Buying a property is a long-term undertaking, which requires a lot of patience, method and an accumulation of steps… But it is worth it! Here you can find everything you need to know before you start a real estate purchase. If you want to buy an apartment, visit www.for-sale.com for more information.
Evaluate your budget
Many online simulators allow you to calculate your repayment capacities, based on your income, expenses and current debt ratio. In relation to these capacities, set yourself a limit not to be exceeded for your purchase, without forgetting to include the amount of notary fees: on average 2 to 3% of the purchase price for a new home, 8% for the old one. Don’t forget either the possible work to be done and the cost of the move!
Find the property
To find your accommodation, you have the choice: browse the ad sites, or contact an agency. This second option saves you time: the real estate agent can offer you a large number of homes (especially since many agencies work in a network with colleagues and “pool” their offers). He is familiar with the local market and can accurately evaluate the price, moderating exaggerated claims by some sellers. Finally, he checks the property placed on the market, carries out diagnoses and draws up certificates of conformity, checks that the property titles are in order, and clearly indicates the amount of charges, housing and property taxes. He or she can then advise you on the financial arrangements for the project.
Sign the compromise or promise to sell
These two contracts commit the seller to sell his property to you, specifying the conditions and price of the sale, and commit you to buy it. But they are of a different nature: compromise is the most common; it represents more than a promise… and less than a sale.
The promise to sell (also called a “unilateral promise to sell”) binds the owner to the prospective buyer (named beneficiary), who will benefit from an “option” on the property for a limited time (usually two to three months). During this period, the seller may not offer the property to another buyer, nor renounce the sale, while the potential buyer may still change his mind. But be careful, in this case, he will have to waive the immobilization indemnity paid to the seller when the promise is made – in principle equal to 10% of the sale price. At the time of final purchase, this compensation will be deducted from the amount to be paid.
Get your loan offer
During a first meeting at the bank, your financial advisor will study your profile (family situation, income, savings capacity, professional stability, seniority, current loans, real estate…) Depending on your income, several advantageous loans may be granted to you (interest-free loan, 1% loan, social accession loan).
Wait for the guarantee agreement
Once the bank has given its agreement in principle, it still needs to obtain a guarantee agreement, which ensures the payment of the mortgage in the event of default by the borrower.
Once the agreement has been obtained, the bank sends you a loan offer summarising the terms of the contract (nature of the loan, total cost, overall effective rate, etc.). As from the receipt of this letter, you have a ten-day cooling-off period to accept or refuse the terms of the loan. The eleventh day – and not before, otherwise you’ll have to start all over again! – you return your offer signed by the Post Office. The notary will receive the cheque from your bank a few days later, and will summon you for signature.
Sign before a notary public
Between obtaining the bank’s loan agreement (on average, one month) and the notary’s procedures, who gathers from the authorities the information and documents necessary to constitute the sale file (civil status deeds, mortgage status, cadastral extract, town planning file, technical diagnosis, union questionnaire, etc.) it takes three months before you can finally sign before a notary the official deed that makes you become an owner. Are you there now? Your contract will include:
Your civil status, the address of the property, its surface area, the description of all the rooms and furniture eventually sold, the easements, the presence or absence of a mortgage on the property sold; the name of the penultimate owner and the notary’s office concerned, the date scheduled for entry into the premises, the price and the payment terms.
You then pay the balance of the purchase price as well as the notary fees (fees, taxes collected for the State, mortgage or guarantee fees on your loan).