As it is the case in other countries, also in France the legal process is straightforward and the land registration system is secure. However, if you decide to buy a property in France, there are important considerations to keep in mind. Here are some key points.

Tips on Legal Process of Buying Property in France

1) Don’t proceed without your own solicitor or lawyer.

Even if, as a general rule, land registration system proceeds without the appointment of a solicitor or an avocat, having them by your side can be a very wise choice when buying a property in France. They will provide valuable guidance and protect your interests.

2) Obtain the assistance of a translator when buying a property in France.

A limited knowledge of French can make for pleasant aperitif conversations. But buying a property in France is a different kettle of fish. So consider getting translation assistance. Make sure that the contract contains all the important clauses: What is not written cannot be translated!

NB: Translations of notarial deeds are only considered legal if carried out by a sworn translator

3) Plan to buy a house in Frnce? So budget for legal fees and taxes.

If you decide to buy a house in France, you will hear speaking about “notary fees”. They are actually “acquisition fees”, composed mainly of taxes The buyer must pay the notary fees. They represent 8% of the sale price for an old property and between 2 and 3% for a new property. In addition, you must take into account the real estate’s commission. The agency fees or commissions are calculated as a percentage of the net selling price. They are generally between 5 and 7% of the selling price including VAT, depending on the service provided by the intermediary. When possible, negotiate the total purchase price to offset costs.

4) Have always your own notary by your side.

A notary engaged by the real estate agent of the vendor may not fully protect your interests. Have the contract prepared by your own notary and only sign in their presence. In addition, carefully review written offers and ensure they include necessary conditions to be elaborated in a sale and purchase contract. We also heartly recommend to verify statutory disclosures made by the vendor with the notary. Ensure the contract addresses major defects, tenancies, easements, and local developments. Seek your notary’s opinion if you have concerns about price or other issues: They have a legal obligation to provide advice.

NB: If you’re getting a mortgage, include a conditional clause in the sale contract. Also, include conditional clauses for planning and other relevant matters.

In our Expat Experts Group, we have dedicated professionals like lawyers or notaries, English speakers of course, who can help you in these matters.

— Fabricio Carminati, FRH CEO

Here are some additional considerations when buying a property in France:

  • Clarify the property boundaries, including ownership of walls/fences and maintenance responsibilities.
  • Check for any neighbor disputes and seek clarification from the seller in front of the notary.
  • Be aware of major upcoming developments in the area, which may not always be disclosed by the estate agent or notary.
  • Confirm important verbal assurances from the seller and estate agent within the written contract.
  • Keep in mind that the statutory survey reports provided by the vendor may not provide a comprehensive building survey.
  • Make sure to exclude any clauses in the contract that relieve the seller from hidden or latent defects.
  • If the owner has made significant changes to the property, such as facade or extensions, ensure that planning consent was obtained.
  • Verify with your notary or solicitor that the property’s planning status allows for any changes you may have in mind, such as adding a swimming pool.

DM us


You can avoid stressing about all the above points and, at the same time, save a lot of time, effort and money by entrusting us with the search for your property. We act exclusively in your interests and accompany you throughout the entire acquisition process.

Let’s have a coffee and speak about your project of buying a house or a flat in the French Riviera

  • Determine the responsibility for sharing the rates bill for the year and specify it in the contract.
  • Inquire if the seller owns additional land or buildings adjacent to the property that are not part of the sale, and consider including a clause granting you the right of first refusal in case of a future sale.
  • Note that a deposit of 10% is not obligatory, and offering a lower deposit may be acceptable.
  • Clearly define with the vendor, and confirm with the notary in the sale contract, the features and settings that will remain in the property.
  • On the day of completion, or ideally the day prior, pay a visit to the property to verify everything is in order, especially the fixtures and fittings. It is crucial to ensure that everything is as it should be to avoid any unforeseen issues.

Married or not married? If you are married, and you wish your surviving spouse to inherit all your estate You need to undertake appropriate steps such as a French marriage contract or other inheritance planning measures such as European succession regulation. If you are buying as an unrelated group of people, you should consider buying through a property company called Société Civile Immobilère – SCI.

Ready to buy your property in the French Riviera?

By following these guidelines, you’ll navigate the process of buying a property in France with confidence. And if you would like to have a real estate expert by your side, we will guide you through the entire process and it starts before even visiting properties.

FRH acts exclusively in the interests of the buyer and accompany them throughout the entire acquisition process.

DM us today!