buildings and land. It will be divided between the vendor and the purchaser on a pro-rata basis for the calendar year.

Both Tax bills are issued in October and paid in arrears.

"French Character Homes offer a service that no-one else can in SW France and we would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone thinking of buying in the region, whether it’s for a holiday home, or a primary home and/or with business requirements, we do not know of anyone else who is more capable of providing excellent insight and support. "

Mel & Dave Walker, UK – Buyers

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