France

Purchasing costs real estate

Transaction costs

Commissions and wages

Notary

The costs that are taken into account for the notary are partly determined by law. This part is called the “emoluments”, while the other part is called the “honoraires”. These fees are paid for by the selling party and consist for the most part of government taxes and registration rights.

Honoraires, the more variable part where the Notary can decide what fees to charge, are typically related to specific services provided. For example: drafting up documents or checking the land register. The total costs of the Notary are typically around 3% for new built homes and 8% for older buildings.

If you want to calculate these costs into more detail, you can always make use of the official calculator. There are two things to keep in mind when doing so. Firstly, the fact that some fees (honoraires) can vary between notaries. Secondly, since 2016 notaries have the possibility to give a small discount. This discount is only possible for prices above 150 000 euro and the discounts are rather limited. For an apartment of 200 000 Euro, the maximum allowed discount is 40,7 euro in 2017. So do not expect too much of this discount!

Real estate agency

As explained in the purchasing process, there are a few variations. To get a clear view on the costs that are involved for you, it is important to know whether the realtor's fee is paid for by the buyer or seller. In other words: is this cost comprised in the listing price or not?

If this fee is not included, you might want to know what rate the real estate agency will charge. Since these tarifs are not fixed, they can vary between agencies and you'll have to inform yourself at the agency. In general, there will be a degressive pricing; for higher listing prices, a lower percentage will be charged. For the highest pricing category, you might be able to negotiate this rate with the agency.

The fees charged by the agency are ussually displayed at their office or website. If you can't find these rates, you can just ask the agent. Down below you can find an example of an agency's pricing (picture taken August '17, region of the Ardeche). 

Example realtor fee
Example realtor fee as displayed at agency (August 2017)

Intermediary

As mentioned earlier in the section about the purchasing process, intermediaries ussually have deals with local realtors where they share part of the commission. This way, no additional costs are involved when you make use of an intermediary. However, if you involve an intermediary after laying eyes on a specific property, it is possible that you will end up paying an additional fee for their services. A lot depends on the relationship and pre-existing agreements between the realtors and intermediary.

Additional services

Besides a notary and the real estate agency or intermediary, you can always involve other more specialized services and companies. Perhaps you want to outsource the negotiation or a lawyer to double check all documents? Most of these services are based on a fixed fee or hourly rate that you get in advance.

Registration rights

The registration rights and transactional taxes are paid for through the 'honoraires' of the notary. In France, these taxes get split up towards three layers of government, which makes it a bit more complicated to know how much you will end up paying. The first part is a fixed percentage of 0,2% that goes to the federal government. The second part varies between departments and ranges between 3,8% and 4,5% depending on your location (! most departments opted for the highest possible rate of 4,5%). The last part (1,2%) is a municipal tax.

For new built homes you will not be required to pay these taxes. Instead, you pay a fixed VAT rate of 19,6% (2017). In France new built homes comprise all buildings that are sold by the original owners and where construction ended during the past five years. If you are just buying (unbuilt) land, registration rights are due to.