What to expect when buying a house in France
The fees associated with buying a property in France can be alarming. This page provides a checklist of what you as a buyer can expect to pay. The main factors that affect the level of fees are:
- the age of the property (new houses attract lower charges)
- the number of people involved (lawyers, mortgage companies, surveyors etc)
- whether you buy through an estate agent
Total fees can be as low as 2% of the price of the property, but can be as high as 20%. Typically, you can expect to pay around 6-9% of the net value of the property on an older property and around 2-3% on a new build (less than five years old). Please note that most fees are paid by the buyer. However, since the introduction of a series of diagnostic tests on any property to be advertised for sale, the seller too has a liability to bear this cost (see below).
Where an agent is involved - allow between 5 and 10%. 10% is quite commonly charged.
Where an Estate agent is not used - allow up to 5%.
A Notaire's fees are calculated on a sliding scale. Thus, the higher the price of the property, the lower the percentage the Notaire will take. The amount is usually in the region of 1% (plus TVA at 19.6%).
Notaire fee percentages:
Up to 6,500 Euros - 4.784%
From 6,501 to 17,000 Euros - 1.9734%
From 17,001 to 30,000 Euros - 1.3156%
From 30,001 Euros - 0.9867%
The other fees that are paid to the Notaire but do not, in fact, ultimately go to the Notaire, are fees for stamp duty, land registry fees and other disbursements. All the Notaire's fees are usually paid by the buyer, even if the Notaire acts for both parties, which is normal as they are not supposed to protect the interests of either party over the other. If the seller instructs a different Notaire to the buyer, the fee for both Notaires is paid by the buyer. (In this case the work and fee is split between the two Notaires, it does not mean a higher cost for Notaires' fees.)
0.7% for property less than five years old, 5.09% for older properties. This is included in the fees paid to the Notaire.
Land registry fees are approximately 4.89%. These are included in the fees paid to the Notaire.
Safer is the agricultural organisation who may become involved if the property has a certain amount of land over one hectare. Any associated cost is usually included in the fees paid to the Notaire and is usually only a few hundred Euros.
Unusually for France, the burden of payment for these does not fall on the buyer, but on the seller. Before a property is advertised, approved experts must be called to report on the energy efficiency, presence of dangerous and outdated materials such as asbestos, tests on the provision for gas, electricity and sewage, and tests to establish if there is evidence of termite activity or other natural risks. Costs vary from area to area and from expert to expert, but expect to pay between 400-900 Euros for a Dossier Diagnostique Technique, or DDT. (Diagnostic Immobilier and selling property in France.)
Structural Surveys: It is not common practice in France to have a structural survey performed before buying a property, but the buyer has this option at his own expense should he wish. They vary greatly in price according to size of property etc. but as a rough guide, a basic survey may be as little as 200 Euros, while a full survey could be as much as 1,500 Euros or even higher for a very large property.
Legal Advice: If there are complicated clauses in the sale, or other complex issues, additional legal advice may be required, again at additional expense. This cost may be paid by both buyer and seller, or one or the other. Legal fees vary hugely, depending on the solicitor and also on how much work is involved.
Geometra's charge: This may or may not be necessary to ascertain and mark or realign the exact boundaries of the property, for example if the seller has sold some of his land, or if the boundaries are unclear. Expect to pay around 200 Euros for a simple job on an average sized property, more for a more complex job. This charge is paid by the seller.
Mortgage Arrangement and Administration Fee - Commonly 2%
Mortgage Registration Fee - Commonly 1-2%
Mortgage Insurance - Commonly around 0.5%
I have put in an offer of 142,000 Euros on an old property in France. I am buying through an estate agent and they have quoted me fees of 9,000 Euros for the agency and 10,800 for the Notaire. But every article I have read, including reliable books on the subject and also on this, your website, quote the notaire's fees as being between 1% and 1.5% which would make a fee of 2,130 Euros at the most. Am I missing something along the way? Your help please.
Thanks for contacting us. Perhaps the amount of 10,800 Euros includes the stamp duty costs and land registry fees? The amount would then seem about right. I would certainly question the amount if these fees are not included.
Hi there - I have read that if you buy a commercial business in France eg: a campsite or old hotel, you have to pay an additional 18.6 % purchase tax on top of all other fees. Is this correct?
Thanks for contacting us. However, as I am not an expert in tax matters and these can sometimes be complicated, I would suggest you contact a legal advisor, perhaps using the following page of our site:
French Legal Services
I am hoping to buy an old house in Burgundy for 100,000 Euros and am being charged 5,000 Euros for the Notaire in his capacity as an Immobilier, and 9.000 Euros for government taxes, stamp duty etc. I feel that 14% of the total cost is rather excessive and would very much appreciate your comments on this.
Thanks for contacting us. In our article above we do say that fees can be as high as 20% of the price of the property. Certainly the 5,000 Euros and 9,000 Euros that you are being charged for an old 100,000 Euro property does not seem out of the ordinary.
However, if you are still uneasy with the costs, do query them with your Notaire.
We are trying to sell the property in SETE with our French Immobilier agent. Our asking price is 72,000 Euros. But the Immobilier agent is asking us for a "remuneration" of 7000 Euros - and to instead advertise the property for 79,000 Euros. On our contract (Mandat de vente), it states that it is the "Mandant" (meaning the seller) has to pay "la remuneration de mandantaire" of nearly 10% of the selling price. We know that they will still ask the buyer to pay another 8% fee on top of 79,000 Euros. Please advise if it is standard for the seller to pay 10% fee for selling the property? We found it quite an extortion. Please advise.
Thanks for contacting us. I understand that estate agent fees are usually paid by the buyer of the property, as would be the case here. You would not be paying the 7000 Euros, the buyer would, as they will be paying 79,000 Euros instead of 72000 Euros. The agents are just adding the commission on to the selling price, rather than taking it off. (Remember that the agent is trying to make as much as possible out of the deal.) I understand the agent is quite within his rights to demand a 10% commission for the sale of the house, though the commission rates are always negotiable. If the agent will not drop his rate and/or you do not want to advertise it for so much, perhaps you can sell through another agent?
The 8% fee you refer to on top of the 79,000 Euros may well be the Notaire's fees which must be paid by the buyer, which is separate from the estate agent's commission fees, as mentioned in our guide on fees. If this 8% is however also an estate agent's commission fee, then this I have not heard of, as the buyer would then be charged almost 18% commission, and no buyer would be happy with this. I would suggest in this case you go with another agent.
I am in the process of selling our chalet and we have received an invoice "frais d'établissemne état date" from our management company. It is for quite a lot of money & was wondering if this is normal and usually paid by the seller?
Thanks for contacting us. Both my colleague Joanna and I have not heard of this, but we would advise you to check your original contract when buying your property, or when employing your management company. If it is included and you signed, then you would be liable. It wouldn't surprise me though, to hear of a management company levying their own fees over and above those of say an estate agent or notaire.
We are in the process of buying a property in Brittany but would like to add our Notaire fees and agent fees to the mortgage. We are having problems finding a French mortgage company that do both, although our Estate Agent seems to suggest that this can be done and is normal practice. The quotes I have obtained say they will only add on the agents fees and we have to pay the Notaire separately. My question is are there any French Mortage companies that will let us add both?
Thanks for contacting us. I cannot see why the amount equivalent to your fees cannot be added to your mortgage, unless you have reached your maximum level of borrowing, though as I am not an expert in these matters, I would suggest you look at our section "French Mortgages" (http://www.frenchpropertylinks.com/mortgages.html). If you fill out the form with your query, a mortgage advisor will get back to you.
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