So you have decided to buy a property in or around Nice. Congratulations! You have already accomplished the first step in purchasing a property in France. Whether you are looking for a primary or secondary residence or an investment opportunity, the team at Nice Homes are more than happy to guide and help you through the whole process. The following is a general run-through of what to expect each step of the way and how our Nice Homes agents can provide you with a seamless experience.
Finding and Viewing Properties
Following your first contact with Nice Homes, a Nice Homes agent will introduce him/herself and request your search criteria, such as location, size and budget and also must-haves, desirables and deal-breaker features, with which s/he will send you a first selection of properties to browse through. You may also wish to forward any other properties you have found online. As a property finding agency, we have access to all the local networks, including the multi-listing service (MLS), providing us with all the properties currently for sale. This enables us to select from a vast quantity of properties and increase the opportunity of finding your ideal investment. Once you have identified together some properties you wish to visit, the Nice Homes agent will organise these visits at your convenience and plan accordingly with the sellers’ representatives. When viewing, it is important to give your Nice Homes agent clear feedback. If you don’t like a property, say so. Equally, give positive feedback for any you are seriously interested in. That way, s/he can ensure further properties will be suitable. Your Nice Homes agent will also be able to advise you given his/her vast knowledge of the area.
Negotiating an Offer
Once you have found a property you wish to purchase, you will need to make an offer. Your Nice Homes agent will be able to advise you on what a reasonable offer would be considering all the features that come with the property and also whether the asking price reflects any work potentially required. S/He will negotiate on your behalf following your recommendations. It is also wise that your finances are sorted in advance, in other words getting a mortgage agreed in principle beforehand, unless you are a cash buyer. This will give you a good idea of the budget you have available and allow you to move swiftly at the appropriate time. It is also necessary for the preliminary contract.
Once your offer has been accepted, your Nice Homes agent will contact a “notaire” with all the legal documents required to draw up the preliminary contract, known as “le Compromis de Vente”. In France, a notaire must be used when a property or land is sold. The notaire is a property lawyer employed by the French government to ensure a sale is above board and that all taxes are paid. If you cannot be present at the signing of the preliminary contract, you can agree to sign a power of attorney with the notaire. Your Nice Homes agent can advise you here if you have any questions.
Cooling Off Period and Deposit
Once the preliminary contract has been signed, the seller is automatically locked into the sale. As the buyer, you are provided with a ten day cooling off period during which you may retract without any penalty in the unlikely case that you decide you no longer want the property. Otherwise, you will be required to pay a deposit into the notaire’s account. Usually, the deposit represents between 5% and 10% of the agreed sale price. It is important to underline that the sale only becomes legally binding for the buyer once the preliminary contract has been signed and the ten day cooling off period has passed.
Transfer of Funds
Once the cooling off period has passed, you are also locked into the sale. As it will have been stipulated in the preliminary contract, you will have been given a deadline to transfer the funds to purchase the property by. The transfer goes directly from your bank to the notaire’s secure account. In the case of a mortgage, your banker or financial broker will follow up and proceed with transferring the funds to the notaire.
Once the funds have been transferred and the notaire has done his due diligence, then you will be invited to the notaire’s office for the final signing along with the seller. If you cannot be present at the signing of the final signing, you can agree to sign a power of attorney with the notaire. Your Nice Homes agent can advise you here if you have any questions. The balance of the sale price is paid into the seller’s account and you receive the keys to your new property and a legal certificate of sale known as an “attestation de vente” proving your ownership. The notaire will send you the official title deeds of the property approximately six months later once he has registered the property with the land registry known as the “cadastre”. Your Nice Homes agent will remind you that you must insure your new property from the date of the final signing and recommend you view the property just before the final signing if this is possible as it is sold as seen.
Time to Celebrate
Congratulations to you! You have just purchased your property in France! We highly recommend you go out and celebrate! Welcome to our neighbourhood! Also, please feel free to share any kind words you may have for our Nice Homes agents. They do a great job helping you throughout the whole process. We are very proud of them and hope you enjoyed working with us!
At Nice Homes, we pride ourselves on working with a selection of who we consider to be the best and most qualified people, companies and services in the Nice area, complementing our clients with the answers to their legal, financial, renovation, holiday letting, long-term renting, professional set up and everyday life inquiries whilst we focus on our clients’ priorities, finding the home or apartment they are looking for and guiding them through the successful purchase or sale of their property. This is absolutely to our clients’ advantage as traditionally, one-stop shop real estate agencies usually demand commission from their collaborators, therefore incurring on our clients’ costs. We do not. We believe in transparency and excellent service. To check out who we recommend, please click here.