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?
Purchase of a new building

1. General information

There are an extensive amount of new development programmes on the Cote d’Azur however not enough to balance the considerable gap between supply and demand on the real estate market in Southern France for housing real estate. As already mentioned earlier the huge demand, also for apartments and houses in new housing developments, regularly leads to the programmes being almost completely sold before construction work has even begun. Contrary to purchasing an old piece of real estate the buyer must let his/her imagination work because the finished object can only be seen in the plan. In reality only the location / the piece of property can be viewed and evaluated on which the facility is to be built. Let us remind you that the most crucial criteria when buying real estate is the “location” (followed by the „location“ and this then again followed by the „location“), with this we already have quite a good primary objective evaluation basis. Everything else can only be seen on paper. In this context we would like to point out that neither the high gloss brochures which the developer makes available to you nor for example the beautifully furnished sample apartment / sample house are integral parts of the contract. Integral parts of the contract are the documents which are “integral part of the contract”, so e.g. most importantly a preferably detailed and clear constructional description ( „descriptif technique“) in which e.g. the location of the apartment in the residence, the materials which are going to be used and so on are precisely described. This document must be enclosed to the contract. It serves as basis for the acceptance.

How can the quality of the developer be evaluated?

Have reference objects verified. View them yourself and if possible speak to the developer’s prior customers.

The verification of a quality label (e.g. QUALITEL and LE LABEL PROMOTELEC) also provides you with important information.

2. Reservation contract („contrat de réservation“)

As in the case of purchasing an old piece of real estate here a preliminary contract is also concluded; the „contrat de réservation“. This contract must obtain the description of the real estate object, the living area („surface habitable“) and a listing of the rooms and adjacent buildings („dépendances“). The construction specification must contain the construction materials and the quality of the designated technical building equipment. Furthermore it must contain the price including all taxes, usually as fixed price and the definite date for the signature of the definite sales contract in the presence of the notary. Finally the key data must be written down for a possible financing loan which needs to be obtained by the buyer. Should the buyer not obtain such a described loan he/she can withdraw from the contract and is refunded his/her guarantee payment unabridged. In most cases this guarantee payment amounts to 5% and is due when the preliminary contract is signed. It remains blocked in an escrow account until the time the definite file is signed in the presence of the notary. Here the buyer also has a consideration time limit of 7 days as when purchasing an old piece of real estate. The procedure for this can be read up on under „old real estate“ further up.

When you purchase an object which has not yet been built (which is the normal case in the here examined geographical area as already described earlier on) the judicial form is that of the „Vente en l’Etat Futur d’Achèvement (VEFA“). You become owner of your apartment / your house in accordance with the progress of construction work. As a return service for your obligation to get involved long before completion you receive a completion guarantee.

3. Contract’s method of payment „Vente en l’Etat Futur d’Achèvement“

Payment is effected according to the progress of construction work as stipulated in detail in the contract.

4. Additional expenses for the purchase

In the case of new buildings the value added tax (currently 19,6%) replaces the registry tax. So should the value added tax be included in the purchase price (which is preferably to be ensured) only 0,6% would accrue for the official registration („publicité foncière“) and of course the actual fees for the notary.

5. Warranty

In France there is a consumer-friendly 10-year warranty.