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How to buy a property in France? Steps, fees and taxes, payment


The buying process

Once the buyer has found a property and made an offer both parties must sign a compromise - a legally binding agreement setting out all terms involved

Financing will have to be sorted out by this stage as details regarding any loans must be clearly outlined in the compromise

There is then a seven-day cooling-off period which gives the buyer (but not the seller) the opportunity to back out of the deal without a penalty. A ten-percent deposit is then required and the notary then carries out all checks on the property (for clean title, wood rot, etc.)

Before the signing takes place all funds must be transferred to the notarys account. Failure to do this on time could mean the buyer loses both the property and the money

If the buyer is not ready to visit the property before signing the final contract a representative should do so on their behalf to make sure that everything is in order. The contract clearly states that the property is accepted in its condition on the day of the sale

Finally the acte de vente is signed in front of the notary and the sale is complete. Eventually the buyer will receive the deed of land, but this may take some time. Six to twelve months is not exceptional.

Fees and taxes

The fees and taxes vary hugely depending on the region and the type of property, but you should set aside 12 to 15% of the selling price

Allow around 6 to 8% for the notarys fees. This includes stamp duty which varies from 0.6% for a new-build to 6% for any property over 5 years old

Agents fees vary greatly and can be anywhere from 4% to 15%. Around 7% is the most common amount but check when looking in agents windows for the letters FIA after the price this indicates that their fees are already included

IVA (VAT) of 19.6% is applicable on most fees and taxes, but is avoided on leasebacks. The price of new-built properties usually includes 19.6% IVA but always verify this from the start

If a French property is sold on within two days capital gains tax is likely to be in excess of 33%

Transfer tax varies greatly but for properties over 5 years it tends to be around 7%

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