Buy a House in France - Dedicate Legal Services for Foreigners

Purchase a Property in France

Updated on Wednesday 08th May 2024

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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 a property 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.
 Quick Facts  
Can expats buy properties in France?

Yes, but restrictions are imposed on state-owned properties in France.

Legislation for property purchase in France

Property Law in France

Types of properties you can buy as a foreigner

- residencial buildings,

- hotels,

- office spaces,

- land etc.

Property inspection before purchase (YES/NO) Yes
Pre-sale agreement required  

Yes, the pre-sale agreement comes with a payment of 5% or 10% of the property price

Documentation verification made by our law firm in France

Real estate due diligence is provided before you buy a property in France.

Content of a sale-purchase contract of a property

- names of the seller and buyer,

- type and description of property,

- former owners,

- price,

- terms of possession

Real estate tax in France

- between 7% and 10% for the  acquisition of an old property

- between 2% and 3% for new properties bought

VAT for property purchase in France


Can a lawyer in France represent you with a power of attorney? The power of attorney allows us to represent clients who want to purchase a property in France. We can sign the sale-purchase agreement on their behalf. 
Possibility to buy without visiting France

Yes, with representation and legal support offered by our advisors.

Residence permit issued for buying property in France

No, property owners still have to consider the immigration rules and regulations regarding residence permits in France.

Citizenship application permitted

No, French citizenship cannot be gained through a property purchase.

Buying a property in France through mortgage

 There are different mortgage solutions for foreigners with incomes generated in France.

Legal services offered for buying a property in France

- complete verification of the respective property documents,

- representation of clients with power of attorney,

- representation before the notary for concluding the sale-purchase contract

Finding properties for sale in France

- real estate websites,

- social media groups,

- real estate agencies,

- newspapers,

- property auctions, etc.

Deposit requirement

Typically around 5% to 10% of the property's purchase price

Local bank account 

- recommended for smoother transactions and other payments;

- mandatory for mortgage options

Mandatory insurance (YES/NO) YES, it's called the ”assurance habitation”.
Assistance schemes and loans

- Prime Accession (10,000 euros purchasing grant),

- traditional banking loans,

- Prêt d'Accession Sociale (PAS),

- Prêt à Taux Zéro (for building your house), etc.

Buying a new build property in France

Our French lawyers can help you obtain the VEFA contract, which means you become the owner of both the land and the property once it's constructed.

Constructing a house

With our law firm in France, you can obtain the construction permit, through the local town hall (municipality).

Property types in France

- commercial,

- residential,

- industrial,

- agricultural, etc.

Tenant eviction notice periods

- 6 months (for unfurnished properties),

- 3 months (for furnished properties).

Landlord obligations

Make necessary repairs and provide essential services;

Respect the tenant's privacy;

Maintain the property in safe condition;

Adhere to anti-discrimination laws.

Taxes for additional houses in France

- taxe foncière (up to 3% of the rental value),

- taxe d'habitation (based on your location and condition of property)

Other fees for property purchase

- real estate agent fees,

- stamp duty,

- notary fees, etc.

French Cadastre - characteristics

A system that provides graphical representations of land parcels and their boundaries

Why buy a property in France

- rental opportunities,

- high quality of life in France,

- diverse property choices,

- retirement destination,

- impressive landscapes, etc.

Assistance  Our lawyers in France help foreigners buy their dream property and assist during the entire procedure.


Support for purchasing a property 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. If you want to buy a house in France, our French lawyers will represent you throughout the entire process and offer you advice. On the other hand, you might want to read the following infographic on this topic:
Stages of Buying a House in France

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. Those who want to buy a house in France must understand the legal implications which can be explained by one of our French lawyers.

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. We are here to help you buy a property in France.

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.
Have you decided to buy a house in France? It is important to mention that the sales-purchase contract will be carefully analyzed by our French lawyers if you collaborate with them. Such a contract must include information about the names of the seller and buyer, former owners, the type and description of the property, price, and terms of possession. The advice is to ask for legal advice even if you are not in France to sign the documents because our experts can represent you. Here is a video presentation on this topic:

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, if you want to buy a house in France through mortgage.
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%.

Best cities to buy a house in France

Even if Paris, the capital of France, is among the favorite cities for buying property, there are other places in which foreigners have a great interest. Let's review some cities as well as housing prices:
  1. In Paris, around EUR 8,500 is the price per square meter for a house. The business opportunities in Paris are multiple and there are countless reasons to choose the country's capital for such endeavors.
  2. Rennes is a city in northwest France, and housing prices hover around EUR 2,500 per square meter. Having a new business region, Rennes can be an optimal choice for local and foreign businessmen.
  3. Bordeaux, a port city located in the southwest of France, is among the preferences of those who want to buy a home. The price per square meter for a house is approximately EUR 3,250. The city is also well structured and offers optimal business conditions for those interested.
  4. Lyon is the second largest city in France and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Competing with Paris, houses in Lyon sell for approximately EUR 5,365 per square meter. It is also considered the second-wealthiest city in France, so you can put it on the list for future business.

A short guide to buying a house in France

If you have decided to buy a property in France, I recommend you review the following guide to understand what you need to do. You also have the support of our French lawyers for all the formalities involved.
  •  Choosing the right property - You can collaborate with a real estate agency to buy a house in France. Also, our specialists can guide you regarding the legal aspects of real estate property in this country.
  •  Property verification - With the help of our French lawyer, you can benefit from verification of the house you want to purchase. Normally, real estate due diligence can be requested, a procedure that can highlight if there are legal problems involving the previous and current owners.
  •  Preparation of the pre-sale agreement – This document is like a guarantee for the seller that the house in question will be bought. In addition, a payment of 5% or 10% of the price of the property will be made, and the money will be transferred to a bank account in France.
  •  Signing the final contract - The sale and purchase agreement can be drawn up and verified by one of our French lawyers. This document must contain all the details about the house to be bought, respectively information about the former owners, plus the history of the construction. The final signature takes place in front of the public notary.
  •  Receiving the new Title Deed – As soon as the documents have been signed, the new owner will receive the Title Deed of the respective house. This is an important step for buying a house in France.
So, the steps above represent the way you can buy a property in France. Legal assistance is provided by one of our French attorneys with experience in real estate matters.

Choosing our property lawyers in France

We have a team specialized in real estate issues at your disposal if you want to buy a property in France. You can request our help to ensure that the purchase you will make is free of legal problems. Thus, you can rely on professionalism, efficiency, and support when you collaborate with our French lawyers.
Our experts 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.