a property in France
See Also: Mandatory Property Surveys
a property in France has become very popular over the past few years by many Europeans,
particularly the British. People buy for a number of reasons – holiday homes,
investment property or moving to the country.
The French administrative formalities are bound up in "red tape", and a property
transaction is no exception. However, the system is in many ways better and safer
than that applying in most other countries, including England and Wales. The French
law concerning property is more like Scottish law than English and Welsh and it
is not possible to agree one price with one buyer and then agree a higher price
with another one and "Gazump".
First of all you make a written offer on a property that is accepted by the owner,
you will usually be expected to put down a deposit of 10% of the purchase price,
which you may forfeit if you change your mind, unless there is a bona fide reason
for doing so or if you having a mortgage and this is not accepted. The process
of the purchase transaction must go through a "notaire" (notary) who is the only
person who can make the title searches and obtain certain legal documents necessary
to make the transaction possible.
The purchaser can choose the notary he wants to handle the transaction. The purchaser
is responsible for the payment of the "notary fees", which depending on the selling
price, can be as much as 8% on small old properties (though around 6.5% is more
usual), or as little as 1.5 to 2.% on newly built properties, with an additional
cost of around 1 - 1.5% if a mortgage is to be registered on the property. It
should be noted that prices of property are generally advertised exclusive of
these charges. The notary does not get the entire fee. His fees are determined
by the French state (on a scale which is the same for all notaries), the state
take a much larger part (similar to property taxes in Belgium, stamp duty in the
If an owner wants to use his/her notary - which is allowed under French law -
be aware that you have the right to choose your own notary who will work in collaboration
with the owner's notary. It is quite common to have two notaries working on the
same transaction, with no additional cost to the purchaser as fees are shared.
However, the delay may be a little longer due to the necessity for the two notaries
to correspond with each other. If you do not speak and understand French fluently
it is advisable to use a notaire who understands your language.
Once the two parties have come to an agreement on the sale price, the terms and
conditions of the sale are discussed with the notary who then prepares the preliminary
contract or "compromis de vente". This contract is just as important as
the final document transferring title as it must contain all the clauses and conditions
precedent to the sale. These include clear title, easements, certificates stating
whether the property conforms to current legislation on asbestos and other matters,
and, most importantly, whether the purchase is subject to the condition of obtaining
Once the compromis de vente has been signed It is usual at this stage to
pay a deposit of 10% of the purchase price (5% when purchasing property "off plan").
This can be done by payment, by cheque, which must be drawn on a French bank,
or bank transfer, will normally be made to a notary. The compromis de vente
signed by both parties is sent to the purchaser and from the date of receiving
it he/she has seven days in which to change his/her mind.
At the end of this period, the contract becomes binding and the transaction is
now "under compromis". The owner cannot sell to anyone else, nor change the price,
and if he refuses to sign the final document the purchaser can obtain a court
order forcing him to sell. The purchaser can pull out of the deal without loosing
the deposit if one of the clauses or conditions precedent inserted in the contract
has not been fulfilled. Otherwise he may be able to pull out but will almost certainly
loose the deposit.
It then takes a further 2 / 3 months for the notiare to prepare all the necessary
paperwork before getting the parties together to sign the title deed "acte
definitive". When both the parties have signed and the purchaser paid the
remaining 90% or 95% of the purchase price as well as the notary fees the purchaser
becomes the legal owner of the property and receives the keys.
1st November 2007 all properties offered for sale in France with natural - mains
gas services installed more than 15 years ago must include a Diagnostic Gaz in
the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (This is rather like the HIP - Home information
pack in England and Wales). It costs around 100 - 150 for the test
that includes supply pipes, boiler, water heater and radiators. The certificate
will be valid for three years and the seller has to organise and pay for this
before a compris de vente can be signed.
are also new rules for surveys from November 2007 all the technicans carrying
out these tests must be accredited by COFRAC Comité d’accreditation français (Similar
to Corgi in the UK). The new rules could effect around 10 million properties when
they go on the sales market. If a property has bottled - cylinder gas (like calor
gas) this is not covered by the new test.
Capital Gains Tax
Non-residents of France and French owners of secondary homes are liable for capital
gains tax when they sell; after various deductions, this amounts to 16% of the
profit for EUROPEAN residents, and 33% for residents of non EU countries. French
owners of secondary homes are liable for 16% + 12%(28% total).
It is important to know that French inheritance law is very different from
that in England… the children cannot be disinherited. You should be aware that
FRENCH law applies to any property you own in France, even if you are not a French
resident. It is possible to leave your share of the property to the surviving
spouse, but this will require a specific document to be drawn up, preferably at
the time of purchase. Your notary or lawyer can best advise you how to do this.
Look into making a will in France as well as your country of residence.
rental income is subject to VAT (TVA) at 19.6 per cent. For furnished lettings
up to an annual value of €76,000 there is a 72 per cent rate deduction in respect
of expenses under the 'Micro-Bic' regime. The remaining 25% net profit is taxed
at 25%. If the investor has assets with a value in excess of €720,000 the owner
will be subject to an annual wealth tax of between 0.55 per cent and 1.8 per cent.
If you dispose of your property after less than two years you will be subject
to income tax at 16 per cent and after that up to 47 per cent.
