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Legal pitfalls to avoid when purchasing a French property


Even though the French conveyancing system is undeniably well organized, in comparison with Cyprus or Spain, mistakes still happen. Pitfalls mainly consist of the lack of right documentation, unexpected renovation fees, as previously mentioned in our previous section. But that is not all. In fact, signing contracts under French law without being able to fully understand their consequences, can seemingly be very risky and disastrous.

Relying on an impartial counsel:

Any Real Estate purchase in France will be taken under the authority of a Notaire common assessed to both parties. Yet, receiving an independent advice from an English speaking, French law specialist is not prohibited. In contrast, it is even recommended. Our Delcade bilingual specialist will be able to explain to you, important legal matters. So, you make sure you understand every penny of the contract before you sign, without any pressure, far from salespeople, far from tactics, and anticipate things as they actually might go wrong.

Remember, this procedure was designed to protect both the buyer and the seller. Just make sure you get all the specific details before signing on the dotted line.

Payment methods:

The price should be paid throughout your selected Notaire. To avoid tax penalties, you will have to make a statement in the purchase deed verifying that the sum listed is the whole price.  You should also consider while budgeting your whole process: mortgage fees, solicitor’s fees, taxes, and surveys if any.

French inheritance law:

It is most likely that in France, it is not possible to choose who you want to inherit from the property, in the same conditions as in your home country. So, a portion of the estate in question will return to your children, unless a particular clause is added to the sales contract. Unmarried couples also must consider inheritance tax that applies. A professional advice, before signing the contract, will help you understand the full implications of your transaction and how it will impact you on the long term.

Asking the right questions, being aware of all these pitfalls, and well accompanied, will make you more prepared, and able to make a good profit out of your investment. DELCADE has not only a team of professional, bilingual lawyers, who help you throughout this laborious process, but our Guide to purchasing a property in France, has also a wide range of technical advice for foreign investors.



About the Author :

Business lawyers, bilingual, specialized in acquisition law; Benoit Lafourcade is co-founder of Delcade lawyers & solicitors and founder of FRELA; registered as agents in personal and professional real estate transactions. Member of AAMTI (main association of French lawyers and agents).

FRELA : French Real Estate Lawyer Agency, specializing in acquisition law to secure real estate and business transactions in France.

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