France is an incredibly beautiful country that has so much to offer visitors to their shores. Many people fall in love with the French way of life and after a few visits are very tempted to sell up and move for good to certain regions. Provence, La Dordogne, Brittany and Normandy are all beautiful regions which are unique in their own special way and are some of the places that people move to.
It is very understandable that many people are drawn to the south of France. The great weather, the opportunity to eat lots of good food as well as the great wine, married to the lovely properties in exquisite villages, has tempted people to settle here for decades. The Dordogne too with its beautiful countryside, temperate although sometimes wet climate, has attracted people from all over the world and again the properties that can be found here are for some, a dream come true.
Buying a property in France requires understanding just how the whole system works and it is always advisable to get as much professional help as possible because there are certain things that differ in the way the process is carried out.
A Compromis de Vente is the initial contract that is signed by both the vendor and the buyer. It is a legally binding document, so has to be taken very seriously by both parties concerned. The buyer will have to pay a deposit which is normally a percentage of the purchase price and this deposit remains in the hands of the Notaire until the sale is completed or called off. Surveys on properties should be carried out before any contract is signed to ensure that all is well with the property.
If the survey comes back okay, then normally there is up to 8 weeks for searches to be carried out on the property and it is the Notaire who carries these out. A Notaire is not like a solicitor or lawyer in so far as they do not represent either the vendor or the seller, they are public officials who work for the State. It is their job to ensure that everything is carried out legally and once their seal of approval has been given, it cannot be contested.
As a purchaser, it is always advisable to appoint a Notaire to act for you, although this is not absolutely necessary unless the contract is more complicated than normal. But if you are not familiar with French property law it can be a great help and there are no extra fees applicable. One thing to bear in mind is that should a purchaser break a contract, then they will lose their deposit and this will be paid to the vendor as an indemnity but this works both ways so if the vendor cancels the sale, the purchase will get their deposit back. The fees and commissions involved in purchasing a property in France includes the legal fees and registration taxes which is normally around 7.5% of the purchase price.