Agence le Prince Noir Immobilier

How to buy in France

This information is intended as a guide and should give you a good idea of what to expect with your own purchase. There may be some differences, but don't worry, we will be with you every step of the way. The whole procedure usually takes about three months from acceptance of your offer to final signature, but could take longer if a change of use certificate is required or if a mortgage is involved.

 You've found ‘the one' and you make an offer, through the agent, for the property


 The vendor accepts your offer

 You sign a ‘Proposition d'Achat' showing the vendor that you are a serious buyer and authorising a ‘compromis de vente' to be drawn up

 You supply the agent with your papers – birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport and any divorce or change of name certificates in order that the compromis can be drawn up

 The compromis is drawn up and the reports for asbestos, (lead and termites where necessary) will be ordered by the vendor if not already available

 The compromis is sent, with the relevant reports, to the buyer for signature

 The compromis is then sent to the vendor for signature

 Once signed by both parties, the buyer is sent an SRU letter – this is a notification that you are now entering your 10 day cooling off period, a relatively new stage in the process introduced to allow the buyer a period of reflection. The same period is not available to the vendor – they are tied in as soon as they have signed the compromis

 At the end of the 10 day cooling off period the buyer pays the deposit into the Notaire's account, normally 10% of the asking price and always specified in the compromis

 Also at the end of the 10 days, the whole file, including all the signed documents, is sent to the Notaire who starts his searches. This usually takes around 2 months

 At this time we will request a change of use certificate if you are planning to convert a building that is not currently used as a dwelling, or if you are buying a house a more simple status certificate will be requested, both from the local planning department via the Mairie. (Don't worry, if you require a positive result from the change of use certificate for the purchase of your property, we will enter a clause into your compromis from the start protecting you should you get a negative decision)

 The agent receives the result of the change of use application and notifies the buyer, vendor and the Notaire (this is usually the last formality to be completed). If this result is negative the buyer can pull out at this stage and be reimbursed the deposit with no penalties due

 The agent will arrange a mutually convenient signing date and obtain the final balance of the account from the Notaire

 The buyer arranges for these funds to be transferred to the Notaire's account

 The agent verifies that funds have been received

 The buyer attends the final signing with the agent who will be there to translate. (Power of Attorney can be arranged for buyers who are unable to attend)

 You will be given the keys – time to celebrate!

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