Buyers' Guide

Property buyers guide

In this simple step-by-step guide, we outline the actual purchasing process. We will help you throughout the process and advise you where you need any advice.


Please begin by searching our properties.

  • Our website is a comprehensive list of all our current properties. Should you not find what you are looking it is always as well to make contact with us as it is a changing market and quite often we are aware of properties soon to be coming on the market.
  • All our prices on this website include agency fees and TVA (VAT at 19.6%).
  • The only other fees would be the Notaire’s fees, which include the stamp duty and conveyancing fee, for which you should allow approximately 7% of the property price.
  • Bedford-Bailey are happy to give advice prior to an offer being made to the seller.
  • We will now contact the seller and submit your offer including any special conditions such as ‘subject to a mortgage’. Special conditions may evolve over the negotiating process, and, therefore, it is important that you confirm that the final agreed terms are fully reflected in the Compromis de Vente (see below) before signing.
  • If the offer is acceptable each named person involved in the purchase will need to provide a copy of their passport information page, birth certificate, marriage certificate and/or divorce certificate if applicable, as well as full contact details such as address, telephone numbers, email address etc.
  • Should it not be possible for you to attend the initial Compromis signing or indeed the final Acte de Vente signing then it is possible for a Power of Attorney to be given to the appointed Notaire or a representative of your choice. Whatever choice you make, please ensure that you review carefully all legal documents before signing.

The whole process should take approximately three months from making the offer to signing the final contract if there are no major issues.

  • The Compromis is usually the first document you will sign.
  • The Compromis sets out the terms of the agreement between the buyer and the seller and has to be signed by both parties. We re-emphasize that this is a critical document and should be reviewed carefully before signing. Should you need assistance with translation of this or any other documents then we do have a number of qualified contacts who would be able to help you.
  • The seller will need to obtain reports on termites, lead, asbestos, energy efficiency and electrcity and gas safety. The findings of this report are sent direct to the Notaire and details of which will be declared and discussed at the time of the signing.
  • At the time of the signing of the Compromis, your deposit – usually 10% of the net purchase price - has to be lodged with the Notaire.
  • Once both parties have signed the Compromis, you have a seven day “cooling-off” period. During this time, you can withdraw from the sale without incurring a penalty provided the Notaire receives a registered letter within this seven day period.
  • Once the “cooling-off” period is over, the contract becomes binding on both parties. Therefore it is CRUCIAL that you do not sign the Compromis lightly.
  • From this point on, if you withdraw from the sale, you could lose your deposit and more, unless it is for one of the reasons listed in your 'Clauses Suspensives' (special conditions).

'Clauses suspensives' permit you to withdraw from the purchase under certain circumstances. Typical reasons might include: not being able to obtain finance, or having a request for outline planning permission refused. You need to discuss these clauses very carefully with your lawyer at the time of making the offer.

  • Once the Compromis is signed and the deposit is paid searches on the property, including ownership, land boundaries and rights of way are carried out by the Notaire.
  • Surveys are not usually undertaken in France, although surveyors do exist. Please feel free to discuss the options with us.

It is always as well to discuss these matters with the Notaire at the time of signing the Compromis as French law differs greatly from British law. You cannot, for instance, just leave your house to whomsoever you please - surviving relatives are entitled to shares of the property.

  • You need to transfer the balance of your payment to the Notaire's account in plenty of time for the signing date. Missing the deadline CAN mean you lose both the house and the deposit.
  • If possible it is advisable that you should be present for the signing of the Acte de Vente/completion document. If this is not possible, you can arrange for a Power of Attorney.
  • Pre-inspection of the property is also advisable when final meter readings are taken – Bedford-Bailey can assist with this.
  • Bedford-Bailey can also assist in the transferring of utility services accounts such as Electricity and Water.
  • By French law property insurance has to be in place on the day of the final Acte de Vente/completion signing – again Bedford -Bailey are happy to assist.

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