Buying real estate : what will you save with lower notary fees?

Every month, the experts of the “Grand rendez-vous de l’épargne” (Capital/Radio patrimoine) answer your questions. In this video, Nathalie Couzigou-Suhas, a notary in Paris, explains the real impact of the decrease in notaries’ fees on a property purchase.

If you were hoping to hit the jackpot with the announced reduction in notary fees, you will be disappointed, as the 2% reduction in the regulated rates of the adjudicators, initially planned for 1 May 2020, is much more limited than expected by private individuals, especially property buyers.Nathalie Couzigou-Suhas, a notary in Paris, is in charge of answering this question.

For our expert, it is above all necessary to cut short a preconceived idea: the notary’s fees do not correspond to the fees they actually receive on a property sale. “The notary is an independent professional but, as he is a public officer, his remuneration is fixed by the State,” explains Nathalie Couzigou-Suhas. What is often wrongly called the notary’s fees are essentially made up of fiscal taxes which go directly to the public treasury”. And our expert continues: “For an ordinary sale of an apartment, the notary’s fees will be around 7%, the main part being a tax that goes to the State, the territory, the department and the municipality. In these 7%, the amount of the notary’s remuneration is less than 1%.”

A reduction in these fees, which are limited to about 0.8% of the total transaction price, cannot logically be a source of substantial savings for our reader.Maître Couzigou-Suhas thus gives the example of a sale of a 200,000 euro apartment.”This 2% reduction in the notary’s fee will mean a drop of around 30 euros,” she says. Enough to buy a small bottle of champagne to celebrate, but nothing more. “It’s false good news. In terms of what the buyer pays, it’s a relatively negligible reduction.”

Another important clarification is that although the decree of 28 February last provided for a reduction in the remuneration of notaries on 1 May, the reduction will not finally take effect until 1 January 2021 after the government decided to postpone the measure following the Covid-19 pandemic. In other words, purchasers who thought they were getting a nice rebate are getting it for their money.

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