THE ROLE OF THE NOTAIRE
In France, any sale in real estate is executed through the notaire. As a public officer (representing the State), he watches over the proper execution of the contract. He is in charge of gathering the documents beforehand to avoid disputes or later contestations. He thus proceeds with the various verifications required: mortgage registry, land registry, property manager, urban planning services, local authorities in charge of building licenses and other authorizations (surveys mandatory before the sale).
His mission is to ensure the legal safety necessary for a transaction. His signature affixed certifies the authenticity of the deeds that are generally subject to an official registration with the Service of land publicity. The notary commits professionally regarding the content and the dates of the deeds and keeps the records for 75 years in his office. After that, they are kept in the national archives.
The notaire's role is also to explain to the clients the legal terms used in order to inform them clearly on the nature of the transactions. The notaries also bring legal and fiscal advice, in particular regarding construction or renovation operations.
The notary renders this public service in the scope of a professional service but remains subject to professional secrecy and to an obligation of result.
The purchase fees, improperly known as "notarial fees", are added to the price of purchase of the property. In principle, they are paid by the purchaser, but do not go to neither the seller nor the notary, for the most.
Since March 1, 2016, this activity is no longer subject to a national rate. Should be added to the negotiation fees received by the notaries, the usual fees to pay including mostly duties and taxes owed to the state but also the notary's compensation to draft the authentic deed of sale.
Globally, these fees are between 6 and 8 % of the price of sale for a purchase of an accommodation in an older property and between 2 and 3 % for a purchase of a new accommodation.
Three categories of "fees":
The taxes (approx. 8/10 of the fees) are amounts the notary must receive and repay to the State on behalf of his client. They vary depending on the nature of the deed and the nature of the property.
When the contract does not involve the production or delivery of a new building, the proportional sale duty is due, that is 5.09% of the price of sale. However, in most of the deeds connected with the production of a new building are subject to VAT on real estate and are exonerated of the proportional sale duty.
The disbursements, representing 10% of the amount paid by the client, are the amounts paid by the notary on behalf of his client and used to compensate the various people involved and/or the cost of the various documents regarding the completion of the deed.
The compensation for the notarial service :
Per se, it represents 1/10 of the fees. It includes the proportional and fixed wages + variable fees.
The notary's compensation per se is known as wages. New systems have been implemented by the executive order of February 26, 2016, regarding the rates of certain legal professions as well as by the order of February 26, 2016, setting the notaries' regulated rates. The notaries' fees see their rate go down by 1.40%.
Moreover, for real estate transfers and their formalities, the proportional and formalities' wages cannot exceed 10% of the value of the property.
However, the fees owed to the notaries are free and must be determined by mutual agreement between the notary and his client in case of commercial leases or sales of businesses.