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Buying or selling French property : Let us make it a safe transaction.


Due to the "Ile de Ré" appeal, the purchase of a real estate by foreign nationals is an increasingly common procedure in our practice.


Most people come across the Office Notarial of Saint-Martin-de-Ré when they purchase a property in "Ile de Ré".


As French notary, we have an important role at every stage of the purchase process. Let us give you the keys for a safe transaction.

Putting up for sale or looking to buy a real property : Think about our dedicated department

As we are involved in real estate negotiations, please contact us if you plan to sell or to buy your home.

You will then get to our portfolio and benefit from our competitive fees.


Signing a preliminary contract (Compromis de vente)

Once you will have find a property that suits you, you will need to sign a preliminary contract with the seller.

This preliminary contract called “Compromis de Vente” can be signed either through an estate agent, or a French notary. Our intervention is not compulsory when signing the "Compromis de Vente" but it is for the later stages as French notary have a monopoly over the preparation and signing and execution of the final deed called "Acte authentique".


When signing the "Compromis de vente" the owner agrees to sell to the purchaser and the purchaser in turn agrees to buy from the owner.

This "Compromis de Vente" is such an important step, it engage you and can not be improvised.


Thus, feel free and do not hesitate to request any advice before signing a preliminary contract and committing yourself. It's free and so reassuring !


If the preliminary contract is signed through an estate agent, you can of course ask for a draft to be send to Office Notarial of Saint-Martin-de-Ré for checking.


We are there in order to asist you in taking the necessary precautions to avoid common and costly errors.

Our duty is to ensure that you perform the sale or purchase without risk.



Do not pretend you understand what is being said if you do not.

If necessary, any country you come from, we should provide an interpreter for you.



A deposit of up to 10 % of the purchase price is made by the buyer on signing of the agreement. This deposit will be imputed to the amount of the price.

Usually, the preliminary contract includes a penal clause. It is one by which the debtor, if he doesn’t respect his commitment, will pay an indemnity fixed in advance (10 % of the purchase price) to the creditor, and its amount is independent of the prejudice. It is stipulated against the vendor but also against the purchaser.


Statutory French Property Surveys

Various technical diagnostic surveys must be provided by the seller and are mandatory when signing a preliminary contract.

Their number depends on the age and type of real property sold.
Those surveys must be drawn up by a professional whose skills have been certified. They give an assessment on the presence of materials or products containing asbestos, on the risk of exposure to lead, on the presence of termites, on natural and technological risks, on energy efficiency, on interior gas and electrical installations.


Cooling off period

Once the preliminary contract is signed the buyer have a seven day 'cooling off' period, during which time he can withdraw from the contract and receive a full refund of his deposit.

The way to purchase

We advise you on types of ownership :

- sole ownership,
- joint ownership with or without partial change of your marital scheme (limited to real estate owned in France and awarding that joint ownership to the survivor),
- via a family-owned non-trading company (Société Civile Immobilière : SCI),

- …


And also on terms of payment : immediate, subsequent, use of a loan (with or without mortgage).


When buying your French property and signing the final deed, you will have to pay expenses, commonly referred to as "notaire's fees".

They are added to the purchase price, but for the most part they're paid neither to the seller nor to the notaire.

So what happens to these famous fees? The answer is simple: they're primarily paid as tax. The notaire is responsible for collecting them on behalf of the French government.


The notaire is paid according to a rate

This rate is identical allover France (even if each party wishes the intervention of her notaire, because notaires share then the benefit).

This rate is proportional in the sale price. 


Before committing to a property transaction, don't hesitate to contact your French notary. Ask us to estimate the additional costs you'll have to bear. You can also ask us to calculate any other expenses you should plan for – if you're applying for a loan from a bank, for example.

Formalities (before and after the deed of sale)

After the preliminary contract has been signed, and the cooling-off period is over, we undertake the formalities :
. The purge of pre-emptive rights (urban pre-emptive right, tenant's pre-emptive right …)
. Obtaining urban development documents (urban development certificate, individual alignment certificate with the public highway, extract from the land register table which identifies the property and the owner …)
. Requesting mortgage information (we check the proprietor status of the seller and reviews his property deed, we also check the provenance of ownership over the last thirty years, and we carry out the requisite verifications to ensure that the buyer is not required to pay the seller's debts).
. Checking the work damage guarantee (If the sold building was built less than ten years previously, the deed must stipulate the presence or absence of work damage insurance).



After the deed of sale has been signed, we will deal with formalities (land notification, notification to the managing agent, notification to insurance companies when the price is paid by means of a loan…)
Eventually, we send to the buyer the deed of ownership and the final account statement.

Deed of sale

Before you can complete on a French property, we will need to have all purchase funds in place. So you will need to have made beore the signature a SWIFT transfer.


Then we will organize the signature of the deed of sale and handing over the keys.

Before completion takes place, visit one last time the property to ensure all is as it should be, particularly in relation to fixtures and fittings.