A-Z of Useful Terms and Words for French Property Buyers

A to Z of Words & Terms


Abonnement
 - The standing charge for supplying a utility/subscription.
Achèvement des Fondations - Foundations laid for a new property.
Achèvement des Travaux - Works completed on a new building.
Acte Authentique - The final contract, completion contract.
Acte de Vente - Another term used for the final contract, completion contract.
Agent Immobilier – An estate agent / realtor with full traing and carte professionelle
Agent Commercial – An independent agent working for an agency
Amiante – Asbestos
Assurance HabitationHome content insurance, this is compulsory on completion date
Attestation - Confirmation that a transaction has taken place/certificate.
Bon de Visite - A form signed by the person viewing a property to confirm that they have visited it with an agent.
Bon pour Achat - Form stating your intention to buy a property.
Bureau de Change - Where you can convert your currency into euros.
Carte de Séjour - French resident permit (not required for EU nationals.)
Carte Professionnelle - A licence to work within a profession that is regulated e.g. French estate agents.
Certificat d’Urbanisme - Permission for change of use of a property or outbuildings
Clause Suspensive - A condition which a contract is subject to; unless and until this is satisfied in the contract is irrevocable.
Compromis de Vente - The first contract of reservation on a property.
Co-propriétaires - The co-owners who are freeholders in a complex or block of apartments and make up a tenants’ association.
Co-propriété - A residence, complex or building which is split up into separate and physically distinct apartments. A co-ownership.
Courtier d'Assurance - Insurance broker and services, learn more here
Delai de Rétractation - the cooling off period is 10 days from the date the compromis de vente was signed
Dépôt de Garantie
 - A deposit.
Droit de Pré-emption - Right to pre-empt, i.e. of the authorities to purchase a property in priority to the proposed purchaser.
Etat Civil - Personal information provided by the buyer of a property for inclusion within the compromis.
Facture - A bill, e.g. a utility bill or an invoice
FAI - means 'frais d'agence inclus' = including the estate agency fees
Fosse Septique - Septic tank
Frais de Notaires - Legal purchase fees paid to the Notaire, they include the stamp duty. You can estimate these here
HT or Hors taxes - Tax not included.
Lu et Approuvé - Read and approved.
Mairie - The town hall - in small towns.
Maison de Tourisme - A tourist office.
Notaire - Legally qualified person and government representative; the only person empowered to convey property in France and collect taxes on conveyed properties.
Permis de Construire - building permit, learn more here
Plan Cadastral
- A map showing the land and boundaries
Plan de Masse
 - A plan of the building site.
Plomb
- Lead
Préfecture - The headquarters of the administration, found in the main town of each département. Details like ID cards, driving licences and passports.
Prêt Immobilier -French mortgage / loan, learn more here.
Procuration - Power of attorney or proxy.
Remise des Clés - Handing over the keys of an off-plan property.
RIB / Relevé d'Identité Bancaire - Document showing your bank details
SAFER - Means the "land development and rural establishment society" designed to protect and control land in rural areas.
Société Civile Immobilière (SCI) - A French property holding company in whose name a property may be purchased.
SPANC - Service Public d’Assainissement Non Collectif) - report that states if the septic tank meets the environmental standards
Taxe Foncière
 - Land or property tax payable by owner.
Taxe d’Habitation - Tax on a residential dwelling payable by the occupier. This is means tested.
Tontine Clause - Purchase option on inhertiance to avoid forced heirship to French property.
Tout a l'Egout - Connected to local sewage system
TTC or Toutes Taxes Comprises - Tax Included.
TVA - French equivalent of VAT (Value Added Tax). The standard rate of tax is currently 20%.
Vente aux Encheres - Sold by a auction house
Zone Innondable - Flood plaine / risk area


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