Ashley TinkerExpat Living and Real EstateLiving in Provence

Buying a House in Provence? Tips You Should Know

We wanted another fixer-upper and that’s certainly what we bought! As I wrote this article this tractor was wreaking muddy havoc in our yard.

Buying a house is Provence is relatively straight forward. However, you do sometimes hear horror stories. Robin recently had a client that overpaid twice the worth of their house. The villagers told him that Acro metal poles were holding up the ceiling before they came to look at the house. Ah!

When buying a house in Provence, there are some things that you should take into consideration. This is in no way a complete guide to buying a house here. Instead, these are some tips from our experience, and Robin’s experience as a project manager, for older properties in the countryside here in Provence.


Before you Buy

Before actually embarking on the adventure of buying a home abroad, you’ll inevitably have many questions. Some of the questions we get asked by readers are:

  • Are there any restrictions on buying in France for non-EU citizens?
  • Can I afford a sea view with my budget?
  • I would like a typical Provençal village with year-round activity. Which is the best one?
  • Where do I find the central database or listing portal for all properties for sale?
  • What is the market looking like on the Côte d’Azur? Are prices going up?
  • Where do I find the prices of properties that have been sold?
  • What am I doing wrong? Agents I’ve contacted don’t answer my emails or phone calls.
  • Can I hire my own search agent in Provence? If so, how does that work?
  • Why is one area so much more expensive than another one that appears to be very similar?
  • Is the buying process in France complicated? How long does it normally take?
  • What are the full costs of buying in France?

French Real Estate Terms

Buying Property anywhere should cause one to pause and reflect on the investment. However, in France, there are some nuances to the way the residential real estate market operates. In addition, there is associated terminology that is specific to the real estate transaction process that you should know before buying a property. The following are some of the critical French real estate terms to understand:

Acte Authentique de Vente = The signing of the deed of sale is the final step in a real estate transaction. Generally speaking, this formality confirms that all parties abided by the terms previously negotiated in the sales agreement.

Acte de jouissance = The final step in the sale and transfer process, the “act of joy” of owning a new property. The buyer receives the keys to their property after signing the deed of sale in front of their notary. In approving the document, the buyer states that they accept the property in its current state. It is highly recommended that the buyer visit the property before signing the deed of sale. It is critical to ensure that the property is in the condition that they expect, and clear of the seller’s possessions.

Agences Immobilières = Real estate offices

Agents Immobiliers = Real estate agent

Architecte = Architect

Arrosage automatique = Sprinkler system (garden)

Attestation – Once all the documents are signed, this is proof that you are the owner of the house.

Avocat = Lawyer

Bastide = Is a large country mansion. In some cases, these may have been small originally constructed as small fortified hamlets.

Bergerie = Originally constructed as animal shelters for livestock. It is quite common to find beautifully renovated bergeries. Read about this conversion near Uzès that turned out to be “un grand project,” but worth it in the end.

Béton = Concrete

Carte Professionnelle = every estate agent should be registered with the authorities. This professional card should ensure that the agent understands the legal nuances of property transactions.

Chantier = Project construction site

Chasseur immobilier = Buyer’s Agent. Discover why a buyer’s agent can be a critical person to have on your team when buying a property in France.

Chauffage = Heating

Climatisation = HVAC – heating, humification, ventilation, air conditioning

Compromis de vente = Both parties (buyer and seller) agree to complete the transaction and honour the agreed to terms (price, timeframe and other conditions). The typical timeline to complete the documentation process with your notary and acquire bank financing (if necessary) is 45 days.

Keep reading for more French real estate terms.

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Ashley Tinker

Ashley Tinker

Ashley was born and raised in Montréal, Canada. She has always been drawn to the history, way of life and beauty of Europe. Her feelings for Europe were reconfirmed while studying art in Florence, Italy. Ashley says that stone buildings, colourful shutters and terra cotta tile rooftops fill her dreams and now her days.

Ashley moved to Provence in 2014 with her partner Robin (he also shares her Francophile passions). They are in search of the French joie de vivre, which they find at every turn in the local markets and natural beauty of Provence. This couple are indulging in local olives and wine as the Provencal sunshine changes craggy rocks into things of beauty.

You can see all of Ashley's blog posts on Curious Provence.

Take a look at Ashley's beautiful fine art photography on her Photographer in Provence website.

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