Buying a house in France: the buying process explained

Buying a house in France proceeds in much the same way as investing in property in Belgium. However, there are some important differences. This article will explain the buying process in France.

Step 1. You make an offer

After you have found a suitable property, just like in Belgium, you make an offer (offre d'achat). After acceptance, your bid is legally binding. Therefore, it is important that you include conditions in your bid using a letter of intent.

When making an offer, the broker or seller may not ask for an initial deposit to be transferred already.

Find out more about bidding on a house in France here.

Step 2. The purchase agreement

After accepting the offer, the notary usually prepares the purchase agreement. This is either a mutual promise to buy and sell or the classic compromise (compromise de vente).

You can include suspensive conditions in both contracts. The urban planning situation, building history, fiscal aspects, ownership structure, etc. will then be taken into account. Of course, you are free to draw up a purchase agreement even without a notary.

After signing the purchase agreement, you will pay an amount of 10% of the purchase price. This amount should preferably be paid into the notary's third-party account. You will also have a 10-day cooling-off period in which you can abandon the purchase, with full recovery of your deposit. However, after the expiry of the cooling-off period, you will lose your right to a refund of the deposit.

Read more about some common clauses in the compromis de vente.

Step 3. Signing the deed

Within a few months, you can complete the transaction. To buy in France, as in Belgium, the notary is also necessary. After signing the deed of sale, you will receive a provisional copy (attestation of ownership) and the keys. Finally, the notary will send you the deed within six months.

Read more about the cost of buying a second residence in France.

Do you have any questions about buying in France? If so, please feel free to contact on.

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