|Having gained a better idea of areas and available property, it is time to visit local notaire offices to check if they have suitable property. If you are lucky enough to find a notaire who speaks better English than you speak French, you should consider using them later for the legal process. Links to English speaking notaires in Languedoc.
Having finally decided on a property, and taking a second visit, it is time to make an offer. The succesful transaction needs a willing buyer and a willing seller. The agent, wishing to make a sale, will often suggest the sort of offer that may be acceptable. A first offer of around 80% of the asking price is probably about right depending on local market conditions.
Assuming agreement is reached the process goes something like this -
- You will be asked to sign an "intention to purchase document" (compromis). Although the agent has standard forms it is in your interest to have it checked by a notary before signature. In fact, the compromis is legally binding except under certain clauses that your notary will insert. A typical clause may be "subject to finance being made available".
- It is acceptable for both parties to use the same notary. A notary is a government official and, as such, should be impartial
- You should ensure that any agreed items are included. Typically this would be for movable items the buyer has agreed to leave.
- Upon signing the compromis you will be expected to pay a deposit of 5 - 10%.
- The final contract (acte definitif) will be signed in the notaires office with buyer and seller present. There is a time limit of 3 months max between the compromis and the acte.
- The buyer pays the Notaires bill, which is the same if using one or two notaires, at 3% - 8% of sale price (which includes taxes). The rate depends on the age and value of the property. Newer is cheaper.
- At the time of signing the acte the buyer will need bank certified cheques in the amounts requested by the notary. Insurance should in place from the signature date.
- Once signed, the property is yours.
- The contract will be kept by the notaries for finalising and binding. As an interim measure your notary should give you signed statements that you are the owner of the property.
- Finally you should receive the keys.