To buy a house in France, you will need to work with a French notary. Notary fees in France are partially defined by the law and partially from the services they provide. The major part of notary fees is derived from tax transference during the purchase of existing residences. In most areas this is approximately 5.9% of the buying price (Oct 2015). In Paris, it is about 5.2%. These additional costs mean that you need to account for a budget of between 6.4% and 7.2% of the buying price; and, since these fees and costs cannot be financed by a mortgage loan, it’ll have to come out of your pocket. Something that you need to consider carefully.
Notary costs in France: regulated by law
The French notary represents the French government. He takes care of the collection of taxes applicable to the transfer of property. You need a notary not only to make the purchase of the property official, but also to register your French Mortgage.
He provides for the transfer of funds borrowed, as well as the transfer of your own deposit. The notary checks the cadastral survey and whether there is an existing mortgage on the property for purchase. In practice, the notary who accompanies the sale is often also the notary who registers the mortgage. The notary is usually someone local.
In accordance with French law, French notary fees include Taxes (paid to the notary but go to the Public Treasury, Expenses paid out on behalf of the client and payment for services carried out or Remuneration. About 80% of French notary fees consist of taxes and the remaining 20% are fees for the notary’s service. The bulk of the notary fee is therefore set by the tax rates determined by law. Notary fees are primarily expressed as a percentage of the purchase price. This system was established in 1978 and was most recently updated in 2011. However, a portion of the legal fees are not fixed by the law, so it is important that you discuss this with the notary in advance.
The fixed legal costs are called Les Emoluments, the non-fixed costs are called Les Honoraires.
Buying a house in France
When purchasing a home in France, the cost of the notary becomes proportionately lower as the price increases. In almost all cases, notary fees associated with the purchase of a property are borne by the buyer. These costs include:
I. Transfer tax — taxes applicables, droits dus au trésor public.
II. Costs for registration with the Land Registry, Office of Mortgages, other municipal documents — honoraires annexes, débours de notaire.
III. Fee for the notary himself — honoraires proportionnels, les emoluments proportionels du notaire, copies et formalités.
The different fixed taxes are grouped under the heading ‘Transfer Tax’, however, this group also consists of several separate items. They are compiled together and amount to an average of 5.9 % of the purchase price (in March 2014). The exact percentages vary by municipality.
These costs are calculated from the sale price of the property and other charges linked with the purchase.
|Le droit département d’enregistrement*||4.5%|
|La taxe communale||1.2%|
|Le droit au profit de l’État||0.2%|
* Les droits départementaux d’enregistrement, was amended by the Law in December 30, 2013: Effective March 1, 2014 to include that a département has the option of applying a rate between 3.8% (unchanged) and 4.5%. Since the amendment came into force, most of the départments have adjusted the charge to 4.5%. The following départments had not adjusted their rates in July 2014: Bouches-du-Rhône (13), Indre (36), Isère (38), Loire (42), Loire-Atlantique (44), Mayenne (53), Morbihan (56), Paris (75), Seine-Maritime (76), Yvelines (78), Vienne (86), Martinique (972), Guyane (973), Mayotte (976).
The above taxes are not levied on new housing. This includes homes that have not been inhabited since they were built, for a period of up to five years. Instead, you will have to pay TVA (VAT) of 19.6% plus 0.6% of the cadastral registration costs, la publicité foncière. A plot of land for building on will require the 5.9% costs detailed above (depending on the départment (4.5%) and the municipality (1.2%) ).
This group consists of a number of different, often smaller, costs. Below is a list of possible additional costs through the notary, along with an indication of what these costs might be for a property worth € 250,000.
|Etat civil||€ 9.83|
|Extrait d’acte||€ 19.67|
|Droit de Preémption||€ 32.78|
|Borderau de dépôt aux hypothèques||€ 25.58|
|États hypothécaires||€ 19.82|
|Demande d’urbanisme||€ 22.64|
|Copie authentique||€ 5.60|
|Copie pour hypothèque||€ 5.60|
|Constitution du dossier||€ 180|
Les débours du notaire, fees paid by the notary to third parties that will pass on to you, also fall under this cost group. This example is also based on a property price of € 250,000.
|Salaire du conservateur des hypothèques||€ 121.96|
|États hypothécaires||€ 19.82|
|Géometrie, timbres||€ 45|
|Autres (expédition, divers)||€ 150|
|Constitution du dossier||€ 180|
Taken together, these costs come to about 0.4% of the purchase price. Here, too, the cost is comparatively lower when the purchase price increases.
The fees for the notary himself correlate to the value of the buying price. As illustrated in the below table, if a portion of the purchase price is € 6.500,- notary costs will be 4%, as price goes up to € 11.500,- costs go down to 1.65% and so on.
|Part of the purchase price||Up to € 6.500||from € 6,500 to
|from € 17,000 to
|Notary rate||4.00%||1.65%||1.10 %||0.825%|
|Cost Notary HT||€ 260||€ 173.25||€ 473|
The following is a sample calculation for a property that has a purchase price of € 250,000.
The honoraire proportionnel equals:
€ 260 + € 173.25 + € 473 + 0.825% x (€ 250,000 -/- € 60.000) =
€ 2.474 + 19,6% TVA (VAT) = € 2.958. In other words, 1.18%.
At a purchase price of € 90,000, the cost is 1.53%.
If you buy a house with a purchase price above € 500,000, then you should count on 1.08% notary fees for this cost.
Below is the total of all notary fees for buying a home — les frais notaires:
|Taxes applicables (taxes)||5.2 – 5.9%|
|Honoraires annexes (cost legal actions)||0.2% – 0.3%|
|Débours de notaires (costs of third parties)||0.15% – 0.3%|
|Honoraires proportionnels (notary fees – percentage)||1.1% – 1.5%|
|Total||6.44% – 7.2%|
Registration of your mortgage
We have already discussed the cost of the deed by the Notaire, but what about the costs of setting up the mortgage?
The mortgage can be combined with the deed; this way overall costs are lower rather than if a separate mortgage deed were to be drawn up.The additional cost of the mortgage and registrations will be around 0.7% for a purchase price of € 150,000; 0.5% for a purchase price of € 300,000; and 0.3% for a purchase price of € 1,000,000 — all with a corresponding mortgage.