Once the various criteria defining the ideal property has been precisely defined, we identify a wide selection of properties thanks to our thorough search methodology. This is then subject to a detailed screening process that is then reduced to a restricted selection of the best and most attractive alternatives.

SECOND HAND PROPERTY - When a desired property is located, we assess it carefully. In addition, we can if needed, procure a report on its actual condition (at the buyers’ expense). The next step is negotiating the price. Once the buyer and seller agree on the price, a legal purchase / sale agreement ("compromis de vente") is signed by both parties. We translate the contract into English in order to ensure that the buyer fully understands all the terms of the agreement. Subsequently, the buyer is entitled to a unilateral 10-day “free cancellation period”, where after, the purchaser transfers a 10% deposit on the agreed price to an escrow account*.

2-3 months after the first agreement has been signed, the final, formal agreement is ready to be signed at the notary's office. The French notary is a lawyer specialised in civil law and property matters, working on the basis of a public licence. The notary is a compulsory, neutral element in any French real estate transaction. In most cases, both seller and buyer each appoint a notary, at no additional cost. AAA Riviera makes use of competent notaries that are used to assisting foreigners.

The duty of the notary is to ascertain all relevant information about the property, verify servitudes or liens, check for any unexpected municipal development plans, that there are no mortgages etc. The notary edits the final contract and receives the remaining 90% of the purchase price to be paid. The notary witnesses the signing and registers the Title Deed of the property.

The notary will collect 2.5 - 7.5 % of the purchase price to cover legal expenses, depending on the age and value of the residence. This charge comprises official taxes, dues on documents, fees on the registering of the title deed and remuneration to the notaries. All these costs are borne by the buyer.

* If the buyer decides to cancel the deal, he forfeits his 10% deposit. In addition, the estate agent will claim his fee to be paid by the purchaser, in lieu of the seller. If substantial pledges are registered on the property, thus preventing the sale, the 10% deposit will, however, be restituted.

NEW HOUSING PROJECTS - The purchase of a house or an apartment under construction is dealt with in a different manner. The prospective buyer signs a reservation contract ("contrat de reservation") and deposits a sum ranging from 0-5%, dependant on the time of delivery. The sum is credited a escrow account in the name of the purchaser. At this stage the notary is not necessary. The agreement outlines the details of the property and its development. It can also contain details of the purchaser's credit financing with the legal conditions providing rights to cancel the purchase. The next stage is the signing of the formal purchase/sales contract ("acte de vente"), stipulating dates for the subsequent developments, delivery date and guarantees. The contract draft is submitted to the buyer well before the signing in the presence of the notary. Thereafter, payments are made in stages in accordance with the progress of the building process. In many cases in the final phase, the purchaser is invited to personalise the property by selecting colours, tiles, kitchen, deciding installations for the bathroom etc. The last and final payment (commonly 5%), will take place just before inspection and handing over of the keys.

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