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Glossary of property terms

Purchase a property in Nice and you will hear the following terms with great regularity. Our plan at Nice Pebbles is to demystify the purchase process and our 10-step buying guide also furthers this aim. We’re always on hand if you wish to contact us to discuss your property purchase in Nice.

Acte de Vente or Acte authentique
This is the definitive final act of sale that sees the buyer and vendor meet to exchange and sign contracts. Neither party needs to be physically present if they award their Notarie Power of Attorney to act on their behalf.

Agent immobilier
A registered real estate agent holding a carte professionnelle.

Carte professionnelle
The real estate license that all property professionals working in France should be in possession off. This gives the right to draw up sales documents and buy and sell property.

Clause suspensive
The suspensive clause in a Compromis de Vente is there to annul a sale – and ensure the deposit is returned to the buyer – should certain conditions not be met. It is usually used as a mortgage get-out clause, guaranteeing that if you fail to obtain the credit you planned to fund your purchase with, you can still walk away from the deal with your deposit intact. Clauses can also state that certain works must be done in the apartment before the Acte de Vente.

Compromis de Vente
The compromis, or compromise of sale, is the first legally binding sales document during the purchase process. It can be drafted by a Notaire or a registered estate agent. It’s usually a simple document that lists the names of the buyer and vendor, plus the details of the property and the sale conditions, including the clause suspensive (often a mortgage clause). After signing a compromis you have seven days to reflect upon the purchase before proceeding with the sale.

Dépôt de garantie
The deposit, normally 10%, that is required to secure a property and continue with the purchase process.

A bill, usually from a utility company, that is often required as proof as identity. A good estate agent in Nice will transfer the gas, electric and water factures into your name.

Frais de dossier
This is an administrative mortgage arrangement fee that must be paid to the bank that is arranging your loan.

Lu et approuvé
Literally ‘read and approved’. Signed by the buyer – seemingly thousands of times – on the sales documents.

French notaries, known as Notaires, are government-appointed property lawyers who oversee all aspects of the purchase process. During a sale they check the title deeds of your prospective purchase, check there is no debt associated with the property, and perform countless other surveys on the apartment or villa in question. We have a list of efficient English-speaking Notaires who you can appoint to handle your property sale in Nice.

Power of Attorney
The act of giving another individual, in this case a Notarie, the right to exercise power on your behalf. This is commonly done if you, or the vendor, cannot be there in person on the day of the Acte de Vente. A small administrative charge is applicable for this service.

The building manager, normally a small firm who manage several apartment blocks. The syndic takes care of the property’s communal areas and organises an annual general meeting between residents.

Taxe foncière
A yearly property tax payable by the owner, based upon the size of the property, local facilities and other minor factors.

Taxe d’habitation
A yearly property tax payable by whoever is occupying the property on January 1st (usually the owner). It is based upon the size of the property, local facilities and other minor factors.