Sale of French Property

When you bought your French property, you would have realised the purchase process was rather different than in the UK.

As a vendor there are also significant differences in the selling process in France. When putting the property up for sale, whether privately or through an estate agent, if a purchaser offers you the asking price, you cannot refuse the offer and are bound to sell the property at that price. French Law considers there is an agreement on the price and the object being sold and that is enough to create a contract, whether verbal or not. Thus, before you put up the property for sale, you have to be sure you want to sell it and are happy with the price advertised.

The French property Sale process

Once an offer is accepted, you cannot accept a higher offer because it is considered that a contract was made between you and the purchaser when you accepted their offer. You will be responsible for getting the compulsory surveys carried out before the preliminary binding contract (compromis) is signed. Once you have signed the compromis, you are bound by its term and cannot withdraw from the transaction, however, the purchasers benefit from a ten-days cooling off period after signing the contract.

Château de Saumur

After the purchasers’ 10 days cooling off period has expired, the notaire will start carrying out the searches and will draft the deed/acte de vente upon receipt. Completion usually takes place 2 months after the end of the purchasers’ ten-days cooling off period.
The notaire acts for both parties and does not provide advice to either.

Additionally, since the UK is no longer part of the EU since 1st January 2021, you will also need to engage the services of a fiscal rep to calculate your potential French Capital Gains tax. In practice it is usually the notaire who appoints the fiscal rep. The fee for a fiscal rep is usually slightly less than 1% of the sale price. Their fee will be deducted from the Gains made, thus slightly reducing the tax and will be paid from the sale’s proceeds.

It is important to seek legal advice from a bilingual French property lawyer to ensure you understand fully how a French property sale process works. Your lawyer will check the property is sold without any guarantees from you, that you understand your obligations under the terms and conditions of both the compromis and the final deed/acte de vente and finally that you understand the French Capital Gains taxes (CGT) you might be liable for.

Following your sale, you might need to move your furniture back to the UK. In that case, you may wish to use the services of an international removal company, who would also help you filling in the necessary paperwork.

French Property Legal Services provides advice on all aspect of your French property sale:

• Liaising with the estate agent and the notaire
• Accepting the offer on your behalf
• Checking the preliminary binding contract/compromis de vente and providing a detailed report on it (ensuring your interests are protected in the event of the buyer defaulting and that you fully understand the conditions you are agreeing to)
• Informing you of your legal obligations to the purchaser and assisting you to fulfil these
• Arranging for powers of attorney to enable completion to take place without the need to travel to France if necessary
• Advising you on your potential French capital gains tax liability and liaise with the Fiscal rep if applicable
• Checking the draft title deed (acte de vente) and providing a detailed report on it

All of the above is including in our fixed fee package. Please contact us for further information, or of you have any questions.

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