How to buy property in FranceWritten by G D Gibbs
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The Notaire A French notaire is a publicly appointed official who is responsible for ensuring property has good title (ie, no irregularities in ownership) and that purchase or sale is correctly transacted. Because notaries are personally responsible for contracts drawn up they must be objective in advice they give and be impartial in their dealings with parties concerned. A notaire represents neither seller nor buyer but French Government. They can also act for a client anywhere in France. The same notaire therefore usually acts for both vendor and purchaser. This is not obligatory and you can appoint your own notaire if you wish. The fees (paid by purchaser) are fixed by law and will be split between both notaires if two are appointed. You should be aware that notaire’s job is to finalise agreement he has been told has been recorded. He is not there to advise or warn purchaser of any inadequacies in it. His role is therefore very different from that of a solicitor. If you are making a purchase with a mortgage, you should at least instruct notaire/estate agent to make your purchase conditional upon obtaining a mortgage: ‘conditions suspensives’. This will offer you further protection under French Consumer Law. Upon signing this preliminary agreement purchaser has to place a deposit with notaire, which is normally 10% of purchase price and will be deducted from sale price. Completion Completion is when final deed of sale is signed and legal ownership is transferred to buyer. It is at this point that balance of purchase price plus any extras such as notaire’s fees, taxes and duties are due. The monies will be paid directly by bank to notaire. The final act is signing of deed of sale (acte de vente) which will take place in notaire’s office. It is normal for both parties to be present when deed of sale is read, signed and witnessed by notaire. It is good advice to attend in person at notaire’s office for signing and witnessing of deed of sale. However, if this is not possible you may invoke a power of attorney. Each page has to be initialled by both seller and buyer and both must sign last page after writing in French ‘bon pour accord’ which means they have understood and accept terms. There are no title deeds as such in France and proof of ownership is provided and guaranteed by registration of property at Land Registry. The Land Registry’s stamp is put on deed of sale and notaire gives a certified copy to buyer around two months after completion of sale. Rates and Taxation Taxe Fonciere This is a land tax. The size of property determines how much is paid and owners of new properties are exempt for first two years. The tax is paid by person owning property on 1 January of each year with payment due in final quarter of year. However, if property ownership changes then purchasers must usually reimburse sellers for their share. Taxe d’habitation This is a local services tax. It covers services and maintenance provided by local council and again is payable annually in last quarter of year. The estate agent will advise you of taxes in relation to your own property and tell you how much you will need to pay. The tax demands will be sent to address of French property. French Inheritance laws and Taxation These are specialist areas and we strongly recommend that you seek professional advice. French inheritance laws are particularly different to those abroad. You are well advised to take legal advice on these matters before completing purchase. You may also be liable to French tax if you derive any income from property, ie, letting fees. You must register with French Taxation Centre for Non-Residents when you buy property. France has signed taxation treaties with most countries which means that you avoid double taxation.
I publish and edit a free french property magazine entitled Your-move-france. I also operate a website your-move-france.co.uk. Both are independant and not linked to any agent or organisation.
Setting Yourself Up For SuccessWritten by Cecile Peterkin
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Steps to Success
1. Know your Potential: In order to succeed at anything you need to see that you have potential to reach your goals
2. Understand your Goal: List three or four reasons why you want to achieve this goal? What is result you want to obtain?
3. Set Realistic Goals
Cecile Peterkin is a Certified Career Coach, Retirement Coach and Speaker. With over 17 years of managerial, leadership, empowerment counseling and personal development experience, Cecile specializes in helping Middle Managers overcome the “Middle Syndrome” of being stuck in a middle position in mid-life. To learn more about Cecile, visit her website at http://www.cosmiccoachingcentre.com.