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The Notaire – The Role of the French Notary

Par JLPC (Travail personnel) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Notaire

When buying property in France you will have to deal with a notaire. So who are they and what is their role?

The notaires are appointed by the Minister of Justice. They engage in a variety of legal activities such as contract drafting and legal advising especially in property, company and family law.



The Role of the Notaire

Under the terms of Article 1 of the Order dated 2 November 1945 regarding the status of French notaire :

« Notaires are public officers authorised to record any instrument or contract the parties to which are obliged, or may wish, to invest with the type of authenticity associated with public authority instruments« .

A notaire is self-employed. His role is to advise and inform his clients on their legal affairs. He also draw up contracts and receive his clients consent by witnessing their wishes and affixing his legal seal and signature.

The Notaire in Property Transactions

During a property sale, the notaire is a neutral person that oversees the legal process. He makes sure all the proceedings comply with French property law. In addition, he checks all of the contracts to ensure their authenticity. He doesn’t represent the seller or the buyer.

The seller and the buyer can each appoint a different notaire. The cost will remain the same as they will share the fees. But the buyer and seller can work with the same notaire. This will generally make the administrative work go more quickly.

After the notaire carries out all of his research concerning the property sale and everything is cleared, he will set a signature date.


The State regulates the notaire’s fees and the cost varies according to the property’s price and location. There are additional fees if the buyer takes out a mortgage and the value added tax (TVA) is added to the total amount of the fees.




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