Buying Guide for Normandy Properties
Agent’s commission is already included in the property prices on the website and on the Estate Agents details (variable – rising to a maximum of 10%).
Notaire’s fees are in addition. Fixed by statute, they work on a sliding scale dependant on the price of the property (diminishing as the property price increases). As a rule of thumb, they are generally approx 6-8% of the property price. They include all search fees and stamp duty.
Local Property Taxes There are two:(1) Taxe fonciere - this a local 'land' tax, payable by the owner to the Commune to cover local services, and the purchaser is liable from the date of the Completion document. It is generally split pro-rata between vendor and purchaser.
(2) Taxe d'habitation - this is a local 'community' tax payable to the Commune, calculated according to the size of the property, this is payable by the resident occupier on 1 January every year. Both taxes are payable whether an owner is resident or not
Normandy Property Assist fee 1,800 euros + vat
Bon de Visit. Under French law you can be asked to sign a Bon de Visite for each property you view with an agent. This is purely to protect the agent and essentially means that if you have signed one, view the property and then view it again with another agent, possibly at a lower price, even if an offer is made through this agent, the vendor will pay the commission to the first agent you viewed the property with. A Bon de Visit is certainly nothing to be concerned about.
Once a vendor has accepted your offer you will be asked to sign a promesse d’achat which shows the vendor your commitment to the sale. This document is not contractually binding for the purchaser. However, the process of buying is contractually binding much earlier in France than in the UK. As a result you will need to have the finances in place before you commit to the purchase; the process will make no provision or condition for the sale of your property in the UK.
First Step: The compromis (first contract)
The compromis is the first contractually binding document you will sign and is therefore a very important document.
The compromis is really the first draft of the final contract. Basically, it sets out the details of the purchase (what you are buying) and those involved in it (the vendor and the buyer) as well as showing how much you are paying (including what the fees are). It has to be signed by both vendor and purchaser.
In order to have the compromis drawn up, you will need to provide:
- Copy of your passport details
- Full name and address
- Job title
- Date and place of birth
- Date and place of marriage (if relevant)
- Date and place of divorce (if relevant)
- Property loan details if you're borrowing money to purchase the property, you'll need paperwork with details of the loan.
Second Step: Cooling off
Once the compromis is signed by both parties, it is returned to the purchaser who then has a 7-day cooling off period.
During this time, the purchaser can withdraw from the sale with no penalty incurred. The same privilege is not given to the vendor.
Third Step: Binding contract
Once the 7-day cooling off period is complete, the contract is binding on both parties.
It is at this time that the deposit is due
The deposit required is usually 10% of the net purchase price.
By now, the compromis is a binding contract and withdrawal could result in the loss of your 10% deposit.
Compromis signed, deposit paid. The searches begin on the property: ownership, land boundaries, rights of way etc. The notaire is responsible for ensuring these are done and you do not need to pay separately for these.
The time period from the compromis to the completion is approximately 3 months.
Completion - The final signing
Once the notaire receives results of the searches and has a completed file he will set the completion date and issue the purchaser with the completion statement. It is important to make sure you transfer the balance of your payment to the notaire's account in plenty of time for the signing date.
Missing the completion date can mean you lose the house and the deposit! This may also involve your mortgage lender who, where relevant, must ensure the completion monies are in the notaire's account in plenty of time. No transaction will complete until all monies have been cleared in the notaire's account.
If you are not able to be in France for the signing, you can arrange a power of attorney for it to be signed in your absence. You will need to set this up a couple of weeks before the completion date.
Buildings and contents insurance must be in place at the time of completion. This is a legal requirement in France.
After the signing you will return to the property with the vendors and the Estate Agent and be shown where everything is.