When buying a home in France, it is good to know the terms used in French real estate procedures. We explain them all!

Before the buying process

Agent Immobilier – The real estate agent who helps you search for homes. The person represents you throughout the entire sale- or buying process.

Apport personnel – The amount of cash that you pay towards the price of the house vs the loan that you need. The higher the apport personnel you can afford, the higher the chance of obtaining the loan.

Prêt immobilier – The type of loan you agreed to make with your bank. The bank will help you find the type of mortgage most beneficial for you.

During the buying process

Compte séquestre – An escrow account managed by the notary where the financial resources are on hold until specific conditions are met between the seller and the buyer.

Intention d’achat – The written offer that the buyer makes with the seller. The buyer can choose to make an offer at the asking price or below it. However it’s not a binding contract for the buyer.

Notaire – The notary who is in charge of the documents and the registration of the ongoing sale between buyer and seller. It’s good to know that it’s always the buyer who pays for the notary fees, which is roughly 7,5% of the property price. During a sale, it is very common to use one notary to represent both seller and buyer, but two notaries can be used at no extra cost.

Compromis de vente – The pre-contract. A written contract which details all the  conditions of the sale. As a buyer you also agree to take responsibility for the mortgage. The compromis de vente is binding for both seller and buyer.

After the buying process

Acte authentique de vente – The final contract in the sale- and buying process. The notary has completed all necessary due diligence and the final contract is ready to be signed. In France it can take between two and three months before having the final Acte authentique de vente. When the contract is signed, the keys of the property can finally be handed over to the buyer who now becomes the legal owner.

Paiement du prix – Full payment of the property and notary fees must be done before the signing of acte authentique. The notary will handle the payment to the seller from the buyer.

Conclusion

These explanations will help you to understand the terms used in the process between a seller and a buyer when buying a home in France. However the agent will always help with all questions during the buying process. If needed, Service Public provides detailed information (in French) about the buying process.

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