Frequently Asked Questions

Real estate question - What is a “compromis de vente”?

When both parties reach an agreement about the sale of a property, the buyer and the seller sign a deed called a “compromis”. This deed is a preliminary contract to the final deed.

It does not need to be done before a notary but we strongly recommend that you do it with legal advice because the “compromis” will commit you to buying unless one or several conditions are not fulfilled at term.  The deal will then be cancelled free of charges.

If the stipulated conditions are fulfilled at term, the sale can only be cancelled forfeit 10% of the price of the estate.

Stating that you had misunderstand one of the clauses or conditions of sale would not of course allow you to get your money back.

Therefore signing a compromis should always be preceded with a meeting with your lawyer in order to understand what are the risks and consider together what is not said in the compromis and what are the problems which currently happen in a copropriété or when buying a land.

By a decision dated 20 November 2013 the Court of Cassation has decided that shall be considered as realised the suspensive condition upon the obtention of a mortgage stipulated in a compromis de vente when the demand of mortgage presented by the buyer to the bank did not match the criteria defined in the contract.

The signers of the compromis de vente were designated as the owners of the property designated in the compromis.

What is a copropriété?

When investing in the South of France, you might buy a flat in a building.

The flat is in a copropriété – a co owned building, to which each owners is obliged to respect the rules and pay regularly “charges” to participate to the costs generated by the use and maintain of common parts the building in proportion to the shares you hold in the building, i.e. the size of your flat determines a number of tentième to calculate the proportion in which you shall participate in the maintenance of the building (stair case, electricity in the common part, letter boxes, façades, lift, cleaning, garden maintenance etc).

The copropriété as all community has a story and may have current unsolved issues such as a water leak which may be due to the maintenance of the common parts of the building and therefore the co-owners are obliged to pay for the refection.

You may want to understand the consequences of buying in a copropriété.

The maintenance of a building can be very expensive especially when the time has come to redo the façade or the roof or pay for putting the lift in compliance with recent regulation.

If the refection of the façade has been voted by the seller as co-owner of the building (“assemblée générale des copropriétaires”) before signing the sell of the flat, then the seller is legally bound to pay for the works.

This should be sorted out in the “compromis” in case a vote is organised between the signature of the compromis and the signature of the deed of sell.

This kind of issue can be for you a no-way to invest in the building, so before signing any legal documents you may want to get in touch with the syndic (most of the time co-owners delegate the governance of the building to a syndic) to know what are the pending issues.

What is the ISF and when is it due ?

The ISF liability is a wealth tax.

The ISF is triggered when the total value of the estate reaches €1,300,000.

The first €800,000 is tax free.  From €800,000 to €1,300,000, the tax rate is 0,5% and then between €1,300,000 and €2,750,000, the tax rate is 0,7%.

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