1. Buying 'Off-Plan' Property in France
In the following pages we describe the contract process involved in buying a property ‘off-plan’ in France.
That is to say, buying a property from a developer that has yet to be built, on land you do not own.
The property is normally an apartment, part of a development within a city centre, near the coast or in a ski-ing resort.
It is not uncommon amongst the French to buy off-plan, either for their own occupation or for letting as an investment.
The name of the contract you will need to enter into for such a purchase is called a Vente en l’état futur d’achèvement (VEFA).
It may also be called a Vente sur plan.
Although there are always risks with buying anything you cannot see, there is a good level of consumer protection offered to those buying off-plan in France and, most of the time, things proceed satisfactorily. Nevertheless, there remain significant legal and commercial risks so care is needed.
If you select carefully there is often the possibility of realising an attractive capital gain on the property, as prices on the whole development generally move upwards with the progress of building works.
Nevertheless, as with any commercial transaction, you need to have your wits about you and act with caution. Whilst there may well be a robust framework of consumer rights the law has its limits, and you can trip up badly if you do not take a careful approach to the project, both in relation to the choice of the developer and the development itself.
Next: Preliminary Contract
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