Trying to navigate a sale transaction for my house. Mille mercis for any help!


Here's my current nightmare... Signed a compromis de vente early October, with a generous deadline for the buyers to get their loan (or not) of Dec 15th. That came and went with nothing except - all is fine, don't worry. I asked about whether or not the sale was now "caduc" as I'd had other (American and cash) buyers extremely interested just after I signed the compromis. They, however have now moved on. Couldn't get a straight answer on the caduc question from anyone. "Techniquement oui, mais...." Was told to let the hols go by.

Mid January, same story but finally the notaire called the buyers' bank. They hadn't applied till Nov 28th, and not then having the necessary 3 months of in-credit bank statements the bank now needs the one from January plus an extension to the compromis in order to review the dossier and give an answer by mid February.

The buyers put down a 20K deposit and otherwise need a 100% loan. I am not at all confident they will get it. The notaire (same for all parties) seems to think I am not due the deposit unless I feel like fighting for it in court. He wants to give the buyers the extension. I don't know what to do and feel very sick at having most probably lost all this time, other buyers, had enormous stress and worry over it, for nothing. Since signing the compromis I haven't seen any paperwork at all. I've been told me to demand written proof of the application submission, the elements demanded by the bank, etc. before I sign anything else. I did that today but won't be surprised if the notaire refuses to comply.

I expect I'm not (unfortunately) the only one who's been through this kind of thing. Any advice would be extremely welcome. Merci d'avance...

No, but the point you are missing is - maybe the delay isn't the fault of a notaire or bank or finance company or whoever. The whole process can and does quite often drag because that is the nature of the thing. Why should anyone be at fault ? It doesn't make it right of course but that's how it is. The notaire is quite entitled to wait until all documents have been received and all the formalities completed. The 'date limite' is just a guideline because loans can take longer than the previously agreed date. I'm not sticking up for notaires, just saying how it used to be when I worked in immobilier. Of course, things may have changed ?

This is not to say of course that the notaire or bank is incompetant and you are being given the run around - how can anyone else say if they don't know the details of the dossier ?

When we sold our house in UK before moving to Burgundy, we had the same thing, our buyers lied to both our solicitor and the estate agent, saying that they had both signed the contract when, in fact, only one of them had done so and took an extra week.

They then asked to come and measure up for curtains and I refused saying that they had lied to me and I did not want them in my house!


I nearly regret buying here, but that deal went as smooth as possible - we were cash buyers, and all went well - so sometimes it does work here :-)

Yep, renting sounds like a plan, If I ever have to move again.

Deborah, Chris,

I second that - keep the pressure on the Notaire - keep ringing their office for 'updates' . Unfortunately, it's very difficult not to stress about this, but decide either way, and if you decide to hold out until mid Feb, then let it go until then - give yourself a week off, and then start the phone calls.

It could well be worry over nothing, as you say - often is the case, and it all pans out OK in the end - but you will never learn the full story - so don't even try - just go with your gut. Our first sale agreed in Ireland was similar - and buyer lied through their teeth about bank etc - bottom line was they never got finance and were never going to - we found out after 6 months, and finally dumped her - and lost a year on that house. Our own solicitor didn't know what was going on either, it was a mess.

So we were terrified with the second agreed sale, and it was problems after problems - and THEY were cash buyers!!! No bank issues! But it all panned out in the finish and happy endings all round.

Hang in there, everyone is on edge during this process - the buyers as much as the seller - but you don't know their circumstances, so be careful about making assumptions.

Sorry you're having these problems. What it comes down to is knowing what you want and having it put in trhe Compromis at outset. I noticed when we bought our house that there was a condition that if we were applying for a loan, we had to have an offer of finance within one month of signing the compromis, otherwise the vendors could withdraw and we got our deposit back. If you haven't got any such clause, it is down to the Notaire to decide what a "reasonable delay" might be. You'll have to put pressure on him.

This may get you on to it - no very good at this...

have a good moan...

It's in the notaire's interests to get the deal signed up so he/she can get paid. They have overheads like any other company so he will want to be paid for services rendered. Why would a notaire stall ? Unless things have changed since the '90s the time limit on obtaining a loan or indeed, fulfilling any of the other suspensive conditions can be delayed if documents or whatever are preventing the deal being completed. What you're going through isn't unusual so just show patience and let it run it's course.

Just my opinion of course.

When we bought our first house my OH insisted on using our own notaire rather than the one the seller had chosen as our guy had someone in the office that spoke English. One (perhaps the only ?) good thing about the French system is that if 2 notaires are involved, they split the fee and it doesn't cost you any more.

The house I am selling is about 90m2 and the buyers will be charged about €9k in notaire fees. One sticking point is that I pointed out whilst going through the compromis that 1 room (approx5.5m2) actually pokes into the house behind mine, this brought the process to a halt whilst Barsteward in Chief decided best way to sort this out. This has delayed things by at least 3 months and he is charging me €4k for drawing up the paperwork !

Where is this Grumpy Gits forum ?

I hope you've signed up to the Grumpy old Gits forum Steve !

Some notaires are indeed 'smug self serving money grabbing barstewards' and some are downright dishonest whilst some are honest guys trying to make a living.

Notaires are basically government tax collectors who keep a tasty wedge for themselves !

I didn't think there was a 'deadline' for the loan to go through ? The whole process can, and often does go on for ages with papers or whatever required to complete the dossier. What you're going through isn't abnormal however annoying it may be. The last property I sold overran by about six weeks because of paperwork & document problems at the buyers bank.

Ride it out and wait and see what happens in mid-february.

I am in the process of selling a house and just checked the compromis de vente. One of the 'clauses suspentives" was that the buyers had 1 month to prove they had applied for a loan, it was down to me to request by registered letter proof that they had applied and if they didn't provide this within 8 days, the deal was off and I keep the deposit. I remembered the 1 month but hadn't realised I would have had to chase by registered letter. Is it the same in your case ?

Please don't get me started on notaires, I think they are just a bunch of smug self serving money grabbing barstewards that have had things their way for too long and serve no useful purpose. I have to restrain myself from tearing down the "Save your local Notaire" posters that are plastered over the walls of the waiting room where I sit waiting 30 mins past the time set for the appointment.

Hi Deborah,
I feel your pain. I’ve been through similar last year but in Ireland. So your experience is not just french.
I do know the Notaire has certain legal obligations. I also know, having bought here in france, sometimes it feels like you’re not part of the transaction at all. We had more contact from the notaire than the seller did, and I think this may be normal.
However, that doesn’t help you with the loan application. I feel you have no claim on the deposit, unfortunately, until they have finance in place, and then drop out of the contract, they are still in the game. A deposit is not there for your benefit, unless they pull out at a later stage.
You have a choice. Stick it out or pull out and start again. Either one is painful, it depends on your own needs.
Sorry I cannot relieve your pain, but these things have a nasty habit of dragging out way beyond any deadlines.
Bon courage and hope you get closure soon.