How to buy in Tourrettes sur Loup and Vence on the French Riviera

How we can help you - a few words from Nadia:

Welcome to Immo Azur! Estate agent in Tourrettes sur Loup

As the oldest and only truly French/English real estate agency in Tourrettes sur Loup, Immo Azur is well placed to help you find your ideal property. We specialise in properties in Tourrettes sur Loup and surrounding areas which include St Paul de Vence, Vence, Bar sur Loup and La Colle sur Loup. We have experience of selling throughout the French Riviera and will happily go further if that is required.

Searching for a property in France is often not easy as, unlike in the UK and many other countries, in France a property can be listed with several different agencies at the same time…even at different prices! It’s also rare for a property to be with a sole agent. Being English, and having bought my own property in Tourrettes sur Loup, I can vouch for the fact that it can be extremely wearing to do the rounds of all the local agencies only to find that you are being presented with the same properties at least 80% of the time.

So, how can you get around this problem and reduce your personal stress whilst increasing your chances of finding that dream home? The best way is to entrust your search to a single agent who knows the area and the French system, can speak your language and will conduct a full property search for you.

Prior to your visit I will discuss your requirements directly with you and, having sent you details of properties specifically matching your requirements, I will create a full itinerary of visits for you. This will save you many wasted hours traipsing from agent to agent and potentially having properties thrust at you that are of no real interest.

After your initial visit, if you haven’t found what you are looking for, we keep in touch and I will continue to scan the market and send you any new properties that match your criteria. It works the other way too; if you happen to see an interesting property advertised on the internet you can tell me and I will do the leg work to contact the owner and/or collaborate with another agency. We work together until we succeed and at no additional cost to you!

The buying process in France

We are often asked by first time buyers in France, ‘what happens next?’. Well, the first thing to understand is that we will be with you every step of the way until you have the keys to your new home in your hand – and sometimes long after, if need be (for example, if you require assistance with getting renovation work done etc). The buying process normally takes between 8 to 12 weeks depending on whether or not you require a loan. The various stages of the buying process are described below:

Negotiating the purchase price: There are no hard and fast rules here. Sometimes a seller will drop their price, sometimes not – it depends entirely on their situation, and to a certain extent, your own (whether you are taking out a loan, for example, or have specific requirements that mean that the contract will need special clauses – ‘Clauses Suspensives’ - inserted). We will advise you and will do the negotiating on your behalf. The sale price always includes the agent’s commission so there are no hidden fees.

Confirming your offer in writing: It’s always advisable to avoid misunderstandings and we are happy to do this on your behalf.

Signing the initial contract – Compromis de Vente: There are other forms (such as a Promesse de Vente) but this one is the most common. The seller, buyer and property details, purchase price, commissions, special clauses, loan details, an estimate of the legal fees and a proposed date for completion are all included in this initial contract. A set of diagnostics reports pertaining to the presence of asbestos, termites, lead, energy consumption, natural and technological risks, status of gas, electrical and septic tank installations (if applicable) in the property will have been prepared by the seller and is appended to the contract. You will pay a deposit (usually to the appointed Notary) of between 5 and 10% of the purchase price, to be agreed with the seller.

Once both parties have signed, the seller is committed. You, on the other hand, have 7 days from the day following receipt of the signed contract to change your mind. If you do, your deposit will be returned in full. After this date, you can only pull out of the sale if the conditions of a ‘clause suspensive’ are not met (if you are unable to get your loan, for example). If you pull out for any other reason, you will lose your deposit and risk paying a 10% penalty. If the seller pulls out, you will get your deposit back plus a 10% penalty charge.

Completion – Acte Authentique: This is the final stage after which you will receive the keys to your property. It takes about 8 to 10 weeks for the Notary to carry out all the necessary searches and you will either go to his office in person, accompanied by us, or you can nominate us/your notaire in your place, to read through the completion contract, or Acte Authentique, together with the seller before signing. The balance of the purchase price plus all other expenses are paid to the Notary at this time. The other expenses will include the fees due to the Notary, any expenses he has settled on your behalf, the transfer tax (taxe de mutatation) equal to roughly 5% of the purchase price, and various other taxes (property registration, stamp duty, VAT if a new construction). The total of these additional costs is usually between 6% and 8% of the purchase price, depending on the individual property.

Other things you need to know:

Owner’s Taxes: There are two annual taxes due on a property; Taxe Foncière, or land tax: and Taxe d’Habitation. The Trésor Public sends out your annual bills, in arrears, in October. When you buy a property, you will share, on a pro rata basis, the Taxe Foncière for the year in which you buy, ie, if you buy in July, you will pay half of the Taxe Foncière for that year. Any payments due to the previous owner for the Taxe Foncière will usually be confirmed and arranged by the Notaire on completion. The Taxe d’Habitation, on the other hand, is paid in its entirety by the occupier on the 1st January of the year in which the house is sold.

Getting your services set up: We are there to help you and will gladly help arrange the setting up of accounts for water, electricity, gas and telephone/internet. We will hold your hand until you are settled into your new home and when subsequent questions arise, we are often the first point of call for our clients, long after they have become ‘locals’.