How to buy property in Provence

Why Provence?

Provence. The name itself resonates the sound of crickets in your ears! Provence is the land of lavender, the cradle of crickets and the theatre of breath-taking sunsets. In winter Provence retains a Mediterranean climate and the thermometer rarely goes lower than 10 degrees. It is the time of olive pressing, to make the worldwide known oil. In summer, it is an explosion of colours and flavours, between the fields of lavender, the tapenade to be enjoyed at any time, good, local wines, and the sun that warms the skin.

Property prices in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur:

Price estimations MeilleursAgents (March 1, 2018). Prices expressed in net selling price.

If you would like to acquire a property in Provence, the first step is to determine what type of property:

  • If you are looking for a spacious house, in jewelled colours, where the nearest neighbour is one kilometre from you, make a date at Lubéron. The authentic charm of the stone houses, often complemented with a swimming pool, and fields surrounding your property. However, the picture postcard has a price and if you choose an upscale village like Gordes, the price per square metre can soar. Favour the less well-known villages like Pernes les Fontaines, Mallemort du Comtat nested at the foot of Mont Ventoux.
  • If you prefer the sea, go to the Côte d’Azur, (yes, it is part of Provence!). Relaxing in the wintertime, but very busy in the summer time, favour the hills like Cagnes sur Mer for the view.
  • Families favour the large towns like Avignon, Marseille or Nice but it is unusual to find large houses. Do not hesitate to look at the suburbs, like St Rémy de Provence, Orange or Digne les Bains.

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The process of buying

Acquiring a real estate property in Provence to a foreigner can seem to be insurmountable. However, a lot of second homes in the Vaucluse and in the Var belong to foreigners, (particularly to the British). French law does not make any distinction regarding nationality in the area of property purchase. It is the principal of free investment that allows foreigners to invest in French property.

Firstly, you must make a purchase offer. That is, in writing, to the seller, stipulating the price at which you would like to acquire the property. If the seller accepts your offer, you must wait seven days. It is the law. These seven days are a cooling-off period, in case you change your mind. After this time, you can no longer go back on your word. It is the same for the seller.

After this time, you will have the first meeting with a notary. During the first meeting you and the seller will sign a deed of sale and you must pay the notary costs as well as 10% of the price of the real estate property. Once the agreement has been signed, you must wait a minimum of three months.

The delay allows you to obtain a prospective mortgage loan, insurance for the property as well as potential signatures from the mayor of the municipality, (a lot of properties are graded, particularly in historical town centres).

Thereafter comes the pleasure, that is the property simply belongs to you. Well, of course you still have to pay what you owe for it! The meeting can be quite time-consuming, since the notary reviews the deed of sale before the seller and yourself, and yourself and the seller must initial each page of the deed.

Welcome to Provence! Or as one says locally Bèn-vengudo!