Interesting observations, ledocs.
It might interest you and others to know (maybe you already know this) that the continental, Roman law tradition has evolved very differently from the common law tradition in the US. Property transactions are more strictly regulated by the state. This is the function of "le notaire," a state appointed official responsible for drawing up contracts, one of whose functions is to make sure that buyers and sellers, borrowers and lenders, are not deceiving each other. It is absolutely impossible in France to take out a mortgage or purchase property if you cannot prove creditworthiness (income, assets etc). It would be equally impossible for real estate agents to practice the kind of fraud that took place in the US.