Step 7Notaire Fees in France1345
After the acceptance of your written offer to purchase, you are going to have to get in touch with a Notary (or Notaire in French) to continue to move forward through the buying process.
As a foreigner buying a property in France, you probably know the word Notaire or Notary. You are already aware that the buyer must pay the Notaire’s fees for every French real estate transaction. You have probably already browsed the official website of Notaires in France to get further information.
Collaborating with a Notaire is compulsory to formalise any real estate transaction in France. However, the role and the duties of this professional are often a source of curiosity for foreigners. Indeed, there are very few countries where using a Notary is compulsory to purchase a French property. In France, there are 5,000 Notarial offices and around 8,000 Notaires all over France. These Law professionals are under the “authority” of the French Ministry of Justice. They can intervene in transactions carried out anywhere in the country, regardless of their location.
For example, you can hire a Notary based in the south of France to buy an apartment in Paris. The Notaires do not cover specific geographic areas. Thanks to this chapter of our guide, you will learn everything about the Notaire. We will begin by detailing its role in the different steps of the real estate transaction. Then, we will tell you about the fees associated with the transaction and their exact breakdown. Forget what you previously may have heard. In lieu of wages, the Notaire only receives a small share of the fees that you will pay. Finally, we will finish this article with our tips for choosing the right Notary depending on your situation.
The role of the Notaire in France
The Notaire intervenes at two key stages during the French property buying process. Firstly, he acts during the implementation of the preliminary sales contract. Secondly, he intervenes at the time of the signature of the deed of sale. It is not compulsory to hire a Notary to establish the preliminary contract. However, for various reasons, we strongly recommend that you do so. On the other hand, a Notaire must certify the signature of the deed of sale.
The role of the Notaire during the implementation of the preliminary contract
You should know that this document constitutes a genuine contract. Therefore, it creates obligations for both the seller and you. It specifies the conditions of the future sale and marks the agreement of the parties. To hire a Notary at this stage is not compulsory. However, it has several advantages. First, a notarial preliminary contract secures the purchase. Given the complexity of the legal terms and the multiplicity of existing laws, the drafting of this document cannot be improvised. Therefore, resorting to a Notaire is useful.
The Notary also collects information essential to the smooth running of the transaction. It will be essentially information relating to the property. Also, he identities the individuals concerned by the sale of the property and analyses their legal capacity. Moreover, the Notary’s office verifies that the seller is really the owner of the French property. This way, the Notaire checks that the seller is authorised to sell the property. At this stage, he is also tasked with the collection of the deposit mentioned in the contract. This down payment usually represents 10% of the amount of the transaction.
The role of the French Notaire when signing the deed of sale
Once the preliminary contract has been implemented and your mortgage is in place, you will be invited to the Notary’s office to sign the deed of sale. Notaires are the only individuals in France qualified to prepare this act. This deed legally marks the transfer of ownership. The use a Notary is therefore mandatory at this stage, even if the preliminary contract put in place has not been drafted by him. During this signature, the Notaire will also read the complete act in the presence of the seller and yourself. He also ensures that both parties agree on all of their reciprocal commitments. He must ensure the clarity and the sincerity of the contract. Finally, the Notary carries out the payment of the balance of the transaction and the handing over of the keys.
Notaire’s fees in France
Any real estate acquisition carried out in France must be registered by a Notary. He will also ask you to pay the costs relating to the transaction. These expenses represent most of the costs added to the price of the property. These fees vary depending on the Department where you purchase in France. They are always between 7 and 8% for old properties and between 2 and 3% for the acquisition of a newly built property.
The name “Notaire’s fees” is misleading. Indeed, even if the Notary collects all of these fees, he only receives a small share by way of remuneration. Indeed, he will pass on the bulk of the fees to the tax office. The State and the local authorities will then split these fees.
The registration feesThe registration fees define the tax levied for the performance of a legal act called registration. These registration fees concern all notarial acts during a transfer of property. They represent the costs incurred by an officer belonging to the specialised services of the tax administration to carry out the formality of registration. They represent between 5.1 and 5.8% of the value of the property, and approximately 80% of the total fees.
The Notary’s earningThe remuneration of the Notary will eventually represent (only) 10% of the fees that you are going to have to pay.
The disbursementsDisbursements are the sums paid by the Notary on your behalf. They represent the remaining 10% of the total amount of the fees that you are going to have to pay.
These are the amounts and the breakdown of the Notary’s fees in France. Unlike the amount of the purchase price and the real estate agency commission, these costs are not negotiable. The French Law strictly monitors these fees.
Choose your French Notaire
It is preferable to perform the selection of the Notary with whom you wish to work prior to the establishment of the preliminary contract to secure the transaction. As we mentioned earlier, the recourse to a Notary is not mandatory during the implementation of this document. However, we strongly recommend to foreigners working with us to use this legal professional from that stage. Drafting this document is free of charges for you. In addition, this allows you to secure the real estate transaction and reassures the seller.
On your side, you have two options: use the seller’s Notaire or choose your own professional. To choose your own Notary will not cost you any more money. In fact, working together to formalise the transaction, the two professionals will share the part of the Notaire’s fees intended to remunerate them. It is a personal choice. Once again, we recommend that you hire your own Notaire, particularly for language reasons. Depending on your country of origin, in 90% of cases, we will be able to put you in touch with a Notaire speaking your mother tongue.
As French property finders working solely on behalf of foreign buyers, we have already helped buyers from a dozen different countries. Therefore, we have worked with a number of Notaires speaking languages other than French and English. Furthermore, the signing of the deed of sale often takes place within the office of the Notaire chosen by the purchaser. It would allow you to fully understand the recommendations of the Notary.
Is the role of the Notaire in France and its fees clearer? Remember that you can ask us to find a French Notaire that speaks your mother tongue. Feel free also to use the comment box below if you have any questions about Notaires in France. We will be delighted to answer them!