General information on beginning the search / Where would you like to buy real estate?
House or apartment?
New building or old building?
What does the price of the object depend upon?
Who is your negotiating partner for acquisition?
The current market situation on the Cote d’Azur
Acquisition of an old building / Viewings / Appraisals
Preliminary Contract ( „avant contrat“)
Role of the notary / „acte authentique“
Additional expenses for the purchase („frais de notaire“ or „frais d’acte“)
Purchase of a new building
Purchase of land
Foundation of a S.C.I. („société civile immobilière“)
Purchase on the basis of pension („viager“) as a special form of property acquisition of real estate
Taxation of the gain („plus value“) from sale
Right of succession
Conducting a sale / Preparations for the sale
Landing stage for your boat: Buy or rent?
Who is your negotiating partner for acquisition?

Several „direct“ contact persons can be considered when purchasing real estate:

- The owner of the real estate ( „particulier“): If you buy real estate directly from the owner you of course immediately obtain all relevant information about the neighbourhood, the costs (real estate tax, housing tax, if applicable housing expenses– „charges“ – for apartments) and so on. You should however never forget to carefully verify this information on your own. Owners / sellers are inclined not to have the necessary perspective and to describe things too positively regarding price as well as all other criteria concerning the property. The perspective and knowledge (also about the local price structure) are missing which on the other hand you can expect from a professional.

- The real estate agent („agent immobilier“). A real estate agent arbitrates between the seller and buyer. The cooperation with a real estate agent not only possibly saves you a lot of time because he/she will only show you objects which coincide with your specific requirements, he/she will make all knowledge available to you which is required to appraise the property and if necessary guarantees the proper execution of the purchase. In this context it must be indicated that the occupation of the „agent immobilier“ in France is strictly regulated. The entry requirements to this occupation are mandatory by law and qualitative very high. The existence of the necessary requirements for a real estate agent licence is certified by the official issuing of a „carte professionnelle“. Requirement for obtaining this licence is also the verification of a financial guarantee issued by a bank. The real estate agent receives a commission in the case of success amounting to the sum which is determined in the written form in the mandate which he/she obtains from the seller or also from the buyer. The real estate agent can be mandated by the seller to sell his/her real estate or by the buyer to search for suitable real estate. Both mandates require the written form and must comply with certain form regulations. Another thing about the real estate agent’s commission: As already mentioned above the amount is not regulated however the rates which the real estate agent charges for his/her efforts must be posted openly and visible for all persons in his/her office. In normal cases the commission is included in the purchase price which is indicated to the buyer. In Southern France it normally amounts to 4% to 6% excluding French value added tax (currently 19,6%). The real estate agent only receives his/her commission if he/she can show a mandate from the seller or buyer and the conclusion was accomplished with his/her collaboration. Concerning your choice of a real estate agent it must be said that the state guarantees a certain minimum quality because of its quality requirements. Additionally we recommend checking if the real estate agent is a member of a standard organisation e.g. the FNAIM (Fédération Nationale de l’Immobilier, ). Normally this ensures that the real estate agent is continually educated, provided with the latest judicial… information and so on. Buyers should also check if a real estate agent only covers a quite small geographical area in his/her offers which of course is to your advantage if your own search just happens to be concentrated in that area and nowhere else. Many of our customers however are not predefined in such a way and are therefore thankful if the real estate agent as e.g. our agency in Cannes competently covers a larger area, in our case the entire Cote d’Azur. Another recommendation: It is surely advantageous if you can communicate with your partner in your mother tongue.

- The notary: The notary ensures security and correctness of the purchase. The buyer as well as the seller has the right to choose “his/her” notary. Should seller and buyer choose different notaries it does not result in higher costs for both parties because in this case both notaries split the fees. It must also be noted that notaries in France are also permitted to act as agents for real estate (so similar to real estate agents). The commonly called „notary fees“ („frais de notaire“) are the sum of the real estate tax which the notary collects for the tax authorities and the fees for the reward of the notary activity. Regarding the amount of the „frais de notaire“ in connection with the description of the costs associated with the purchase these will have to be discussed in more detail later on. Information on the subject of notaries:

- The promoteur: The developer („promoteur“) will be your negotiating partner in the case that you purchase an apartment in a new housing development or a house in a facility („lotissement“). The developer designs, builds and sells such facilities. The sale usually begins long before construction starts (in Southern France it has almost become the rule during the last few years that the facility is sold to a large extent when construction begins because of scarcity) and therefore calls for specific forms of contract („Vente en l’Etat Futur d’Achèvement – VEFA“) and guarantees (completion guarantee…). The subject of “new development programmes” will be addressed in somewhat more detail later on.