Frequently Asked Questions

texte description FAQ

The Carrez Law establishes a standard way of measuring the surface area of a property, defining what is and is not "livable" space. For example, areas under a ceiling lower than 180 centimeters (not uncommon in some top-floor apartments) fall outside the measurable area. A measurement conforming to this definition is the "loi Carrez." All property sales agreements must state this area, in square meters. If within one year of your purchase you discover that there is more than a 5% difference between the stated Loi Carrez measurement and the actual area, you may contest the sale, and are entitled to a reimbursement. A1 Paris Apartments can recommend you an expert who specialize in surveys and diagnostics for properties in Paris.

A notaire – not to be confused with a notary public in the US – is a highly qualified lawyer operating within the French legal system. The notaire is a public officer and counselor in specific areas of the law, including real estate, family and corporate law. He or she has the exclusive power to authenticate certain agreements, including real estate transactions. This ingeniously controlled system prevents almost any subsequent litigation concerning such contracts. Notaires subscribe to a type of insurance that provides an immediate financial guarantee to the client in case of error. Most notaires will not ordinarily provide legal advice concerning tax structure, inheritance or other issues. However, A1 Paris apartments can recommend you any bilingual notaires partners who are used to work with international clients, and have experience in many of the issues that are of concern to affluent investors. We can also put you in contact with specialists who can aid you with whatever legal, tax or other needs you might have. It generally takes about two to three months for the notaire to register a sale with the French Registration Authority. Documents include the equivalent of a title search, habitability, and the absence of termites, lead or asbestos. This period might seem long compared to other countries, but its meticulousness results in a mere .5% rate of legal challenges to real estate transactions – far less than elsewhere.

An SCI is a French company structure commonly used as a holding entity for real property. It is also an alternative of co-ownership for non-residents to own a Paris property or by a family who want to involve their children in the ownership.

In order to be valid under French law, the agreement "Deed of sale" must be written in French. Some notaries may provide translation of the agreements, usually for an additional fee. Or you can use a translation service. In any case, the deed of sale document should be explained to you in a language you understand, either orally or in writing. A1 Paris Apartments partners with English speaking notaries offices in Paris to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and obligations. In addition, your A1 Paris Apartments experts can accompany you to, or represent you at, the signing to ensure that you understand the conditions. Note that only the deed of sale in french remain official.

A French bank account is required only if you are taking out a mortgage from a French bank, since your payments will be deducted automatically from your account each month. Some banks will open an account for you as part of the loan process, or you can open an account at another bank. You may find a French bank account useful in any case, to manage tax, utilities and other expenses associated with your property. A1 Paris Apartments highly recommend you to open a French bank account and can help you as part of managing your financing process.

There are several banks that offer mortgages to non-French residents, with numerous financing options and loans to suit every need. Our trusted bilingual mortgage partners work to guide you smoothly through the borrowing process. The loan approval process takes about 3 to 4 weeks once all your documents are with the bank. We can arrange through our bank partners a financial evaluation, and pre-approval, to help determine your budget before beginning your search. You will not be able to apply for a mortgage at a french bank before signing the pre-contract of sale. Nowdays, french banks are getting more cautious than before and non-resident may see their application turned down. It is the same as well with French residents who also have a difficult time getting mortgage. Therefore, be prepare to have a solid application.

If you are seeking a loan in France, you can request that the purchase agreement will be contingent upon you receiving financing. The purchase agreement will even specify the minimum loan terms – mortgage rate, down payment and loan length – that you are willing to accept. Ordinarily you’ll have 45 days from the signing of the preliminary sales agreement to secure financing. If you are unable to do so in good faith, the agreement is cancelled. You are excused from purchasing the property and your 10% deposit is refunded, otherwise your deposit will not be refunded.

There are two main stages:

1.The preliminary sales agreement: "promesse de vente" or "compromis de vente". The preliminary sales agreement contains all the legal terms of the final contract, which cannot be changed later. This agreement may be drawn up by a real estate agent, in which case it is called a "compromis de vente." Notaires generally use a "promesse de vente," which offers additional protections to the buyer. A1 Paris Apartments recommend to the buyer to take this step under the supervision of a notaire.

2. The final sales agreement: "acte authentique" After the preliminary sales agreement is signed, the notaire collects various documents, such as property titles, surveys and mortgage documents, verifying that everything is in order; and determines the tax and other payments to be made. Once the financing, if any, is in place the final sales agreement ("acte authentique") is signed by the parties. The buyer pays the remaining balance of the property price, agency fees and closing costs – and gets the keys!

From the signing of the preliminary sales agreement to the final closing, the process generally takes between two and three months. However, this can be more than 3 months if buyer and seller agree on a specific time period.

Yes. Since June 2001, the law provides a seven-day buyer’s remorse period for private individuals buying residential property. During this period the buyer can withdraw from the acquisition of a residential property without incurring any financial penalty. After this seven day period of time, the buyer is loosing his down payment put in escrow at the notary office in case buyer want to cancel the sale.

The amount of the property tax "Taxe fonciere" depends on the value of the property, its size and location. It is relatively low compared with other countries; in Paris the average is about 500 euros per year. If you live in your Paris apartment, you also pay the local residential tax "Taxe d'habitation", which is about the same amount as the property tax, but it is based on your income. If you rent the property, then you are responsible for paying the French residence tax (not for short term rentals). This tax is due by the occupier of the property in which the occupier was resident on 1st January of each year.

Buildings in Paris are often managed by an outside company called a "syndic" that can be compared to a home owner association, which oversees co-owner meetings, maintenance and matters concerning the common areas of the building. At an annual meeting, the owners decide on any renovations, improvements, or building works, with the syndic overseeing to their execution. Owners attend the meeting, or can vote by proxy vote if they will not attend the meeting. To cover the fees of the syndic, insurance, maintenance, cleaning and the "concierge", the building care taker if there is one, quarterly dues are paid which vary depending on the number of apartments and building features, from 100 to 200 euros a month. A good rule of thumb is about 2 euros per square meter. When you purchase an apartment, any renovations that were voted upon previously is the financial responsibility of the seller. The average monthly charges by the home owner association can differ from a building to another and it is an important criteria that potential Paris apartments buyers should take into consideration.