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The advantages of new build French property: peace of mind

A secure and regulated purchase procedure

Buying a new build property from a French developer is the most secure and regulated procedure under French law and it is is very protective of the buyer. Off plan buying (in French VEFA, “Vente en l’Etat Futur d’Achèvement”) obeys stringent rules. You can be sure that what you sign for is what you will get in the end.

Included in the reservation contract comes a plan of the property you are buying as well as a 3-4 pages document called “descriptif sommaire” detailing the specifications of the property. These documents are legally binding for the developer.

Financial guarantee of completion

Buying off plan is associated with other legal guarantees which are registered in the Deed of sale. As you are buying something that doesn’t exist yet, you might be worried that it does not reach completion. This is taken care of by the financial guarantee of completion (“Garantie Financière d’Achèvement”).

It consists in a compulsory guarantee for every property development, generally subscribed with a bank, ensuring that the building will be completed or that you get paid back, should the developer happen to fail. This very important guarantee has to be checked by the notary.

Also stated in the Deed of sale are the price of your future french property and a delivery date, if possible by the month, more often by the quarter.

3 other guarantees

The guarantee of perfect or faultless completion (“garantie de parfait achèvement”) is a one-year guarantee that covers any disorder that might occur during one year after the property delivery.

The 2-year guarantee or guarantee of proper functioning (“garantie biennale ou garantie de bon fonctionnement”) is a fixtures and fittings warranty that ensures the proper working of equipments inside your home (eg: heating, window frames…) after the delivery.

The third guarantee (“la garantie décennale”) is a 10-year structural warranty covering all construction faults undermining the solidity of the building or anything that would render it unsuitable for habitation.

Supervision of a notaire

As in any property transaction in France, buying off plan is done under the supervision of a notary ("notaire"). "Notaires" represent the French government. Their main role is to be a neutral party acting for both the seller and the buyer and ensuring that the transaction is made by the rules. The "notaire" checks the documents to ensure that all the regulations have been respected and draws the deed of sale (“acte authentique”).

A ready-to-move-in-property

Peace of mind also comes from the total absence of hassle usually associated with renovation works: finding adequate builders, plumbers, carpenters etc… communicating with them, overseeing renovation works remotely… if it’s not packing your own toolbox for some DIY.

When buying new build you choose a ready-to-move-in accommodation which you can enjoy from the very first day you move in. You also know the definitive price of your investment whereas renovation might reveal itself more costly than expected.

Experience shows that  buyers of a French resale property often underestimate the amount of time, work and money necessary for a renovation, and many buyers end up reselling a half completed property after years of hassle and frustration.

New build French property leaves very little room for uncertainty

To sum it up new build French property sale is a very regulated type of sale. The quality of the results is also guaranted thanks to a wide range of post-delivery guarantees, which is safer in a way than for resale property and much easier to leverage if any disorder occurs. To be honest the only field where the buying procedure is not 100% safe is the respect of time line. Although the deed of sales states a date of delivery, there are get out clause for the developer in case the works be delayed by bad wheather conditions, by unexpected building site characteristics or the failure of a sub-contractor. This ‘hole’ in consumer safety is for us to try to manage at best. This is why a former experience in property development is important and helps us select between developers and projects.
Furthermore, if you compare new build French property with resale French property one might be confronted with such time issues. Normally the conveyancing of a French resale property can de completed in 3 months. But one can’t be sure in advance because some sales are more complicated to manage by the notaire than others and therefore request more time.