Welcome to Marie-Anne's estate agencies

Our 3 estate agencies are situated in Northern France, all were created and are managed by Marie-Anne Helman. They are located in Saint-Omer, Lumbres, in the department of Pas-de-Calais, and in Watten, in the department of Nord.

All are located about 30 minutes from the Tunnel exit and specialized in rural and urban residential estate.

Please feel free to visit our site to discover some unique investment opportunities in France and take a moment to call or visit either of our agencies for more information.


In France, any property transaction must be drawn-up as a deed. To begin with, each buyer freely searches for the property they want to buy. Once the requested property is found, they sign a provisional sales agreement with the seller, also called the Preliminary Contract, which sets the transaction terms and conditions. A few weeks later, this contract becomes final upon the solicitor's signature, which authenticates it.

Upon the signing of the Preliminary Contract, the buyer will be required to pay a deposit of generally 10% of the purchase amount. The buyer will get this deposit back upon the signing of the final agreement at the solicitor's. This amount is payable by cheque or bank transfer to the holding account of the estate agency. The buyer will receive the corresponding receipt.

It must be remembered that once a preliminary sales contract is signed, the buyer will benefit from a full seven day cooling-off period starting from the day of the signing or after the first registered mail delivery of the original copy to their home. As of that date, the contract is no longer changeable except in the case of a standard Condition Precedent.

For all these reasons, it is highly recommended that an estate agent who is a real market expert should assist buyers who do not reside in France. The real estate business is strictly regulated by a 1970 law (Hoguet law) modified in January 2006. It requires estate agents to be holders of an official card; fees must be displayed in the window of the agency; and they must also hold civil liability contract and financial guarantee insurance. FNAIM (National Federation of Estate Agents) affiliation is a must.

The fees of estate agents are freely set, and are generally defined as a percentage of the sum realised by the seller.


Preliminary Sales Contracts - there are two sorts:


The sales contract is the last stage of the sales process. It fully commits the seller and the buyer: the former to transfer the property ownership to the buyer and the latter to pay the agreed selling price to the seller. If no preliminary sales contract has been signed, the solicitor must grant the buyer a 7 day retraction period and must therefore send him the projected contract. The solicitor makes the reiteration of the deed. Normally the seller's solicitor takes care of it, but he can be assisted by the buyer's solicitor.

The other costs related to the sale (the formality fees and the duties and taxes paid to the Treasury) entirely devolve to the buyer.

Once the sales contract is signed, both parties are bound. The buyer is now the owner and he then receives the keys of his new house as well as an ownership certificate. The bill of sale must then be sent to the mortgage registry within the next 6 to 12 months for publication.


Fallen in love with a house or a flat? But does its price square with your budget? Before committing for good, a buyer must check the following documents:


Notarial Sales Deed: documents signed before a solicitor (NB. The final sales contract has to be sign before a solicitor).

Preliminary Sales Contract: document signed between the seller and the buyer before signing the final sales agreement.

Receiver's account: bank account to which buyers deposits are transferred. All real estate agencies have to possess a holding account. The deposit must be untouched until the final sales agreement.

Conditions precedent: mentioned in the preliminary sales contract, they can nullify the sale, if any of them occurs. The most common is related to the mortgage: if the buyer does not get the mortgage he needs for his purchase, the sales can be cancelled, in which case he would recoup his deposit.

Solicitor: The solicitor is a member of the legal profession entrusted by the French Republic to authenticate deeds, thus bringing more security to both signatories. It is also thanks to them that the French system for real estate transactions is noted to be one of the most secure in the world.

A bientôt in France?