With 30% of our business relating to international clients, the team at L’Office Notarial d’Aime-la-Plagne fully understand how legal systems, laws and procedures can vary considerably between countries. We are dedicated to helping our non-French clients understand these differences and are here to answer all of their questions before they commit to signing a contract.

With a bi-lingual team we endeavour to aid the client further by communicating through-out the entire process in English. We aim to make any dealings with the French legal system and French Notaires (solicitors) run as easily and smoothly as possible.

Our international service covers the following aspects:

  • From the first contact, the whole process will be dealt with by an English speaking member of staff.
  • Every stage of the legal process will be explained in detail in English.
  • All correspondence will be in English and our team will be at your disposal whenever you need.
  • During any face to face meeting, the final deeds will be explained page by page.
  • Aid will be given in other complimentary areas of French law, such as inheritance law, writing of wills, donation of property, estate planning (title of deeds etc) the structure of the purchase or sale, tax implications etc.
  • An English speaking solicitor will be at your disposal for every appointment to ensure that everything is fully understood.

Buying in France – Usual questions:

1) What are the Land Registration Fees?

In France these fees are included with all the taxes and charges and are covered in the notarial fees. (See question 4)

2) How does it work with Title Deeds? Are they Joint or Single? (Titre de Propriété)?

If you are English married in England the “separation des biens” states that everything is owned 50:50. If however you want to buy a property in any other way, this needs to be stated at the beginning and be stated in the contract. (see question 5 on how to change your status in France.)

If you come from and live in an other country ; your national law will be followed.

3) What about Stamp Duty?

In France these are included with all the taxes and charges and are covered in the notarial fees. (See question 4)

4) What will be the total fees payable?

The fees, which are fixed by the Minister of Justice are around 8% (on a property over 5 years old) and around 3.% on a property under 5 years old. They include all other taxes and fees (such as land registration, stamp duty…) and the Notaire’s fee (around 1%). A provisional sum is also taken to cover charges that can not be calculated until after the sale.

These fees are also increased if a mortgage (hypothèque) is used to purchase the property. In France the notaire takes the mortgage and the buyer repays the notaire. Therefore an extra amount is taken to cover this service.

In France the French fiscal tax law ALWAYS applies for properties in France.

5) What happens to the property in case of death/ inheritance tax?

There is now no tax payable in inheritance between spouses. If children inherit they pay no tax if the value of the property received is under 100,000 euros and usually 20% if over 100,000 euros. This is applicable per child per parent.

In France the French fiscal tax law ALWAYS applies for properties in France. But the national civil law applies when defining who inherits. You can however, before death, change your status.

If you are unmarried particular care and consideration needs to be taken over this.

6) Will the documents be in French or English?

The documents to be signed have to be in French but we will go through every element with you and explain each document with you. Some letters have been translated into English to help you through the process.

7) Can I pay in pounds (£)?

The payment must be done in Euros to be covered by the french national insurance system.

8) Who pays the Notaire fees?

The buyer pays the fees which are usually none negotiable due to many being fixed (see question four). If the buyer wants his own notaire and the seller an otherone the fees do not increase.

9) How long does it take to complete?

A completion and all the documentation can often take 2 months in France. The time frame is usually this long due to the mortgage.

10) What is the process for buying a property?

See chart

11) How do you find out about rights of way? Residence associations/ Management companies? Leasehold (loué à bail) or freehold (pleine propriété)?

All of these are verified by the notaire. They find out rights of way, resident companies/ building management and charges, lease or freehold, whether the property is mortgaged, if the owner is the real owner etc..

12) What searches are done? (planning permission, natural disasters, flood plane, avalanches etc).

In France the law defines which searches are done in which region and which building. Normal search types include asbestos (amiante); lead (plomb); termites (termites); avalanches (avalanches) etc..

13) Can I get a survey done on the property?

This is not common practice in France, however you could find an architect to help with any queries.

14) What about details of fixtures and fittings?

In France (unless your principle residence) it is common practice to leave everything (other than personal items) when you sell a property and these are noted and costed as an appendix in the Compromis de Vente and sale agreement. This list is agreed and signed by both parties. The cost of fixtures and fittings is taken off the final value before calculating the taxes (percentage).

15) What happens if I sell the property in a year/ 10 years etc?

In France you have a tax to pay on the profit that you make from the sale (if the property is NOT your principle residence). Plus value is the tax payable based on the profit that has been made on the sale of the property if the property has been in the owners possession for less than 30 years and is valued over 15,000 €.

16) What about insurance?

You need to have insurance organised to start the day you sign for the house.