12. House Buying Fees & Taxes in France
12.1. French Notaire Fees - 'Frais de Notaire'
The legal costs associated with the purchase of property in France are known as the frais de notaire, literally 'notaire fees'
However, this generic term cover both the fees and taxes.
On this page we consider the actual fees payable; a consideration of the taxes is given in the next section.
In summary, however, the total fees and taxes payable is as follows.
- Older Property - The total conveyancing fees and taxes payable for the purchase of an existing property are between 7% and 10% of the purchase price.
- New Property - You will pay around 2% in conveyancing fees and registration taxes, plus VAT at the rate of 20% on the purchase price, except for sales between private individuals.
Of this total, the actual notaire fee (émoluments) itself is only about 1%. The rest comprises stamp duty registration taxes (droits d’enregistrement) and disbursements.
Notaire fees are regulated by the government and vary according to the sale price of the property.
A scale rate for notaire fees (excluding taxes) on older property in 2022/23 is as follows:
|Fraction of sale price||Rate|
|Up to €6,500||3.870%|
|Between €6,501 and €17,000||1.596%|
|Between €17,001 and €60,000||1.064%|
These rates are charged on a sliced basis, so they are calculated successively for each fractional part of the total price.
You need to add VAT (TVA), at the standard rate of 20%.
Accordingly, based on these rates, for a property being purchased for €200,000 you would pay approximately 1% in actual notaire 'fees' (excluding taxes). The higher the sale price the lower the proportionate amount of the fee.
Under Article R444-9 of the Code de Commerce the fees cannot be higher than 10% of the sale price of a property, or rights concerning a property.
'La somme des émoluments perçus par le notaire au titre des prestations relatives à la mutation d'un bien ou d'un droit immobilier ne peut excéder 10 % de la valeur de ce bien ou droit, sans pouvoir être inférieure à un montant fixé par l'arrêté prévu à l'article L. 444-3, sans pouvoir être inférieure à 90 €.'
Contrary to popular belief, under the law, it is possible to negotiate with the notiare on their fees, where the fees are based on a percentage of the property. It is limited up to 10%, but only on properties where the sale value was greater than €150,000, and only on that portion of the fee scale that applies. From January 2021 the negotiable percentage increased to 20% on that portion of sale value above €100,000. The practice of fee negotiation is not common, and we would be interested to hear from you if you have tried it. (Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The determination of notaire fees can get complicated, as we set out in an article in our Newsletter at The Cryptic World of Notaire Fees.
If a mortgage is being obtained for the purchase then you should budget around 2% of the loan in fees and costs, comprising registration costs, the additional professional fees of the notaire (0.26%) and the lenders fee.
Similarly, if you are buying the property through a French property company, a Société Civile Immobilière the fees will be higher.
Clearly, depending on your circumstances there may be other professional fees payable - estate agent, solicitor, avocat, financial advisor, building surveyor, or land surveyor. If a land surveyor is required it is not unusual for their fees to be met by the seller, or at least shared.
In addition, if you require specialist advice, or there are complicated clauses to be included in the sale contract, over and above the general contract provisions that ordinarily apply, you may also be asked to pay additional notaire fees on top of the basic charge.
Generally, a notaire should and will absorb these extra responsibilities within the basic charge, but this cannot always be guaranteed. However, the notaire is legally obliged to advise you in advance if an additional charge is payable. They are not permitted to simply bill you for extra fees without prior notice. If you have any doubt about it, then ask.
There are also a number of ancillary disbursements payable by the notaire that arise, mainly from land registration, enquiries to the local Council, and to the national rural land agency (called SAFER). They will normally only total a few hundred euros.
In paying the bill some of the ancillary disbursements will be estimated. Normally the notaire will ask for more money in disbursements than are necessary, to protect themselves against any shortfall, but you will eventually receive a refund of any surplus when the property is finally registered with the land registry. This can, however, take a a year or more.
In the next section we consider the house buying stamp duty land registration taxes that are payable in France.
Next: House Buying Taxes
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