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Reserving a French Leaseback Property

France - Reserving a French Leaseback Property

Once you have chosen a property you wish to purchase you will have to go through the reservation process. Because French investors are investing heavily, there is a lot of pressure on foreign investors to go through the process at a similar speed.

Generally, if you wish to reserve you will often be advised to make a first and second choice as availability does change very quickly so your choices may not always be available.

Generally a 5% deposit is necessary to reserve a property. This does vary from development to development and French law restricts how much can be paid in terms of reservation deposit according to when the development is to be delivered.

The deposit is to be transferred to the French notary's escrow account to secure the reservation whilst contracts are being arranged. Proof of transfer must be faxed through within three working days to secure the property. You should start looking for a suitable mortgage at this stage.

French purchasers are normally required to pay the deposit and return the contracts within this delay. More lenience has been given to foreign investors so that they can seek legal advice regarding the contracts. Nevertheless, 3 weeks is the average delay practised by the developers for foreign investors to return their contracts. Sometimes they may insist on this delay being shorter, particularly if the development is completely sold out and it is the last property available.

Contracts for the majority of the developments are in French. Occasionally contracts are translated although this tends to be rare as the developments sell so quickly on the French market.

Once the reservation has been made, you will be issued with the completed contracts which must be signed as soon as possible as reservations are not complete without signed contracts.

It is recommended that anyone purchasing property in a foreign country use a solicitor qualified in the law of the country where they are purchasing.

Whilst you are in the process of signing your contracts you should also begin proceeding with a mortgage application.

Once the signed contracts have been received they are forwarded to the other parties (Developer, Property Management Company, etc.) who will also sign the contracts. You will then receive the signed contracts by recorded post.

You may or may not receive the countersigned contracts back before being notified of your seven day cooling off period. In most instances, you are notified of this at the same time as receiving the countersigned contracts back. In some rarer cases, you may just receive a registered letter advising you of this.

The first presentation of this letter denotes the first day of your seven day cooling off period, meaning that if you chose not to proceed with your purchase your deposit would be reimbursed in full (this can take up to three months to come through, although it does normally come through quicker).

You must receive your mortgage offer before you can complete on the property. If you are unable to obtain finance your deposit is fully refundable providing that the conditions specified in the contract have been fulfilled.

Once you have obtained your mortgage offer a copy is submitted to the notary who is then able to prepare the final documents which will allow you to close on your purchase.

The notary will address to you a copy of the title deeds (projet d’acte) as well as other necessary paperwork. Completion on the property is possible at a public notary in the UK or Ireland in which case you will be provided with a proxy (procuration). The proxy, once notarised and sent back to the French notary, gives limited power of attorney to the French notaires clerk to sign the final Acte Authentique in your absence.

Once this is done you are then the owner of the property.

Taking independent legal advice before committing yourself to purchasing a French leaseback property is strongly advised.

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