French Riviera property buying guide to your home on the Côte d'Azur
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French Riviera property buying guide to your home on the Côte d’Azur

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is not intended to replace the advice provided by legal counsel. Each situation is specific and is governed by specific sets of legal and regulatory provisions, contractual clauses and agreements.

Let’s find your French Riviera property!

You have been thinking a lot about either moving 100% to the South of France. Or to buy a property as your second home under the sun. What is the most efficient way to make the first selection? You can find online hundreds of properties, but at some point, you lose focus and all the houses look the same. This is where we can help. Living on the Côte d’Azur offers a broad selection of French Riviera properties and a personal service.

The important first step before you start searching

Houses are being sold by many agents and once you have asked agents, brokers and portal online for information, you can not work with us anymore. That’s why it’s important to contact us before you start asking for information at different agencies. Our services are completely free for the buyer because the selling agent will pay us. But we must register your name first.
During a Zoom or Skype meeting or a WhatsApp call, we will ask you different questions to get a better idea of your ideal home. You can also email Living on the Côte d’Azur and send us the answers to the questions below.

This is the property guide you’re looking for

• What is your budget?

• What type of property are you looking for? Villa, penthouse, apartment

• How many bedrooms and bathrooms?

• What is the ideal size (m2) for the property?

• What is your ideal location?

• Would you want a residential area?

• What style of construction/property are you looking for? Modern style, Provençal style, Bourgeois?

• What exposure would be ideal (North, South, East, West)? Check the sun curve😉

• When looking for an apartment, which floor would be ideal?

• Is an elevator important?

• Would you like a terrace or a balcony?

• Would you be ready to do some renovations?

• Is it for the main residence or for an investment?

• When do you want the keys? This year, next year or even later?

Prepare your property visits to the French Riviera

The next step in the property guide is, once we have a good idea of your ideal home, we will search in the databases of all agents in that region. We work closely with the best real estate agents, allowing us to make a strong selection. This long list can be around ten houses long, so you have to narrow it down to 5 properties you really really like. We will then send you the address and prepare the planning for visits.
Most international clients visit the area for 2-3 days, which gives enough time to visit multiple properties and revisit their favourite one again in the morning and evening. If you fell in love with a property, we can put together an offer and then the process to start living on the French Riviera begins! If you see properties on other portals, you can send us the link. We act on your behalf and will get the dossier. We hear more background information about properties than you will receive.

How to finance Côte d’Azur real estate?

In France, unless you are a cash buyer, financing is required to secure your purchase. Some buyers choose to organize financing in their country of origin, with remittance or re-appropriation, while others consider obtaining financing in France. French mortgages represent good value compared to UK and US rates and are freely available to overseas buyers. Non-residents can normally expect to be able to borrow 70% of the value of French property; the term of loans is usually between 7 and 25 years. We have a reliable network with banks and can connect you with the solution.

Negotiations for your French Riviera property

Once you’ve found your dream property and decided to make an offer, the first step is to present that offer. That can be by email in written form. We will contact the seller to present your offer. If the offer is too low, you receive a counteroffer, which you, in turn, must accept, or try another offer. We help you at every stage of the negotiations to make a fair deal for both parties.

French Riviera property buying guide to your home on the Côte d'AzurProperty guide sales agreement

Once an offer has been accepted by the seller, the sales contract, or “sales agreement”, is established. This ‘compromis de vente’ contract stipulates the agreed price and conditions. The ‘compromis de vente’ is drawn up by the notary, who will ensure that all the specific conditions you request are included in the sales contract.

Ten days cooling down period

As a buyer, you are entitled to a withdrawal period of 10 days after signing the sales agreement. This option to withdraw from the contract is only available to the buyer. Once the seller signs, he is legally bound by the contract. At the end of the 10-day withdrawal period, the contract becomes binding for both parties. If all the conditions precedent is lifted, the two parties can no longer discard at the risk of losing the penalty clause.

Security deposit

After signing the sales agreement, the buyer must pay a deposit of 5% -10% of the purchase price. The deposit is paid directly to the notary and is kept in an escrow account with the notary until the final signature. This amount will be deducted from the final price of the sale.

Technical diagnosis

An important part of the property guide is the technical state of the property. When selling real estate, the seller is required to provide the buyer with a technical diagnosis including various diagnoses:

• Asbestos: Report on the presence or absence of products or materials containing asbestos.
• Lead (observation of the risks of exposure to lead – CREP): Report on the presence or absence of products or materials containing lead
• Termites: Report on the presence or absence of products or materials containing termites.
• Diagnosis of energy performance – DPE: Report on the energy performance of housing. It gives the future buyer some idea of ​​the level of energy consumption, as well as the rate of greenhouse gas emissions.
• Diagnosis of natural and technological risks (ERNT): Report on all-natural or industrial risks to which the property may be subject. (Earthquake, floods, forest fire …)
• Gas installations: Report on the condition of the gas installation of the property
• Electricity: Report on the state of the electrical installation of the property

Visiting the French notary

A notary is required by law to provide you with full and detailed information about the nature of the agreement you are signing. The notary has indemnity insurance, which provides a financial guarantee to the client. The notary is completely independent, so only one notary can act on behalf of the seller and the buyer.The advantage is that the process is generally much faster. You have, of course, the right to hire your own notary if you wish. Whether one uses one or two notaries, the cost remains the same, as the fees are shared between the two notaries.

The notary has a legal obligation to make sure you understand what you are signing and will review all of the terms of the contract with you. If you don’t understand French, the notary will arrange a local translator in your own language to explain the contract. The costs for this are mostly about 300 euro.

Final signature of the sales deed

Transfer of funds
Before proceeding with the sale of a French property, the notary must have all the funds to purchase. This can be done by transfer from your account to the notary’s account. If you take out a mortgage, the lender will make arrangements to transfer the funds to the notary. If you make a transfer outside the European Union, your bank will charge you a high provision. We can help you with our Foreign Exchange partner. You can save thousands of euros with your banktransfer.

Delivery date
The sales contract will always contain a clause stipulating a completion date, ie the date of signing of the deed of sale. However, if the contract is not signed by this date, the contract is still valid unless it indicates a deadline of extraordinary nature, but it is exceptional that this clause is added.

Inspection of the property on the date of the final deed signing
The seller is obligated to sell the property in the state in which you visited it (Unless agreed otherwise). In the event of significant deterioration of the property between the visit and the authentic instrument, the buyer is entitled to demand that the property be returned to its original condition at the seller’s expense. This is why we encourage you to visit the property the day before completion to make sure everything is as it should be.

Signature of the final deed
Now it’s almost time to open the champagne! When all inquiries have been made and the funds are in place, you will be invited to sign the deed of sale at the notarial office. It is not necessary for the buyer (or even the seller) to be present to complete the formalities. So, if you are unable to attend the final settlement meeting, a relative, friend, or solicitor can obtain a power of attorney to sign on your behalf.

In case you want to give a Power of Attorney, you have to do this at a French notary. So best is to do this in the week that you have decided to buy the property. You can then have someone else do the paperwork for you. That can be an employee of the notary’s office, or Living on the Côte d’Azur.

Purchase certificate
When you have signed the deed of sale, the notary will provide you with the purchase certificate (called ‘attestation’). You receive several copies with stamp and signature, one with the price and one without the price. The one without a price can be used to open a contract with an Internet provider. The attestation is your proof of residence. Later, you will receive a copy of the bill of sale.

Time to enjoy the French Riviera lifestyle!

French Riviera property buying guide to your home on the Côte d'Azur