Buy a property in France

Purchase a Property in France

Updated on Friday 24th September 2021

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Many foreigners are tempted by the idea of purchasing a property in France. The country’s rich history, its beautiful landscapes and appealing lifestyle are reasons why people choose to buy properties in France despite the relatively high prices compared to other EU countries.

The decision to live in France or retire here should be considered carefully and individuals are advised to contact a professional real estate lawyer in France who can help them make a safe investment. Our French lawyers know everything about the applicable law in France and they can offer you great tips and tricks for buying property and making the best decision. More importantly, a specialist will be able to advise you about the applicable taxes in France.

You can start looking for French properties online or employ a real estate agent. This is particularly useful if you do not speak French and you want to avoid any costly misunderstandings. Additionally, you can contact the owner himself. It is important to seek the services of a specialist before buying a property, because such a person could tell you if that building has certain problems such as, plumbing issues

Once you have found the desired residence, the purchase process can begin. Our French lawyers will represent you throughout the entire process and offer you advice.

Foreign citizens buying real estate in France

France is one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to the right of owning a property, as there are no restrictions related to buying land or any other type of property here. Large cities like the capital Paris, Lyon and Marseille have developed a lot from an industrial point of view in the last several years which has determined many investors and their employees to relocate here by purchasing properties.

Choosing a property in France

Before making an acquisition, the buyer must find a suitable property. A real estate agency can help in this matter; however, the search can be completed by the buyer on the internet. Once the property is found it is advisable to request real estate due diligence services in order to check the property for various issues, as there are cases in which various encumbrances, such as mortgages or lease contract could pose serious problems when buying the property. Technical verifications are also recommended before buying a property in France.

Our team can also help you open a bank account or start a business in France

The pre-sale contract in France

One of the most important step for purchasing real estate in France is to sign a pre-sale agreement with the owner of the property. This agreement will help both the seller and the owner, as it will act as a promise to sell, respectively to buy the property. Upon signing a pre-sale agreement, a deposit of 5% to 10% of the real estate price will be deposited in a bank account.

Our attorneys in France can advise on the pre-sale and sale-purchase agreement upon the acquisition of a property for residential or commercial purposes.

The sale agreement for a property in France

The sale-purchase agreement in France (compromise de vende) creates a bilateral obligation for the parties. The document can be used in a standard form or it can be drawn up by the real estate agent or the French notary overseeing the transaction.

The sale agreement generally includes the following information:

  • - the names of the parties,
  • - the price of the property,
  • - the address of the property,
  • - information about mortgage,
  • - a list of the materials and items available in the house and their evaluated value,
  • - other conditions for selling the property.

The sale-purchase agreement should be signed in front of a notary. There are generally no applicable notary fees for witnessing a sale and purchase agreement, however, certain fees may be applicable for the preparation of the agreement or for other matters, such as the necessary documents for obtaining a mortgage. 

We can also help you with information about buying properties in other countries, such as Greece, through our local partners.

Mortgages in France

Buyers may apply for a mortgage in France, if they need additional financial help to cover the purchase price of the property. Certain documents need to be provided when applying for a mortgage in France and the maximum amount of the loan is usually no higher than 80% of the value. Our lawyers in France can help you prepare the necessary documentation.

Mortgages in France can have a fixed rate or a variable rate. Most individuals opt for the fixed interest mortgages because they are more secure and offer guaranteed repayments. Mortgages can be suspended for up to two years or the repayments may be increased by 30%.

Our French lawyers can offer you more information about payment schedules and the amortization period.

Please contact our French law firm if you need assistance in buying or selling a property in France.