The sales process

If you're thinking of selling a property on the Côte d'Azur, you have come to the right place to discover the various stages of the transaction. This sales guide will take you through the key steps of the process, providing you with the information you need to successfully sell your property. Explore below the 10 key steps. Our expertise in the region and the local property market will be at your disposal to guide you through this process towards a successful sale.

To find out more about these steps, please click on them.

The 10 stages of the sales process

1) Choosing a real estate agency

To sell your property at the optimal price, in the best conditions and within a reasonable time frame, requires that you to select an agency that has:

  • Perfect knowledge of the local market for an accurate valuation of the property
  • The ability to establish a broad and qualitative marketing plan with a Franco-international profile and to manage cultural and linguistic differences and find serious buyers
  • Professional expertise and experience to guide you through the selling process
  • Values based on integrity, rigour and service which are essential qualities

2) Valuing the property

To value the property, one needs to take account of official sales statistics of the area, the current competition, market trends and the attractiveness and qualities of the property itself such as: location, exposure, quality of construction and cost of potential renovations, the PLU and urban regulations. Please note that a valuation is not complete until the documents listed below have been analysed.

3) Collecting documents

A number of documents are required before a property can be put up for sale:

  • Copy of the identity document(s) of the seller(s)
  • Title deed or certificate of ownership given to the seller(s)
  • Copy of the property tax
  • Technical diagnoses carried out by an expert, including:
    • The "Loi Carrez" surface area
    • An energy performance diagnosis and estimated consumption thereof
    • The possible presence of asbestos, termites or lead (if the property was built before 1949)
    • Natural and technological risk assessment
    • Condition of the electric installation
    • Condition of the gas installation
    • For most communes: a diagnosis of the conformity of the sewage system carried out by the water company

    For the sale of a property that is part of a co-ownership, the following additional documents are required:

    • Latest calls for funds issued by the condominium trustee
    • Condominium regulations
    • Last 3 AGM minutes
    • Building maintenance log
    • Diagnostics of the common areas
    • Summary sheet of the condominium
    • Registration certificate of the condominium trustee

    When we reach the stage of drafting the preliminary pûrchase and sales agreement:

    • The "status statement " - a financial and informative document produced and invoiced to the seller(s) by the property manager/trustee

4) Signing the sales mandate

The signed agreement between the seller and his estate agent (French and certified) is called a "mandat de vente" (sales mandate). This mandate must be drawn up in French, and must include the mandatory elements required by current legislation:

  • The name of the owner(s), their address and marital status
  • The identification of the real estate agency, including the head office address, business card number, guarantee fund, etc.
  • The address of the property to be sold, together with the cadastral identification and lot numbers for colominium properties
  • A brief description of the property
  • The sales price
  • The amount of the sales fee (the agency's remuneration)
  • The number and type of mandate, the date, validity and cancellation period
  • Any special conditions of sale
  • Planned marketing actions

Before such a mandate is signed, a document called "pre-contractual consumer information" will be given to the seller. The purpose of this document is to inform the seller of his consumer rights.

5) The purchase offer

The offer to purchase or "intention to purchase" produced by a potential buyer through the estate agent must include the identity of the buyer(s) with a copy of their passport(s), the financing of the purchase, any special conditions as well as a validity date and a deadline for drafting and signing the preliminary sales agreement. This offer is binding for the seller, because once it has been signed by both parties, the seller cannot withdraw, unlike the buyer(s) who is given some cancellation options.

6) Choosing your notary(ies)

The notary plays an essential role in any transaction as he witnesses the signing of the deed and the transfer of title. Each party is entitled to appoint "their" notary, without this decision affecting the final cost, and without losing sight of the fact that each notary is, by definition, impartial.

7) The preliminary purchase and sales contract

This first binding contract is drawn up either by the estate agent or by the buyer's notary (if the latter is in the département where the property is located). It contains:

  • The identity of the buyer(s) and seller(s)
  • The description of the property sold, together with all the technical diagnoses and other documents required
  • The price, negotiation fees for a sales mandate and financing
  • any reservations and suspensive clauses, in particular the deadline for obtaining the loan (normally 2 months after signing the sales agreement) 
  • the deposit to be paid to confirm the intention to buy
  • The withdrawal period in favour of the purchaser under the "SRU law" (up to 10 days after signature) 
  • The date of the “acte authentique” (the final contract signing in presence of the notary)

A large number of communes have a right of pre-emption. Once the sales agreement has been signed, these communes have 2 months to state their position on this right, which partly explains the delay between the two contracts.

8) The guarantee deposit and legal right of withdrawal

The purchaser must pay 5-10% of the sales price to the vendor's notaire within 10 days of signing the sales agreement. According to the SRU law, the purchaser (alone) has the right to withdraw from the purchase (without paying compensation) up to 10 days after signing the purchase and sales agreement. After the date of signature of this agreement, most municipalities have a period of 2 months to pre-empt following notification from the notary declaring the terms of the planned transaction to the municipality.

Regarding the mortgage loan offer the buyer receives, there is furthermore a compulsory cooling-off period of 11 days before the buyer accepts (or not) the proposed bank loan.

9) The deed of sale

Once the preliminary purchase and sales agreement has been concluded, the final deed of sale is signed with the notary within 2 to 3 months. The notary will have carried out in-depth research on the property in question beforehand (mortgages, town hall planning information, etc.). The French administrative process is long but thorough and reassuring for the buyer and the seller. The buyer's notary draws up the final deed. The balance of the sales price is paid through the notary's account.

Before the deed is signed, the funds must be paid into the notary's account. The notary will then calculate the pro rata property tax and that of any co-ownership fees. Signatures by sellers and buyers can be handled by proxy by the notary's office. However, if you are present and do not speak French, an interpreter will be hired for the occasion.

10) After handing over the keys

Once the purchase and sales agreement has been signed, the notary pays the vendor the net income from the sale after deducting various debts (mortgages, agency commission, capital gains tax, etc.). At this stage, it is important to ensure that water, electricity, telephone and insurance subscriptions are transferred to the new owner.

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