PROPERTY: Selling your property in France, steps and procedures

You are thinking about selling your French property? Prepare your house for the visits, carry out the mandatory diagnostics, set up the sales file... This is the guide of the essential steps of a real estate sale in France.

Key steps in a real estate property sale

Every sale begins with the estimate of the price of the property and the drafting of the real estate advertisement (including photos). A seller can decide to act alone or to mandate a real estate agency. Then there are the visits and the study of purchase offers: stages during which the seller can be accompanied by his real estate agent.

To be able finalize the transaction, the seller must fulfil his obligations towards the future purchaser by carrying out the various diagnostics relating to his real estate property. In some cases, the mandated estate agency takes charge of implementing the obligatory diagnostics.

So to sell your house or apartment, you must be able to present:

  • The Anti-lead certificate (Crep). It shall be delivered for pre-1949 dwellings and its validity is permanent.
  • The Asbestos diagnostic, for properties built before July 1997. Its validity is permanent.
  • The Anti-termite certificate valid for 6 months.
  • Reports about the gas and electricity installations. These two diagnostics are mandatory for installations over 15 years old. They are valid for 3 years.
  • A report about natural and technological risks. It is a certificate which informs the purchaser that the dwelling is in an area presenting a natural, mining or technological risk (ERNMT). It must be issued less than 6 months before the signature of the promise of sale.
  • The diagnostic about the the non-collective sewerage system, the septic tank. This certificate concerns dwellings not connected to the public wastewater collection network. The diagnosis must have been made less than 3 years before the date of sale.
  • The Energy Performance Diagnostic (DPE). It defines an estimate of the energy consumption and the rate of greenhouse gas emissions of the property. The DPE is valid for 10 years.

Among the compulsory elements to present to the buyer, there are also the warranty against hidden defects and the warrantee of quiet possession (which protects him from any questioning of his property rights). The purchaser has to be informed of the presence of special equipment. The sales file must contain proofs of any possible works (building permit or declaration of works...).

In the case of an apartment sale, the Carrez law imposes to indicate the surface area of the private part of the lot for sale. Failure to mention it may justify cancellation of the transaction.

The seller of an apartment in condominium has the obligation to present the maintenance book, the rules of condominium, the descriptive state of division, the amount of the current charges and the amount of the non-forecast budget, the sums remaining due to the syndicate of the condominium...

Once these documents are on file, both parties can sign a provisional sale agreement. This is not an mandatory part of the transaction and it only binds the seller who reserves his property for the buyer. In order to reserve the property, the acquirer pays an earnest money deposit to the notary or real estate agent. If the seller withdraws, the buyer recovers the money.

The act that binds both parties in the purchase process is the signature of the sale agreement. At this moment, the purchaser may pay a security deposit (between 5 and 10% of the selling price). The compromise mentions the description of the property, an inventory of the remaining equipment (e. g. kitchen), mandatory and specific clauses, the date of availability of the property and the real estate diagnostics.

If everything goes well, the next step is the signing of the deed of sale before the notary or in private (between buyer and seller or in the presence of a real estate agent).

Boost your sale

Writing your advertisement correctly and providing all the necessary documentation is of course very important. But for selling your property quickly, it is just as important to present your product profitably. It is better to finish the small work in progress (parquet joints, paint finishes, repairs, etc.).

Depersonalizing the decoration of the house or apartment can also facilitate the sale. Lighten the decoration, give preference to neutral tones for the globality, and add touches of colours to mark the visitor's eye... Bringing your property up to date helps prospects to project themselves into their future home.

Apply the principles of Home Staging without forgetting that the apartment or the house for sale is a product that must appeal to the consumer or potential buyer. According to the sector’s professionals, a home staged property sells faster (in less than 60 days) for a budget spent that rarely exceeds 2% of the selling price.

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