What the notaire does | What the notaire does not do | The notaire's fees
What the notaire does
Under French property law, the notaire is the only person entitled to register the transference of title with the land registry (bureaux de conservation des hypothèques). Notaires are specialist french property lawyers in independent practice, they are however nonetheless appointed government officials deriving income from amongst other things a percentage fee for performing a neutral supervision and administrative processing of the conveyance and the registration of title. They are also responsible for the collection of various taxes generated by the french property conveyancing process including the vendor’s capital gains tax liability. They are charged with the delivery of these taxes to the relevant French tax authorities.
What the notaire does not do
As said, the notarial duty is as to the contract and the conveyancing process in consideration of his/her fee whilst en route collecting the taxes due on the transaction. It is not the notaire’s role to safeguard your interests, to identify any contractual disadvantages from your personal standpoint, to identify or consider the most advantageous legal vehicle for your purchase and ownership, to consider your tax or desired inheritance position or to understand all of this cognisant of your interests under English law.
The notaire's fees
The notaire’s fee is paid by the purchaser and will range from 6% to 8% of the purchase price depending upon the value of the property. Included in the fee is the French equivalent to stamp duty and land registry fees. The notaire’s remuneration in itself represents approx 1% of the transaction cost.
As a french property purchaser, you are entitled to appoint your own notaire at no extra cost as the fee is split between the vending and purchasing notaires. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, in our view the instruction of a second notaire in effect serves only to add a further tier of bureaucracy to the process. This inevitably increases the potential for delay and simultaneously obliges the appointed notaire to accept only 50% of the fee. In our experience, this has exactly the effect that one might expect and risks engendering a non-responsive approach from the original notaire. Instructing an experienced dually qualified bilingual lawyer with a duty of care to you and your interest assists the appointed notaire in areas of legalistic, linguistic and cultural expectation. We work very closely with notaires across France to achieve this end.