Once you have found your dream property in France, this brief guide will help you understand the buying process and successfully avoid any pitfalls.
French property is highly attractive to expatriates and the buying process is a familiar and relatively straightforward one. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate although the process may take a little longer in France than in some other countries.
When purchasing in a foreign country and foreign language, it is always wise to appoint an independent lawyer to look after your interests when purchasing your property.
You will need to present the notary with a copy of your birth certificated translated into French, and, if applicable, a translated copy of your marriage certificate.
Capital Gains Tax is not payable on property sale if it has been your principal residence. As a non-resident you are also exempt from paying social taxes. However if the property is not your principal residence, tax will be levied at 16% unless you have owned the property for more than 15 years.
Property taxes: Taxe fonciere (land tax) and Taxe d’habitation (local taxes) are both due annually in arrears in October/November. These taxes are calculated on the theoretical rental value of the property and are payable by the owner of the property. New or newly restored properties are normally exempt from taxe fonciere for the first two years.
Maintenance charges (charges de co-proprietaires) for apartments vary in amount in accordance with neighbourhood and amenities offered.
Income tax: IRPP is payable in France as in any other country, based upon your annual income received.
As the laws of succession vary greatly from country to country, you cannot take it for granted that your assets in France will be passed on to those you intend them to. The notary will assist you in drawing up a will to ensure that upon your death, your property is dealt with in accordance with your wishes. To avoid unnecessary complications, this will need to be done prior to signing the final deed of sale.
The mortgage market is well developed in France and due to the great numbers of British purchasers seeking French mortgages, products are easily accessed and are run along a tried and tested procedure. Foreigners can often obtain 100% finance and with interest rates capped at 4%, a French mortgage is a very attractive option to many investors.
Fixed rate mortgages are also available, but not for short terms. Generally they are only available for between 10 and 20 years. The maximum term for a French mortgage is 20 years or up to the age of 70, whichever is sooner.
Mortgages can also be obtained from British lenders such as Abbey, Halifax, HSBC and Woolwich, while specialist brokers may be able to get you a loan locally.
Some developers of new build and off-plan developments offer installment plans over between 12 to 60 months and charges applicable vary according to developer. The Government’s Leaseback system offers purchase with guaranteed rental over many years and yields of some 5.5%, more than covering the cost of mortgage interest, as well as allowing a full VAT refund of 19.6%.
If you possess property in your own country and would like to borrow against this in an equity release plan, we can introduce you to an independent financial advisor who will help you raise the necessary finance.
Get the latest property and investment opportunities direct to your inbox for FREE (you can unsubscribe anytime)
Cognac Country Poitou-Charentes
Starting a Business in France
Guide to retiring to France
Is this the Paris Property Market's Rebirth?
French House Prices continue to rise
All property news from France
Subscribe to our RSS Feed
Fill out a requirements form and our experts will help you find a great selection of properties for sale in France.
Help me find property in France
Considering a property purchase in France or need to transfer currency to/from France?
Save Thousands in Currency Transfers
When considering a buying property in France, you are well advised to get expert mortgage advice from a mortgage broker.
Get a mortgage quote in France
Owners Direct is one of the UK's leading direct from owner rental websites and the first choice for holiday home owners who want a cost effective and easy way to fully book their properties.
Find out more
If you own or are about to purchase property in France, you get an insurance quote using our online insurance quote form.
Get Insurance in France
Do you have your British assets covered by a will?
Do you have your movable foreign assets covered by a will?
Have you made plans to protect your family in the event of your death?
Get more information on Wills
Everything you need to know about transferring your UK Pension is in our downloadable guide.
Get more information on Pensions
Pays de la Loire Property
Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Property
Subscribe to our newsletter and keep up to date with the latest and best investment opportunities around the world!