St. Martin Real Estate Closing Procedure

Regulations require that St. Martin real estate closing procedure in St/ Martin be administered by or through a ‘notaire’ (similar to a solicitor). But, the notaire is acts on behalf of government authorities and is not hired to represent or to work for the buyer or seller. The main duty of the notaire is to ascertain that rules and regulations for St. Martin real estate closing procedures are adhered to and legal. What this mean, however, is that a second notaire or legal practitioner does not necessarily have to be hired by the buyer since all relevant advice will be provided and it will be ensured that standards are met. But, for further clarification and a stronger sense of security another legal professional can be hired.

Due to the role and existence of the notaire system, persons interested in acquiring property in St. Martin are thus required to seek this service once an agreement of purchase has been negotiated and reached between the interested parties – the buyer and the seller. The initial agreement reached is drawn up in a contract which is known as the ‘Sous-seing privé’ or ‘Compromis de Vente’ in St. Martin, and once issued, the buyer is required to deposit at least 10% of the purchase price of the property into an escrow account through the services of the notaire until all legal procedures and the sale have been finalized. Once this St. Martin real estate closing procedure is deemed complete, the property is officially removed from the real estate market.

Caution must always be exercised before fully committing to closing real estate in St. Martin and signing any type of contract without being sure that the property is capable of producing the desired results or possesses the value that it is said to have. Further, private investigations should be made before paying out any major sum of money to avoid any form of loss either financially or in terms of losing out on another or better St. Martin real estate deal.

Contrary to the Compromis de Vente or the Sous-seing priver, a Prmoesse de Vente which does not legally bind neither the buyer nor the seller can be drawn up. In this way, the seller of the St. Martin real estate is able to keep his options open and negotiate with other bidders for the property, while the potential buyer may in the meantime look at other options or change his mind on acquiring the property. However, a mutual agreement is usually taken to not have the property sold within three months following the signing of the Compromis; in a sense putting it up ‘on hold’ and in exchange for which the potential buyer makes a deposit which may range anywhere between 5 and 10 percent of the purchase price. An agreement may be reached to either have the deposit forfeited if the property is not purchased after the three month ‘grace’ period or to have it refunded, depending on the understanding between the parties involved.

To protect and supervise the sale of agricultural property, large portions of land in excess of 2.47 acres are usually reviewed from time to time by SAFER (Société d’Amenagement Foncier et d’Etablissement Rural). The ‘notaire’ is required to inform the SAFER of such St. Martin real estate closing. Any decision taken by the SAFER contrary to any prior agreement would overrule the grounds on which the agreement was made for selling the property or the agreement could be deemed null and void according to SAFER’s ruling. In such a case, the buyer has the right to be refunded any deposits made towards the sale of the property.

To finalize the entire real estate closing procedure in St. Martin, the remaining amount (90% after 10% deposit) for the property must be paid to be notaire, along with legal and registrations fees and taxes, a copy of the buyer’s birth certificate and marriage certificate (where applicable) in French (translated form English or any other language), as well as proof of insurance which the buyer is expected to cover/have from the moment any contract is signed. Fees for registration and legal services are usually calculated at about 7.5% of the price at which the property was bought.

Surveying services for St. Martin real estate closing procedure are usually provided by local surveyors, while all other matters like funding and succession should be discussed if as a non French citizen very little is known about financing and succession law of the French. Ensuring that funding, through or mortgage for example, is fully available and a clear understanding of how property acquired in a French territory before signing a ‘Sous-seing privé’ or ‘Compromis de Vente’ will avoid confusion or discontentment with the endeavor.

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