How do I sell a property in France?


  Market overview

With its laidback lifestyle, France is one of the most popular destinations for property buyers. The country’s food, wine and beautiful villages promise a relaxing backdrop for holiday home owners, with Brits particularly fond of the familiar culture and cuisine.

The coast’s impressive array of high-end real estate, combined with the country’s stable economy and the safe haven market of Paris, attracts wealthy investors to France too.

The Selling Process

Market your property

Although you can go with a reputable Estate Agent as mentioned above, it’s increasingly easy these days to sell without using an agent.  There are more and more specialist websites and magazines advertising property for sale in France. The key advantage here is avoiding the high estate agents’ fees. You will need to do your research to get the price right.

35e18cc19c1b32e110a328697cbcdbd95febb4e318288eb93c4fda1ad436e396Hire legal representation

It is mandatory to use a notary (notaire), a lawyer who acts in a neutral role toensure taxes are paid and to register the sale with the Land Registry. Sellers should instruct another lawyer to represent their own interests. This could be another notaire, which would not increase costs, as the fee is fixed and divided between them.

8f29b707d85482927188b4bd5375217d7b26905af9ee143ebfbe6d04af1ce112Negotiating a reservation contract

It is important that both buyer and vendor are clear about which items areincluded in the sale and which are not. If any items are to be left behind, an inventory signed by both parties should be attached to the sales contract and the value of the items should be included in the sale.

Once both parties have agreed a price and what the sale relates to (‘the object’ of the sale), a verbal agreement for a sale on those terms is made. At this stage, the agreement is informal and not actually legally binding.)

320673245cbdaeed965682802b7d18aaec3fbe6e9910255f20dc8e9ae4116f6dPreliminary agreement

Once both vendor and purchaser are happy with the terms of the sale, a preliminary agreement (compromis de vente) is prepared by the notaire and signed by both parties. The preliminary agreement sets out the actions that must be completed before a final sales contract can be entered into. On signing, the buyer pays a deposit, usually 10% of the overall purchase price, usually paid to either a lawyer or designated notaire who will hold the money in escrow until all of the requirements of the compromis de vente have been met.

0ca05ce059672988ebc3b154b2142bf68707b2991b1b4136fd3fb0b1fa14781aCooling off

By law, there is then a seven-day cooling-off period, during which the buyer may withdraw from the purchase if he chooses.

f751231a2d2570f5d88472fa08a6874153a5cf5401d4f19ae71e7dfe53a5ba1bLegal checks

There follows a period of around 10-12 weeks during which searches on the property are carried out – including land registry searches, local authority searches and planning permission searches.


At the end of this period, the purchaser pays the balance of the purchase price to the vendor.  The purchaser must also provide the notaire with a copy of his birth certificate translated into French and, if applicable, a copy of his marriagecertificate, also in French, before completion. 

The final contract (acte de vente) is signed in front of the notaire by both the purchaser and the vendor and then ownership of the property is transferred.

Average selling prices


1 Bed Apartments


2 Bed Apartments


3 Bed Apartments


2 Bed Homes


3 Bed Homes


4 Bed Homes


Selling costs checklist


Once you can tick off all of these items, you have paid to sell your home.

Estate agent’s fees (5pc to 10pc of purchase price) Property transfer tax CGT

Photos: Jack French, Images_of_Money, AJC1 / Diana Parkhouse

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