Guide to Legal Process of Buying Property in France

12. House Buying Fees & Taxes in France

  1. Notaire Fees
  2. House Buying Taxes
  3. Calculation of Buying Costs
  4. Reducing Your Costs

12.1. French Notaire Fees - 'Frais de Notaire'

In calculating the transaction costs of buying property in France it is important to distinguish between fees and taxes and between older and new property.

In summary, the total fees and taxes payable for each 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, excluding estate agency fees.
  • 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), excluding estate agency fees.

Although these fees and taxes are often referred to as ‘notaire fees’ (frais de notaire), in fact 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) is used, as follows:

Fraction of sale price Rate
Up to €6,500 3.945%
Between €6,501 and €17,000 1.627%
Between €17,001 and €60,000 1.085%
From €60,001 0.814%

These rates are charged on a sliced basis, so they are calculated successively for each fractional part of the total price.

Thus, for the purchase of a house with a sales price of €200,000 the fee is calculated as follows:

(€6,500 € - €0) x 3.945% = €256,425
(€17,000 € - €6,500) x 1.627% = €170,835
(€60,000 € - €17,000) x 1.085% = €466
(€200,000 € - €60,000) x 0.814% =€1,139
€256,425 + €170,835 + €466 + €1,139 = €2,033

They are also subject to 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), and the higher the sale price the lower the proportionate amount of the fee.

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to negotiate with the notiare on their fees, up to 10%, but only on properties where the sale value is greater than €150,000, but only on the portion of the fee scale that applies. The practice is not common, and we would be interested to hear from you if you have tried it!

Indeed, the determination of notaire 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 - solicitor, avocat, financial advisor, building surveyor, 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 they are 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 the next section we consider the house buying stamp duty land registration taxes that are payable in France.

Next: House Buying Taxes

Back: Certificate of Purchase

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