An investment in Real Estate, especially on the French Riviera, is historically and in terms of profitability, very attractive: better value and good return on investment.
This increase of value is even higher in the prestigious areas appreciated by foreigners: around Monaco, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu sur mer, Villefranche sur mer and the residential areas in Nice. It is important to point out that there is not any restriction for investments in France by a non-resident.
The Notary’s assistance is crucial to allow a safe transfer of ownership and also for the client’s guidance: to determine the most adapted structure to purchase a property and the capacity to understand different cultures and psychological aspects.
A Notary and a Lawyer with such understanding will bring that “plus” making the transaction more secure for the client.
1. The role of the French notary
It is useful to precise that the French Notary is a Public Officer and therefore the only person authorized to set up sales transactions, mortgage and gifts. He is both a highly competent legal adviser and a solicitor who can legalize transactions and its related documents, however his mission do not include litigations: he rather work to avoid them.
His mission consists in verifying that the sold property exists and is free of mortgage. He makes sure that the seller and the buyer have the capacity to buy or sell and he controls the good origin of funds.
2. Patrimonial advice
Considering his experience with foreign clients the chosen Notary will make sure that specific matters linked to the legal and fiscal system in the client’s country of origin (UK, USA, Russia, Middle East countries…) are taken into consideration, including marriage and succession issues.
This approach will allow an optimization in choosing the way of acquisition: simplification with a purchase in the client’s own name or if needed through a company. Tax issues will be studied during the period of detention and at the time of reselling (private or corporate capital gains). Solutions allowing a reduction of the wealth tax through bank loans in connection with the property and for the optimization of transmission will be explored.
Decisions will be taken considering the client’s needs: short term profits or long term patrimonial approach in view of rental revenues and future transmission.
The patrimonial planning will be discussed with the possibility to establish a will or a gift and also the opportunity to use the French Laws allowing for instance the parents to keep the right of use of the property while the ownership is given to the children. As it is shown, it is wise to prepare a real estate investment in France by a discussion with a competent Notary offering a personalized approach, aking in consideration the future patrimonial transmission in the context of applicable French and foreign laws and tax regulations, in order to determine the appropriate strategy.