By/Par Edith LAVAL, french lawyer, avocat & guest blogger, rédacteur invité




May be some of you ended up reading De Lege Lata because they were looking for independent advice as regards the legal process of buying property in France.

For your information, I outline below general rules that may help you out.

Buying a property in France is usually a two time period process.

Once the seller and the buyer have agreed on the price and other terms, they enter into a preliminary sale agreement ordinarily called compromis de vente.

The buyer then has a period of seven days granted by French law to withdraw from the agreement for no reason. It is called délai de rétractation.

There are a number of elements that must appear in the preliminary agreement such as certifications related to asbestos, lead poisoning or the state of gas and electricity installations.

Beside, the agreement usually lists some preconditions called conditions suspensives that have to be fulfilled in order for the sale to be finalized.

These conditions may concern for example the obtaining of a mortgage loan or of a building permit…

Once all these conditions are fulfilled, French law requires the deed that finalizes the transaction, called acte authentique de vente, to be completed before a French notaire.

A notaire is a public official appointed by the French government. The notaire has a neutral role and ensures the legality and authenticity of the sale.

The fees charged by notaires for their services are fixed by the French government and depend on the transaction price.

As some tricky situation may appear throughout the property transaction process, it is recommended to foreigners to be assisted by an English speaking French lawyer at every stage of the deal.