A notaire's role covers so many aspects of French law that it can be confusing to know exactly how they can help you. You can choose which notaire you wish to carry out your proceedings. A French notaire carries out very similar duties to an English solicitor, with added responsibilities as public officers. They will be able to ensure that every proceeding that is carried out is legal and officially registered.
French notaires are public officials with experience in every area of French law. Their key areas include family, property, corporate, and rural law. They also cover a range of other legal areas, depending on the requirements of the case. Notaires primarily aid in buying property in France and have a monopoly over other legal professionals in this area of property law. The benefit of a notaire is their ability to notarise documents on various legal areas. They don't specialise in one specific service, like a solicitor, so they can advise and carry out proceedings in multiple laws.
Notaires are appointed by decree under the authority of the MinistÃ¨re de la Justice. It is their role to draw up contracts regarding their client's affairs, ensuring the terms are correct and then agreed to. These contracts are legally binding, and the conditions must be adhered to. They can also form organisations, sell businesses, and prepare commercial and rural leases. A notaire's service is guaranteed by the Chambre des Notaires and is the only French profession to do this.
A notaire can authenticate deeds and give their official seal and signature alongside witnessing and providing a personal guarantee of a deed's contents and date. They have the power to give a deed the robust legal status of a final judgment, which cannot later be challenged in court. The notaire is responsible for this deed and any money entrusted to them. They also must collect and pay all taxes to the relevant authorities after completing a transaction for their client.
All notaire fees should be fixed by decree, making them similar, if not identical. When purchasing a property, a notaire will charge a fee that is often below 1% of the cost of the purchase, to be paid by the buyer. If you require the services of multiple notaires, then this fee is split between them, not charged per notaire. You will also be required to pay all necessary taxes charged to the transaction to the notaire, who will then pay them to the relevant authorities. These taxes are typically around 6% of the purchase price and include stamp duty at 5.80% (5.09% in a limited list of French departments) and a Land registry tax of 0.10%.
Unlike solicitors or other legal representatives, notaires don't charge by the hour, so you don't have to worry about incurring any additional fees depending on their workload. Their cost depends entirely on the price of the property you wish to buy regardless of its location. However, if you wish to take out a mortgage, this can change the notaire fees' cost. A notaire's fees should be incorporated into the overall conveyancing costs of a property purchase, alongside stamp duty and land registry fees. These must all be paid to the notaire themselves.
Despite notaire fees being standardised, there are circumstances where the cost can vary. For instance, if you are buying a new build property under construction or less than five years old, the notaire fee for the transaction will be around 2-4% of the purchase price. This significantly decreases costs from the average 7% fee for older properties.
These fees are also scalable depending on the cost of the property. Those purchasing a higher priced property will pay the same fees but the average percentage is likely to be smaller.
It is worth noting that, in some cases, properties can be purchased directly through a notaire. If this is the case, you will be expected to pay a sales commission fee determined by the notaire. Before buying a property in France, you must consider the estimated notaire fees and the taxes that must be paid. Your mortgage loan would rarely cover these costs, so you must be able to come up with the funds yourself.
As experts in French property law, we can help you buy or sell property in France. We liaise with French notaires and advisors so that you can easily complete the buying process. With experience in handling residential and commercial property purchases, France Tax Law can help you buy a second home or business property, including sales and property leasebacks. Contact us today to learn more about French notaire fees and how we can help you buy property in France.