How to buy a property in Monaco

 July 27, 2017




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With its exceptional real-estate market the Principality of Monaco attracts millionaires to invest into Monaco based properties. Based on the success of our previous articles called “Understanding Monaco: Exceptional as you are” we decided to dive into the secrets of the Principality with the help of Monaco’s dynamic real-estate agency, Monte-Carlo Estates.

To buy an apartment in the Principality of Monaco often requires a guided decision therefore we requested Monte-Carlo Estates to guid our readers through the most important steps and good-to-know practices when someone aims to purchase a property.

“One of the most important step is to find a client oriented real-estate partner instead of a transaction oriented one.” – says Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

Why is this important? Because for instance Monaco is in a rapid development. Thinking about the new land extension project nobody wants to purchase an apartment which will be overshadow by another one in the next two years.

A transaction driven real-estate agency may forget to tell you that from the next year on there will be a construction next door, which will bring uncomfortable noises, it destroys the view and also it will decrease the future value of the property. And as for any investor an investment is only good if it can maintain its value.

“By working with a good partner you can easily identify and estimate the current and future market value of your targeted property.” – says Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

A good real-estate partner really represents you and it is able to negotiate the best possible conditions for you and your budget, which will definitely respond to the demand of the current market.

“Before signing any commitment always check the city development plans because a new building, construction could influence the aesthetic and the material value of your property investment.” – says Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

Housing in Monaco



The real-estate agencies in Monaco usually work for an average of three percent intermediary fee. The intermediary fee is an important element because it is not success fee. The wording could be important for you.

“In any contract it is important to see clearly when the real-estate agency is entitled for its fee.” – says Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

In some cases when a buyer or a seller steps back and he/she refuses to sign the final contract the agencies will still ask for their intermediary fees. This means that it might happen that you got nothing valuable and you are still obliged to pay a serious amount without any exchange.

As Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates explained to us this is why it is critical to work with a company that represent your interest.

Legal challenges

In many cases the Monegasque regulation allows you to run your business from your home address during the first two years. Therefore for many business owners it is essential to have a good apartment which fulfil the purpose of a home as well as a temporary business office. These apartment are called “Usage mixte”.

Based on regulations you are not allowed to welcome visitors if the apartment is used as a living space as well. However many do not know that the Economic deportment can refuse the business usage of the apartment for any reason. Therefore you might purchased (or rented) an apartment which does not support your aims.

“For clients intended to use a property for business purposes, we always conclude an acknowledgement from the landlord that you are allowed to use the property for a company address. This is one of the first step to secure a positive result for all the parties.” – says Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

In the moment that you sign the contract you are legally obliged to pay the agency fee even if the real-estate agency has offered you a useless apartment. For obvious reasons one wants to avoid these risk.

“A real-estate deal should be considered closed only when the beneficiary has received the full exchange for his/her property and the new owner is satisfied with all the aspect of the investment.” – says Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates



Despite most of the European real-estate markets, in the Principality of Monaco most of the real-estate agents and property owners do not prefer negotiations.

Since Monaco is in the unique position that its real estate prices have been continuously growing during the last decades, there is almost no place for negotiations. When you purchase a property in Monaco you can be almost hundred percent sure that its value will rise even in a short-medium period. This is why most of the non-European ultra high net worth individuals are investing in the Principality of Monaco.

“44% of Monaco’s population is a millionaire and they choose Monaco not just for investment or taxation reason by also for its extraordinary security.” – explains to us Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

An investor wishing to allocate funds in a low-risk asset could eventually include a Monégasque property in his or her international portfolio. Also the political and the economic stability plays a major part in the safety of the real estate assets.

Monaco: Splashing the cash on the French Riviera

The Sky Penthouse at Odeon Tower. / Photo via CNN

Acquisition process

Once you have found your ideal property, which clearly matches all your criteria you can start the acquisition process.

