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Estate Agents Cannes

Magic View is a licensed French real estate agency, specialising in Cannes and its surrounding areas both for sale and for short term rental.

Buying property in the French Riviera

Once a property has been chosen and a price has been agreed upon, a written agreement must be concluded as soon as possible. The two most common forms of legally binding documents are a purchase agreement (Compromis de vente) and a purchase offer ( Offre d'achat ). These documents are normally in a pre-printed format and are usually completed together. The documents define the terms of the sale, and indicate any suspensive clauses or other conditions of sale.

The purchaser’s copy will be mailed to him by recorded delivery, after which he has seven working days to decide whether he will purchase or not and inform the owner of his decision.

The deposit is usually 10% of the purchase price, if after the seven days of reflection the purchaser changes his mind and decides not to buy, the deposit is forfeited. The deposit will be returned should any suspensive clause not be realized (examples: not obtaining a loan or building permission for a pool). The agreement may also state that should the owner change his mind he will have to pay a penalty to the purchaser (you) that is typically to an extent equivalent to the deposit.

Once a written agreement has been signed by both parties, a deposit paid and seven working days have elapsed the contract is now legally binding. From this point on, the matter will be handled by a notary. It is very important to understand that the notary does not act on your behalf nor does he represent your interests. This is because the notary is, by law, a servant of the State and is mainly responsible for seeing that property transactions and title change are properly concluded.

The notary will:

  • Hold the deposit in an escrow account (which cannot accumulate interest or be touched without your consent) and will be deducted from the amount due upon completion.
  • Be responsible for the search concluded on the property, to ensure that there are no planned constructions which would devalue or spoil the property.
  • Establish the title to sell, and ensure that there are no financial liens on the property.
  • Establish whether a syndique on an estate is owed money or has decided on any major works on the property.
  • Examine compliance with all the measurements, zone rule and anti-parasite rules.
  • At this stage should any of the searches present something important the purchaser will have valid reason to withdraw from his acquisition, the deposit will be returned and the contract voided.

Important Notes

French law is not the same as in your native land. The Napoleonic legal code has some draconian elements. Chief among these are:

  • The issue of compulsory distribution of inheritances which can over-ride a will.
  • The level of French inheritance taxes.

We strongly advise that you discuss your personal objectives and situation with tax and legal specialists. We are able to make the appropriate introductions to English speaking professionals in the Cannes area of the French Riviera.


Loans are generally on better terms in France. Magic View will happily introduce you to reputable banks and financial organisations that will be able to provide you with the details of their interest rates and conditions.

It is usual to obtain a loan of up to 70% of the purchase price. You may be asked for tax returns, justification of revenue and to have a health check.

When the loan is granted, and the finance contract signed, there is a period of ten days of reflection where in you are allowed to change your mind. It is important to realise that you cannot sign the Acte Authentique (final sale document) until after this ten day period.

Should you decide to purchase with a loan there will be a charge levied pro-rata by the notary for the dossier and provision should be made for this.