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French real estate transactions used to be as smooth as newly applied plaster, but sadly those days are all but gone. President Francois Holland, along with the assistance of Cécile Duflot, took a sledgehammer to the process back in January 2015 when he implemented the infamous Loi Alur. The fallout has left both real estate agents and notaires spluttering in the dust.

How does this impact me?

In practice, it means you will have a much longer, nail-biting period between the moment an offer is accepted, and the point the compromis is finalised before the cooling off period begins. The system seems slightly more precarious as there is a longer period to wait before exchange of contracts- this allows a bigger window for human nature to take effect, i.e. either party could change their mind before a legal document is signed.

Why does it take so long?

Before the legislation came into effect, a compromis was signed, then all the necessary searches were performed, documented and provided in time for the acte de vente. Under the new legislation, all of this information must now be provided prior to the signing of the compromis. The cooling off period of ten days (which starts after signing of the compromis) now cannot legally start until the buyer has had notification of the following documents:

  • Last three years of Annual General Meetings of the Syndic (building management)
  • Le règlement de copropriété et ses actes modificateurs (legal document detailing rights of apartment owners / rules of the building)
  • Carnet d’entretien (documented common part works)

These documents are required to ensure a buyer knows all the necessary details about their purchase before the compromis is signed. It will inform them of information such as, if there are works scheduled to take place on any common parts of the building, and how much they might need to pay towards them as a lot owner.

This is of course great in principal, but in practice, finding all these documents, and requesting them from Syndics, can be a slow process. The Notaires also have to go over the intricacies of them with a fine tooth comb which can take a lot of time. We are now seeing delays of up to two months between an offer being accepted and the compromis being drawn up.

What can we do to speed things up?

Gather your paperwork as soon as possible, and have it at the ready from day one- even if selling seems far off on the horizon, having your files in order will pay dividends. We will of course be at hand to help you gather the documentation, but we can only move as fast as the sometimes sluggish Syndics. More often than not, a mortgage cannot be applied for until there is a compromis for the sale, so if your buyer isn’t cash rich, you could have a long wait.

Try to be patient. The property is off the market whilst the paperwork is being drawn up, and vendors rarely pull out of a deal. Use this time to get everything else in order – the bank account, arranging building quotes; look at renovation and furniture (which can take 6 – 12 weeks to deliver).

It is now more important than ever to find an agency who you trust to manage your file from start to finish; one that has the time and resources to follow up and monitor your progress, while keeping you and the Notaire up to speed. This is why Pebbles doesn’t just have sales negotiators making the sales, but a dedicated administrative team with the capacity to oversee client contact and file management.

We must stress that we have never lost a sale due to a party backing out ‘because the process takes too long’ and it is highly unlikely this will ever occur. You can trust Pebbles to manage your sale or purchase; our team will remain by your side to point of completion and beyond.

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