Usually in Monaco the acquisition process is a combination of four steps:

  • Purchasing offer
  • Final offer
  • Commitment
  • Notarised agreement

When you have made your final decision and you have the chosen property it is your time to place your initial purchasing offer.

“It is a common real-estate practice in Monaco that no negotiation process starts without a written purchasing offer from the prospective buyer.” – explains to us Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

In most of the cases real-estate agencies do not forward verbal offers or negotiations to the property owners. You might have a possibility to create a verbal negotiation but for this the reason has to be a very exceptional circumstance.
Once you have placed your purchasing offer always ask for a written delivery confirmation from the real-estate agency. This way you will have a legally enforceable commitment from the agency and you can also gain time to revisit and reconsider the conditions.

“Once your initial purchasing offer with all its details and concerned goods is interesting for the owner you will have the first opportunity for negotiation.” – explains to us Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

During this period you have to define all the purchasing terms, especially the terms related to the payment conditions such as the timing of the acquisition.

Once the offer is acceptable for both parties, the good faith of the buyer must be confirmed by a deposit payment. In most cases the deposit payment does not exceed the ten percent of the final purchasing price.

“The deposit downpayment is used to demonstrate the serious intent of the buyer, therefore all the deposit is collected by a Monaco based notary.” – explains to us Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

In order to proceed further the buyer is also obliged to pay the legal fees of the notary, which is six percent from the final purchasing prince. Therefore any purchasing intent must involve a minimum of sixteen percent of downpayment of the final purchasing price.

Usually this is the point when the seller or the buyer (it depends) also receive the invoice for the intermediary commission from the real-estate agent for its intervention. The real-estate commission is usually three percent calculated on the final purchasing price.

“The 3% commission is regulated in the Principality of Monaco.” – explains to us Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

In Monaco the deposit payments are generally made with a single bank cheque from any bank located in the Principality of Monaco. For the remaining balance the accepted way is a bank wire- transfer. If the buyer has no bank account in the Principality of Monaco then the confirmed bank wire transfer is the requested way to proceed further.


The benefit of the bank cheque is that usually the notary never collects the downpayment before the signed agreement. Therefore you do not need to move and allocate your money before there is a finalised legal binding from both parties.

“The signed offer to purchase is a very serious commitment, a document that has a legal value in the Principality of Monaco.” – explains to us Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

The accepted and signed offer is a firm commitment for both parties. In case the buyer withdraws its intent from the final transaction, the seller will be entitled for its deposit cheque by the fact itself.

Once the commitment is signed the only possibility for the buyer to get back the bank cheque is if the seller fails to fulfil his/her conditions on the purchasing agreement. In these rare cases the Principality of Monaco protects the buyer, by asking the notary to force the seller to pay an extra compensation to the buyer, which is usually the same amount as the ten percent of deposit payment.

“Therefore it is more convenient for the seller to go through the actual sale process instead of stepping back.” – explains to us Gianluca De Lucia, director of Monte-Carlo Estates

The purchasing process usually ends with a formalised agreement notarised by a Monaco based notary. The final agreement is usually more detailed than the previous offers and commitments.

Since the notary is a public officer of the State his sealing gives a guarantee of authenticity for the purchase.

In this step both parties testify when they have to express their will and liability to fulfil all the content of the final purchasing contract. Once it is signed and notarised, this document will protect the buyer by stating the date for the hand over. From this time on the buyer becomes the new owner.

The final payment is usually performed after this notarised agreement.

Monte-Carlo Estates

[ For those who are interested to know more we recommend to contact Monte-Carlo Estates or to read the Living in Monaco book. 

Monte-Carlo Estates is a dynamic agency, specialized in the sale of high quality properties in Monaco and French Riviera area, both new and resale, including commercial and investment real estate. If you are looking for an apartment in Monaco, an outstanding villa on the coast or an interesting asset investment Monte-Carlo Estates shall help you find the property of your dreams.]

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