What is the 7 day cooling off period 7 jours de retractation in a French property purchase?

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Change in the law. As of August 2015 the seven day cooling off period is now 10 days. This change came about via the Loi Macron. So substitute 10 for 7 in the details below. Verify with your notary that this law has not changed again.

When you are buying a French property and you have signed the first contract (compromis de vente / sale and purchase agreement) you are entitled to a seven day cooling off period.

This ‘cooling off period is called in French ‘7 jours de retractation du consommateur’ (Learn details on French government site)

This option to withdraw from the contract is only available to the French property buyer and is not available to the French property seller. The seller is legally bound to the contract once he has signed the ‘compromis de vente’.

There are specific details related to property purchases in France and your right to the seven day cooling off period so we recommend you confirm with your French notary if you have the legal right to have this option.

We have heard it is not available for specific types of purchase and it is not available to French property buyers who are making a purchase vai a SCI (Société Civile Immobilière) or if you are a registered property professional in France. Best contact your French notary before you sign.

 Note: The starting point of the cooling off period at this time commences when you have signed and received a copy of the contract. If you sign your contract in the offices of a French notary and all parties to the contract sign the contract you will be given a copy of the ‘compromis de vente’ and the seven day cooling off period starts the day after. But as always there are considerations to make, rules frequently change in France so it is best to consult with your notary about when this period starts, indeed, if you are asking this question you most likely are working with a notary and if not, a notary will most likely be happy to respond. Find an English speaking notary via this link

If you would like to speak with an English speaking French notary you can visit the French notaries site in English here and do a search for a notary in your area of choice.