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Buying Property in France: The Process

Once you have found your dream French property, it’s important to make sure you know how to secure it and make a successful purchase. We asked the experts at Currencies Direct to take us through the basic steps you need to follow for buying a property in France – from the offer to taking possession of the keys…

Get your documents and finances in order

Making an offer is just the first stage. Before final contracts are authorised, a pre-contract needs to be signed – the compromis de vente. 10 days to have passed – a cooling off period. During this time, the seller is prevented from accepting other offers. You will need to provide various documents such as birth/wedding certificates, copy of passport (with at least six months validity before it expires), etc. At this stage it’s a good idea to appoint a currency exchange specialist who will work with you to ensure that the whole process goes smoothly. They will make sure that funds are transferred on the right dates, a deposit at the end of 10 days, and the remaining amount on completion of the buying process.

Appointing a notaire

You will need to appoint a legal specialist – a “notaire.” Their job is to draw up the contracts. The seller and buyer may share the same notaire or appoint one separately. A notaire is the only entity who can register the transfer of ownership with the French land registry. They will check that all documents are genuine. By law, they. must provide the buyer with all information about the agreement. Their presence guarantees that the transaction is secure and that the title of ownership is clear. They also collect related taxes on behalf of the state.

The amount of money that the notaire’s collect depend on the net value, age (whether existing or new build), location (departmental taxes vary from one area to another) and type of property. New builds require also require registration taxes plus VAT at the rate of 20% on the purchase price (except for sales between private individuals).

Even though these costs are called “notaire’s fees”, the notaire only receives around 1% of the property sale price. The rest is for registration costs and tax. The buyer covers the notaires fees, if there is more than one notaire, they split the fee in half.

Pay a deposit to the notaire

After signing the preliminary contract, you need to pay 10% of the sale price as a deposit to the notaire. Currencies Direct can help with this, they’ll transfer the money on the correct date, at the best rate. At this point, it’s a good idea to open a French bank account. Again you’ll need to provide documentation which the bank will specify.

Sign the contract

It usually takes 2-3 months to complete all the paperwork after which you will need to go to the notary’s office to sign the deed of sale – Acte Authentique de Vente. This concludes the legal handover of the property. The funds to pay the notaire’s fees need to have been transferred before the contract is signed. Currencies Direct will work with you to ensure that the money is paid in good time and at the best rate to suit you.

Use a currency specialist

It can be much more economical to use a currency transfer specialist rather than a bank. Currencies Direct will ensure you get competitive exchange rates, and they’ll make sure that your funds are protected from currency fluctuation. They’ll help you navigate the currency market too, taking into consideration your specific needs, goals and budget. And unlike banks – they don’t charge a transfer fee.

The last thing you want or need when you’re buying your dream home in France is to worry about currency transfers. What you do want and need is peace of mind when sending money overseas, to know that you’re getting the best rate and be sure that there will be no hidden fees. Currencies Direct are renowned for their excellent client service and they have helped thousands of clients with their house purchase in France.

Buyers Guide for property purchases in France

Currencies Direct have created a helpful Buyers Guide full of useful tips to help you with your property purchase. Get it free here:

They also run regular French property and lifestyle shows in the UK where all the best experts in the business are on hand to help make those France property dreams come true.

The Good Life France uses Currencies Direct. Registration is easy and secure, plus there are no added fees. They save their customers money  with their advantageous rates of exchange and guidance. You can speak to one of their experts over email or by phone… Find out more about their currency transfer services here: currenciesdirect.com

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