FNAIM -Fédération Nationale de l'Immobilier - France
1st professional organisation of estate agents.Set up in 1946, FNAIM (French national
real estate federation) is recognisable by the famous Yellow Cube logo, it brings
together, over 11,000 real estate agencies. In becoming FNAIM members, professionals
undertake to abide by the quality charter developed by the Federation. The charter
underlines the ethics, integrity and professionalism required of all FNAIM members.
a professional trade association, FNAIM is concerned with representing and defending
the interests of real estate professionals and their clients, the consumers. Its
mission has encouraged it to maintain privileged ties with public authorities
and to participate actively in the preparation of statutory and regulatory provisions
for all topics likely to have decisive implications for exercising a real estate
profession, in particular, and the housing policy, in general.
a number of analytical tools at its disposal, FNAIM is unquestionably a leading
reference in the provision of information and economic studies on the real estate
market. Every quarter, it puts out business updates presenting the position of
old housing on the property transaction market and once a year, that of the income-producing
real estate market. It also publishes studies on the real estate industry and
statistics worth knowing. FNAIM can thus focus its lobbying action on viewpoints
based on fact and supported by reliable economic data.
FNAIM is also backed by a Legal Department that keeps an on-going legislative
and regulatory watch on the industry and allows the Federation to be a source
of analyses and proposals in its dealings at Parliament level. It also meets the
needs of members by being available for consultation by telephone or post.
or selling info in France - If
you need to
check out what property has sold for in France then you need to visit www.immoprix.com
. The data is provided by Notaires. You'll find prices and indices for each type
of property (house, apartment, land) based on its geographical location (region,
department, municipality, district, neighbourhood).
Mandatory Property Surveys
de Performance Energétique - DPE (Energy Performance Survey): From
the 1st July 2007, these are mandatory for all sales. This survey is provided
purely for information purposes (like in England
and Wales, Scotland,
Ireland and The
Republic of Ireland) and covers levels of energy consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions. Properties are rated from A to G (A represents optimal
performance) and the survey is valid for 10 years. It also includes recommendations
for improving energy consumption Article L134.L of the Building and Housing Code.
If you are letting out your property remember The DPE - Diagnostic de Performance
Énergétique should accompany any new or renewed lease agreement for a lease period
of longer than four months. It is the responsibility of the property owner to
have a building examined and to make any obligatory improvements.
-Risque d'Exposition au Plomb - Lead Survey:
This has been mandatory since July 1998 for properties built before the 1st January
1949. The lead survey is valid for one year only. If the survey is not provided
a vendor can be liable to criminal action if let is detected under Article L1334-5
and 1334-8 of the Public Health Code. If you are letting out your property
remember As of 12 August 2008, landlords of property built before 1 January 1949
must attach a CREP (Risque d'Exposition au Plomb) report detailing the risk of
exposure to lead poisoning within the building. This CREP must accompany any new
or renewed lease agreement.
Law: For the sale of an apartment all relevant documents must include a reference
to the exact surface area in a property, if not the buyer is entitled to have
the sale annulled up to one month after signature. If the surface area proves
to be smaller than the stated amount, the new owner has one year in which to obtain
the a reduction in the purchase price. If the the surface area has been underestimated,
the vendor (seller) has no recourse against the buyer (Law 96-1107 of 1th December
Gas Installations -installations de gaz : From the ist November 2007 it has
been mandatory to carry out a survey on the state of any gas installations that
are over 15 years old. The survey has to be carried out by an ISO 17024 certified
surveyor and is valid for one year only. It covers the gas pipes and ventilation
/ combustion systems. Comes under Article L134-6 of the Building and Housing Code.
Survey - amiante: An asbestos survey must be included in the sales agreement
for any property built before the 1st July 1997.The survey has to be carried out
by an ISO 17024 certified surveyor and samples are then analysed by an approved
laboratory - COFRAC
Wiring: A report on the condition of the electricity supply in the property,
where the wiring is over 15 years old. This requirement is a recent (2008) change
in the law, and is scheduled to become operational on 1st January 2009. A survey
is valid for three years. No survey is necessary where a certificat de conformité
can be produced as evidence that the property complies with the regulations, provided
the certificate is less than three years old.
and man made risks report - un plan de prévention des risques naturels: A
report on the existence of natural risks that include flooding, earthquakes etc
or a man made risk like transportation of hazardous substances or the nuclear
industry is required for an property located in a high risk area. High risk areaa
are defined by the Prefecct L.125-5 of the Environment Code and the reports are
valid for six months.
Survey - etat des risques parasitaires: This survey must be included in the
deed of sale for properties located in contaminated areas as defined by the Prefect.
A surevey is valid for 3 months only.
Surveys that are likely to be introduced in France
tanks Survey - Fosses septiques: A report on the condition
of a septic tank, for those properties which do not have mains drainage.The government
keeps moving back the date when this survey requirement is scheduled to come into
operation. The date now being suggested is 2013.
The above information is given in good faith by jml Property Services and the
website it is being displayed on. It should not be relied on for accuracy and
property owners should consult tax experts / accountants in the country their
property is in and also their home country. ©jml property Services ©jml
property Services 07-05
also:French Property Tax Deadline May 09
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