Guide to selling your property in France

Research and knowledge is key

Researching the property market in your local area is key to understanding the value and obtaining an as close as possible estimation for your own property, Ask for two or three agents and even a Notaire to give you an estimation before making decision, They should be able to help you value your property realistically.

Choosing an Estate Agent

We recommend using an Agent with good local knowledge and also one that would be able to deal with international clients. Agents who hold a ‘Carte professionelle’ are the only ones’ allowed to market and sell properties, this is very important and must be taken into account when choosing an Agent to work with. If you would like help finding reputable Agents in your area please feel free to ask through the following enquiry form ……

There are principally two types of sales contract between Vendor and Agent, 1. mandat sans exclusivité or mandat simple (use this for multi agents) and 2.  a sole-agency agreement (mandat exclusif).

In France generally the buyer pays the Agents fee.

Goint to market….

The Estate Agent will need at least the DPE (energy and gas emissions) report to put the property on the market and advertise it, they will also need a copy of the ‘act de vente’ (title deed) from when you purchased, copies of all owners identification and your last taxe fonciere bill

Other reports (DDT) to be supplied by the vendor at the time of signing the ‘compromis de vente’ initial sales contract are

  1. Etat parasitaire (wood report) only valid for 6 months

  2. Amiante (Asbestos report)

  3. Plomb (lead report)

  4. Electric report

  5. Gas report

  6. Technological, Mining and Natural risk

  7. Sanitation (mains drainage or septic tank report) obtained through local authorities

  8. Loi carrez (meterage report for co-ownership properties ie Apartments etc)

Most of these reports can be carried out by the same specialised company and must have valid insurance cover and the proper qualifications and certifications. It is important to remember that this is an opportunity to give the buyer valuable information about your property. Therefore, the choice of the technician is essential as it can offer an added value to your property for a buyer to have the opportunity to speak to this person directly if they have any concerns. Please ask if you wish for us to forward you a list of reputable businesses. We strongly advise that these checks are carried out at the point when you are putting your property on the market. If carried out after the negotiation process has been fulfilled and a price agreed, some information could be revealed which will entail a renegotiation of the price and further delays if quotes are necessary. When this happens, a buyer can be scared off and lose confidence in their purchase. 

Other safety reports maybe required if there is a swimming pool and also smoke alarms

The ‘OFFER’ stage


Once an offer has been accepted in writing, it is binding for both parties; the buyer still has a non-obligation 10 day cooling off period after signing the initial sale contract. The buyer normally has to pay a 10% deposit at the signing of the initial contract. The vendor is legally bound at the offer stage.

Notaire

The file then goes to the Notaire(s) and they complete the formalites, All property transactions go through a notaire, a government-licensed official who acts for both parties. The buyer pays the notaire's fee. Sometimes both vendor and buyer appoint their own notaires, and then the two notaires share the fee.

A completion date maybe be set but can often be changed due to an incomplete file, beware.

Either party, buyer or vendor, may sign by procuration, if unavailable on day of completion.

PAYING YOUR TAXES: this is a guide only, please check your own personal situation with a financial expert or Notaire.

If your property is a second home, you will have to pay French Capital Gains Tax (CGT) (Impôts de Plus Value) on any profit  made. The current rate is for CGT is 19% (calculated over a 22 year sliding scale) and also 15.5% (calculated over a 30 year sliding scale) for 'social charges', but the longer you've owned the property the less you'll pay. 15% of the original purchase price is deductible from the taxable amount. Works you may have carried out on the property are NOT automatically deductible, before placing your property on the market or accepting an offer on the property, check with the Notaire regarding your CGT. The seller pays the Taxe d'Habitation (Residence Tax) for the calendar year of the sale, while the Taxe Foncière (Land Tax) bill is shared, pro rata, between buyer and vendor.