Purchase deed

What are you likely to encounter when buying real estate in France?

As soon as you have reached an agreement with the vendor, (preferably) a French notaire will make up a sale and purchase deed (compromis de vente / promesse de vente), with which the ownership is already transferred to you, provided a number of conditional clauses (conditions suspensives) have been met.

The conditions can refer to financing, the “certificat d’urbanisme” (CU), pre-emption rights and obtaining a building permit (permis de construire).

An “offre d’achat”, a written statement of the basic agreements, can prevent the seller to negotiate with another party before signing the purchase deed.

French sale contracts are usually made up with the vendor’s interests in mind, which means it is sensible to complement them with a number of guarantees. These could be guarantees, to be delivered by the seller, concerning the state of the building, the easements (servitudes), as well as concerning renovations that have taken place in the past.

The seller has a legal obligation to provide you with a number of surveys  about possible presence of termites, lead-containing paint and asbestos. You also need to receive surveys regarding the gas and electricity installations and the energy usage.
You need to have received these surveys before signing the “compromis de vente”.

In the purchase deed you can stipulate that the property will accrue to the surviving partner upon the other person’s demise.

Have you not reached a decision about in who’s name the property will be registered?

In the period between signing the purchase deed and the final deed of delivery you can still think about this, provided the seller offers you that opportunity.

What to do in case of a rushed decision?

In France you have a reflection period of 10 days, starting the day after receipt of the registered letter containing a copy of the compromis signed by all parties. During this period you (as a buyer) can withdraw from the contract without specifying a reason why.


We can guide you through the entire process in order to protect you from any pitfalls. Please feel free to contact us for this. 

For financing by means of a mortgage with a French bank we can refer you to renowned mortgage brokers.