“Notaire’s fee” (“frais de notaire”) is a global term used to describe the legal costs of the purchase, which include taxes to be paid on the purchase (stamp duty), the notaire’s expenses and the notaire’s own remuneration. Unlike the agent’s commission, those fees are paid by the buyer and are fixed by the State—about 8% of the purchase price for an existing property. Exact rates vary in each “département”. You can get a specific estimate of the costs online [See the Resources section]. In addition, the buyer also pays the costs of the Land Registry searches carried out by the notaire.
The purchase tax is levied on the purchase price itself – but excluding any furniture and excluding estate agent’s commission. If you (the buyer) take a mortgage out (which will be secured on the property in France) to finance the purchase, the notaire also receives a fee for the formalities involved in registering the mortgage as a charge on the property.