Purchasing formalities: let us guide you

During the entire purchasing process, you will come across many different formalities. You will sign several formal contracts, each with their own meaning. They are important in the context of the purchase and therefore we want to briefly touch upon each of them in some more detail on this page. ParisScarabee Househunters guides you through all steps of the purchasing process. With advice and actions. Read more below.


Your offer: the final purchase price

Negotiations on the price of an apartment in Paris are usually oral. It goes back and forth between you and us on the one hand, and the seller and his broker on the other. If there is an oral agreement about the price, the selling party then asks you to put this bid in writing. Given the speed with which the purchasing process takes place, this is usually in the form of an email or SMS. This written bid has no special legal status but it is nevertheless perceived by the seller as more serious than spoken words. It must therefore meet certain requirements. We pay attention to that. We also ensure that the seller understands how we arrived at the price in this first offer.

The purchase agreement, the compromis de vente or la promesse de vente

The compromis de vente is the first French contract that you sign. It has a formal legal status and it comes in many forms. Both the broker and the notary can draw up this contract. We prefer to have this done by our own, trusted notary. It records what is being sold, by whom and to whom, and under what conditions. Of course, we ensure that it contains all important elements. After both parties, you and the seller, have signed this contract, the seller is legally obliged to deliver the property to you.

An extensive document

The compromis de vente must by law contain a long list of enclosed documents, guarantees and technical checks, so-called “diagnostics”. The seller and his notary, and the manager of the building in which the apartment is located, must provide all these papers. That requires quite a bit of preparation. Therefore, completing the compromis de vente until it’s a document that can be signed, varies from a few weeks to sometimes even 2 months. Only when the compromis de vente is complete is it legally valid. We monitor this process and translate and explain every bit of it to you, according to your needs.

Difference between promesse de vente and compromis de vente?

French brokers and sellers also often use the term “la promesse de vente” in this stage of the process. However, this is not quite the same as “le compromis de vente”. A promesse de vente binds the seller, but does not give him the guarantee that you will actually buy the property. If you later cancel the purchase, he has no penalties. That is why nowadays most sellers prefer a compromise de vente.

You have a legal cooling-off period: your “délai de retractation”

After you have signed the compromis de vente, you still have 10 days of legal consideration. In French this is called your 'délai de rétractation'. These are 10 days including weekends and holidays. After all, according to French law you can also think on those days! You can simply cancel your purchase contract during that period by sending a registered letter to the seller. You do not have to give a reason. This right to a 10 day reflection period is intended to protect you as a buyer from impulse purchases. If you wish to exercise this right, we will help you to prepare the correct letter.

After that you can still cancel the purchase, but that will cost you money

You can change your mind and withdraw after this 10-day cooling-off period. But if this is not on the basis of a resolutive condition, then you pay a fine to the seller. This is usually 5 or 10% of the agreed purchase price. You must record any resolutive conditions in advance in the compromis de vente.

The down payment for a property in Paris

The moment you sign the purchase agreement or compromis de vente, you must pay an advance. This is an amount in euros of 5 to 10% of the purchase price for the property that you have agreed with the seller. You transfer this amount to a blocked account, or escrow account, which usually runs with the French notary or with the broker of the seller.

The deed of delivery, “l'acte authentique”

This is the final contract with which the seller delivers the property in Paris to you. The notary draws up this contract. He must ensure that all clauses are correct. The moment you and the seller have signed the deed of delivery, you are the formal owner of your Paris apartment. Only then will you receive the keys and can you finally get in!

It will take some time

The time between signing the compromis de vente and the acte authentique is approximately 1 to 2 months. The notary needs this time to verify all data. He must, for example, examine whether the city of Paris can still exercise certain rights to the property, and whether other claims or mortgages apply to it. During these 1-2 months you usually cannot enter your apartment. The seller will sometimes allow you another visit, but then we must explicitly ask for it.

The remaining payment for your home in Paris

Just before you sign the deed of delivery, the “acte authenthique”, you must pay the remainder of the purchase price. Any prepayments done by the previous owner, the seller, will then be settled with you. These are, for example, local taxes and the monthly costs of the association of owners in the case of an apartment. You transfer the balance to the same blocked escrow account on which you made the down payment. On the day that you sign the acte authentique, the French notary ensures that the other necessary payments are made. The selling broker in Paris receives his commission, the seller receives the net purchase price, and the notary also withholds the required taxes and his own fee. The invoice from ParisScarabee Househunters follows separately. When you sign the acte authentique or the deed of delivery you finally receive the keys to your home in Paris: Congratulations on your new possession! From now on you can move into your dream apartment in Paris!


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