Acte authentique (acte de vente

The final and definitive document whereby the buyer becomes the owner. It must be signed by the buyer and by the seller, in the presence of a notaire.

Agence de location

A rental agency with whom you can contract to manage the long term or short term rental of your property.

Agence immobilière

A real estate agency, however its role is different in France. France has no Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and the amount of buyers greatly outnumbers the number of sellers. These agencies therefore see their client as the seller, not the buyer.


The 20 administrative divisions of Paris. Starting at the center of the city, the spiral outward in a clockwise pattern, giving Paris the nickname ‘escargot’.


The suburbs of Paris, beyond the périphérique. They are easily accessible by public transportation.

Chasseur immobilier

A buyer’s agent, such as Flat Hunter, whose client is the buyer and whose service is to help find the perfect property. The service is necessary given the difficulty of a real estate search in the Paris market, particularly for internationals.

Compromis de vente

The initial contract of sale, it is a reciprocal binding agreement between the buyer and the seller which fixes the terms and price of purchase. It is followed by a seven day cooling off period, after which you cannot withdraw from the contract, unless a let-out condition is fulfilled or a right of pre-emption is exercised. There are penalties for breaking the contract in any other way.


The service or person that is the caretaker of a property, often living in the building itself.

Conditions suspensives

The various let-out clauses attached to a compromis de vente. It is a safety net which usually covers planning, charges, mortgages, easements or other encumbrances on the property.

Expert comptable

The equivalent of a Chartered Accountant or CPA, this professional is specially trained and authorized to deal with accounting and tax issues.

Expert foncier

The specially authorized professional who inspects living spaces and gives official measurements of habitable space.


The most recognizable style of architecture found around Paris, introduced by Baron Haussmann in the late 19th century. Its features are stone facades, shingled roofs, and balconies.


A town hall, each of Paris’ 20 arrondissements has one which provides official information and keeps numerous records.


Specially trained in law, this highly qualified professional provides counsel to clients and has the authority to legalize and authenticate certain transactions. The notaire is a central figure in real estate transactions.


The highly trafficked ring road that circles Paris, effectively limiting the city’ s area to its 20 arrondissements.

Promesse de vente

More commonly used in Paris, it is another form of the compromise de vente. As a preliminary contract for the transaction it may be binding only on the buyer.

SCI - Société Civile Immobilière

It is a common method of buying property in France. Essentially an incorporated company with a registered office in France, usually the property itself, it is owned by the company’ s shareholders, usually the family members. It allows for advantages in inheritance, tax liability, and other areas.

Surface habitable

The official measurement of living space in a home, regulated by law and measured by an expert foncier.

Taxe d’habitation

Levied from the occupant of a residential property, who may be the owner, a tenant, or a free occupant. It is also based on the notional rental value.

Taxe foncière

Levied from the owner of a residential property, it is based on the valeur locative cadasrale, or notional rental value, if the property were to be left on the open market. It is, however, often substantially lower than the market rental value.

TVA- Taxe sur Valeur Ajoutée

Value Added Tax (VAT). It is the tax levied on most goods and services at varying rates.