Buying an existing property in France

The Euromortgage Shop,  Friday, 22 September 2017

Languedoc Street of Port of Collioure 

Real estate and sudden impulses do not usually go well together! The success of the operation depends on how well you have thought things through beforehand. Following these simple steps will help you to avoid any unpleasant surprises!

1st step
Give the process a lot of thought!
Think things through!
Think about your habits and life style: are you more attracted by a house in the country, by a flat in a town or city within walking distance of theatres, cinemas and restaurants? Will you have access to car in France or will you have to use public transport? How often will you travel to your holiday home? How will you get there?
Work out your budget!
Calculate the size of your personal contribution to the transaction (available savings, investments, etc.) and arrange call our advisors to work out your borrowing capacity. When you draw up your budget, don‟t forget to include related expenses and, in particular, the conveyance fees.
Fine-tune your project
The region you choose will naturally depend on your personal preferences: sea or mountain, city or countryside... Let yourself be guided by your innermost desires.

2nd step
Reaching the right decision
Use your time to best advantage!
Avoid travelling for nothing; ask the estate agent the right questions:
What is the surface area of the property, how big is the garden?
How many rooms are there, how many bedrooms?
What direction is it facing?
What type of building is it (architecture style, date of construction)? How far is it from the nearest facilities (shops, public transport, etc.)?
Visit the properties of your choice!
Pay particular attention to the electrical installation, to the window frames, to the roof structure. Turn on the warm and cold water taps.
How is the property insulated? How is it heated?
Take a look at the cellar! Have you found the house of your dreams? Try to organize a second visit, if possible at a different time of day.
Carry out some essential research!
Visit the local Mairie (town hall) and check on the local land use plan, etc.
Your advisor will provide you with the documents you would be wise to consult:
The minutes of the last three meetings of the joint owners‟ association: these documents will enable you to discover what work has been done in the condominium and what work has been planned, and give you an idea of any problems. You can also consult the building‟s maintenance logbook.
The statements of maintenance and service charges for the past year, to calculate what you can expect to pay on average.
The declaration of codes, covenants and restrictions (règlement de copropriété).
The compulsory technical surveys (asbestos, lead, termites).
The amount of land tax (taxe foncière) and local rates (taxe d‟habitation) charged on the property.

3rd step
Commit yourself!
Sign the preliminary contract
Only sign the preliminary contract (promesse de vente or compromise de vente) once all your objections have been settled. Whatever the form of this preliminary agreement – which may be signed at the estate agent‟s or notary‟s office –it always includes certain important details such as the identity of both parties, a full description of the property, the total surface area of the flat if it forms part of a condominium (in accordance with the Carrez Act), the price, the let-out clauses with, in particular, the clause related to purchaser‟s inability to arrange a loan. This clause is especially important to the extent it releases the purchaser from his obligation to buy the property if his loan application is refused. If you have several loans outstanding, make sure that these are mentioned in the preliminary contract.
Remember that although the preliminary contract is a binding document, you enjoy a 7-day “cooling off” period when you are fully entitled to change your mind and withdraw from the agreement. It is usual at this stage to leave a deposit equal to 10% of the purchase price.
Choosing a second notaire will not increase the total fees. Don‟t hesitate to enlist the services of your own; he will defend your interests against the notaire of the vendor should any problems arise.

4th step
Arrange your mortgage! Once you have signed the preliminary contract, you should complete all the financial arrangements.

5th step
Move in!
Before the deed of sale
In addition to looking for the right loan, you should also make plans for the moment you take possession of the property. The notaire will inform you of the date chosen to sign the acte authentique (deed of sale) – a deadline is included in the preliminary contract – and will send you a precise breakdown of the amounts to be paid.
Make all the necessary arrangements in preparation for the big day. If you are taking out a loan, the bank should have transferred the funds corresponding to the purchase price. Remember to take out a building and contents insurance policy – known as assurance multirisques habitation (MRH) in French – to be covered against burglary, damage to your property of your neighbours (water damage). An MRH policy also includes personal liability cover: you are insured against damage or injury to a third party.
The day you sign the deed of sale
This is the day when the purchase price conveyance fees are paid and the keys to the property are handed over. You could also be asked to pay the estate agent‟s commission if these are to be settled by the purchaser separately, an interim payment to the property agent for maintenance or service charges if your property forms part of a condominium, the payment of your share of the year‟s land tax and local rates, etc.
You will only receive your final title deed several months after signing the deed of sale. Don‟t hesitate to demand it! However, when you sign the deed of sale, the notaire will give you all the necessary title certificates proving your ownership of the property.

French village in the countryside
Search for French property and real estate for sale in all regions of France. Fermettes, gites, houses, B&B’s for sale by owner. Houses for sale in Gironde, Dordogne, Landes, Calvados, Manche and Orne 
Loved this book from start to finish

French village Midi Pyrénées Propriétés offers you the ‘complete property service’: offering guidance in the first steps of your search; accompanying you as you view and consider suitable properties; providing help with the whole buying process and dealing with the notaire and conveyancing process; helping to arrange all practical matters such as gas, water, and electricity; and offering any assistance necessary up to and including settling into your dream home. 
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