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Philip Hawkes is an Oxford educated Solicitor who worked for Thomas Eggar, an English law firm in Chichester before coming to France in 1966, where he was the representative in Paris of several English firms of Solicitors with business interests on the Continent.  He then became a full-time Estate Agent (Agent Immobilier), and so can lead a purchaser through the legal intricacies (excepting tax matters) of buying property in France without the need to instruct any lawyer other than the 'Notaire'.


In every case where property changes hands in France, there is an obligation to use the services of a 'Notaire' as he is the person who holds the Title Deeds and is responsible for their authenticity.  He is paid on a small percentage of the sale price by the Purchaser and can act for both the Buyer and the Seller.


The 'Loi Hoguet ' is the French law by which French estate agency businesses are governed ;  under this law, it is imperative that a Mandate exists between the Agent and either the Purchaser or the Vendor.  Normally the Agent, as an intermediary, takes instructions from the Vendors, either as the sole agency, a 'Mandat Exclusif de Recherche d'un Acheteur', or with a 'Mandat de Recherche d'un Acheteur', which is not exclusive.  We can provide you with examples of these documents on request.


Prospective Purchasers can also, however, give instructions to an Agent to search for a property according to their specific criteria. This document, known as a 'Mandat de Recherche d'un Bien', is drawn up between the two parties, and gives authorisation to the Agent to prospect for a suitable property on behalf of the Purchaser, and, if the Purchaser buys it, the Agent receives his Commission as set out in the Mandate.


Mandates must contain the following information:


  • Name and Address of each of the Vendors, including that of the spouse (if it is the marital home), even if he/she is not an owner.

  • Name and Address of the Agent, and details of his 'Carte Professionale' and his professional guarantee.

  • Address and description of the property being proposed for sale / Description of the property being sought.

  • The terms of the Mandate ; rate of commission and mention of  V.A.T.

  • Signatures of the Vendor/s and the Agent, and the appropriate date, as well as the duration of the instructions.

  • Registered Number of the Mandate in the Agent's 'Registre des Mandats'.




An 'Indivision' is unfortunately a type of problem that is peculiar to France.  

It often happens that several brothers and sisters, and sometimes cousins as well, will have inherited a part ownership of the Château (or other property) as, when Parents (or Grandparents) die. In this case, each child gets a 'reserved' share of the property, and it is only when they wish to bring the 'indivision' to an end and they cannot arrange a or any takeovers between themselves, that it is put on the market.  Therefore, when a property 'en indivision' is put on the market, each individual who has a share in the property, or his representative, has an obligation to sign the Mandate.


Philip Hawkes Agency, Paris
+ 33 6 80 40 65 99 - + 33 1 42 68 11 11

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