What is the role of a notary notaire in a french real estate transaction?

Old French Door with Mimosa

When you are buying or selling real estate in France you need to use a French Notaire (Notary). The notaire (notary) is a legal specialist who is responsible for creating authenticated contracts on behalf of his clients. He is not paid by the state but he is obliged to follow the rules of French property law. The notary is in fact self employed and receives his income from the billing of his services to clients.

In general,

The French notary is responsible for making sure the proceedings are performed according to French Property law and for securing every step of the process of sale of immovable property.


The French notary is responsible for creating and signing the preliminary contract of sale and the final deed of sale.


The French notary is responsible for locating and checking all documents for their authenticity including but not limited to checking pre-emption rights relating to the property.


The French notary is also responsible for calculating and collecting specific taxes related to a real estate property transaction in France including but not limited to the calculation, collection and payment of capital gains tax on a property. The notary is responsible to collect tax money from you from the proceeds of the sale and pay the tax authorities for you.


The notary is responsible for checking dozens of legal and tax points during the creation of the contract of sale of property.


All property transactions are reviewed by a French notary even if you have an agent immobilier write the Compromis de Vente.


Your French notary will ask for the parties to the contract to prove their identities and marital status.



In addition, the notary will check the vender’s title, the property’s mortgage status, the presence of agreed on easements, local town planning regulations and pre-emption rights and more.



French notaries are responsible for having legal knowledge and awareness of any amendments to legislation so they can effectively prepare the preliminary contract of purchase and sale (compromis de vente).



French notaries are also responsible for recording the legal status of a property at the land registry. This is to keep record of the rights of owners and the presence of any mortgage on the property. Only French notaries have access to these files at the land registry.



The French notary keeps the title deeds to your property for 100 years in his office and then it is stored in the national records office.

Date of Article September 2013

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