From 1st May 2016 French notaires will be able to offer a discount on the fees they receive for selling residential properties, with the exception of new builds, however this will not affect the 'frais de notaire' which includes registration fees and taxes.
Andy from Mountain Base explains how this change might affect buyers;
"Although the notaire's fees will shortly become negotiable, it only represents a small part of the whole fee. The vast majority is made up of the equivalent of stamp duty (5.80%) and other local taxes.
We would expect some movement on fees on the large value transactions, but potentially the opposite on the smaller ones. Indeed, the notaires we work with at Mountain Base say that they lose money on any sales under €130,000 given the man hours spent on the file. They are obliged to handle the sales but we'd expect fees to rise now - why take on a dossier that loses money? Given that, proportionally, the notaire's fees are already higher for lower priced properties, it is potentially bad news for the majority of sales rather than vice-versa.
Overall, given the potential savings (if any) may be minimal, our advice is to continue to work with a notaire that all parties are comfortable with. There is huge value in a notaire who speaks perfect English, for example, than taking the cheapest available."