Property Cheat Sheet: France
France is one of the most popular locations for British expats. Its proximity to the UK and excellent weather mean it has remained a popular destination despite Brexit. In fact, there are no restrictions on foreigners buying properties in France, you can even rent one out. That said, there are new barriers with regards to gaining visas and citizenship/residency rights if you intend to live at the property for significant periods of time.
The first thing you will need to do if you are looking at purchasing property is pick a location and set your budget. From the bustling streets of Paris to the scenic vistas of Provence, there’s something for all stripes. Once you’ve picked, it’s worth getting in touch with an estate agent (un agent immobilier) to help you find the right property for you, especially if you’re looking at more remote locations where English speakers can be harder to find. Property websites such as Rightmove also operate in France if you are comfortable property searching independently.
Once you’ve picked your property and want to make an offer, it’s the seller’s legal obligation to provide a Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT), a document which provides an overview of the property’s condition. This will include things like whether there’s any lead or asbestos present, the natural disaster risk and the energy performance. It’s worth noting this isn’t the same as a survey like we would have in the UK, so if you have any concerns about the property’s structure it’s worth commissioning your own survey as well.
The Compromis de Vente is the first legally binding document signed in a French property sale. This is usually drawn up by the estate agent or a notaire, a public official authorised to handle matters relating to purchases, sales, exchanges, mortgages, etc. The notaire will support both vendor and purchaser impartially. Once this has been signed, the deposit, usually around 10% of the property’s price, is paid.
To complete the sale, an Acte de Vente will be signed, usually around three months after the Compromis de Vente has been signed. The notaire, buyer, and seller should all be present, but a third party can attend on a party’s behalf if power of attorney has been granted. Funds to purchase the property must have been transferred into the notaire’s bank account prior to this meeting and insurance must also have been secured.
Of course, these funds will almost always be in Euros. Currency UK ensure that our clients get the most out of their money when making currency exchanges, especially when dealing with large sums. We can also hold money on account for you prior to your purchase and lock in an exchange rate for you giving you certainty on your property purchase or sale.
Vive La France!