Buyer's FAQs

We've put together a list of some of the questions potential buyers have about the process of buying a property in France. We hope you find them useful!


What is a Notaire?

In France, a Notaire is the only person that can handle property conveyancing. They represent the vendor’s and buyer’s interests and their aim is to ensure the transaction is completed correctly and legally. You can have one notaire per party. The fees for a house purchase are around 7-8% including taxes, of which the notaire gets 2%.


What is the Compromis de Vente?

When you make an offer on a property, this is the legal agreement signed by both parties, and means the vendor is committed to selling you the property. However, as a buyer you have a 10-day grace period before you are legally bound to make the purchase. The compromise de vente can be done by an estate agent.


‘Clauses suspensives’ can be included in the Compromis de Vente, to protect the buyer’s interests. This can include specific clauses regarding the deposit, as usually the buyer forfeits the deposit if they withdraw from the sale, unless it is because they are unable to obtain a mortgage or another reason such as planning permission or lake authorization.


When do I need to pay a deposit?

10 days after signing the Compromis de Vente you need to pay the deposit, which is normally about 10% of the property price, and is normally paid to the notaire, although this is not always the case.


How long does it normally take to complete the buying process?

It normally takes about 12 weeks to complete the purchase. In this time the notaire makes searches on the property such as the land registry, ownership etc.


What is the DDT?

The Dossier of Diagnostic Technique (DDT) is a report which the vendor is legally required to supply and is usually provided as part of the Compromis de Vente. It includes information about amenities such as gas, electricity, and water. Also included are details about asbestos, lead, and in some areas, termites and dry rot. In recent years, more surveys are provided, for Radon, pollution, or technological risks for example.


When will I be able to take possession?

When both parties have signed the Final Acte de Vente at the notaire and the funds for the purchase have been received in the notaire’s account, the buyer can take possession of the property. The funds for the purchase must ALWAYS be in the notaire’s account prior to the day of completion.


What are Vices Cachés?

These are ‘hidden defects’. Before selling the property, the vendor is legally obliged to disclose any problems with the property that he is aware of. If, after the purchase, the buyer discovers any faults that had not previously been disclosed but the vendor would have known about, they have legal protection and redress, as this is against the law.


Do you have any questions about the process of buying a property in France? email us at and we'll add them here!