Becoming a French homeowner is an exciting undertaking, but it also comes with a host of new responsibilities. Our Beginner’s Guide to Owning French Property and step-by-step articles will take you through everything you need to know, but to get you started – use this checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything.
During the Purchase Process
- Ensure all the mandatory diagnostic surveys have been carried out on your property before you sign the Acte de Vente.
- If you are purchasing a rural property with a fosse septique (septic tank) or non-collective sewage treatment system, be sure that the SPANC report has been carried out and that your system meets the required standards.
- Visit your local Mairie to get a copy of the plans cadastraux detailing your property’s land boundaries and find out about any maintenance requirements, public land or rights of way, or water sources on your land.
- Check which utilities your property uses – for example, are you connected to mains gas, are you connected to the mains sewage system of is there a fosse septique, and what kind of heating system is in place?
- Consider the heating system at your French property – heating accounts for around 75% of energy consumption in the average home, so you’ll want to make the best choice for your needs. You might even need to budget for the installation of a different central heating system.
Before Moving into Your French Home
- Take out a French home insurance contract to cover your new home. If your property is a second home, you might need to take out a special holiday home insurance policy.
- Set up the utilities, including gas, water, and electricity.
- Be sure to shop around for the best deals on electricity tariffs and suppliers and gas at your French property.
- Set up your TV, internet, and landline phone connection.
- Visit your local Mairie to find out about waste collection services and recycling requirements in your commune.
- Ensure that your property meets legal safety standards, for example, that it is fitted with a smoke detector. If you have a swimming pool, be sure that it also meets the legal security recommendations.
Managing Your French Property: Your Monthly and Annual To-Do List
- Organise for your utility bills to be paid monthly or quarterly – if your income or financial assets are in a foreign currency, you might also want to consult our Currency Exchange zone.
- Carry out general maintenance tasks on your home and garden – remember that it is your responsibility to maintain any trees or hedges that border your neighbour’s property.
- Organise for your boiler to be serviced and your chimney (if applicable) to be swept once a year – failure you to do so might invalidate your home insurance policy.
- Pay your French property taxes (Taxe Foncière and Taxe d’Habitation), which are typically sent out in September each year.
- If your property has a fosse septique or sewage treatment system, have a SPANC inspection carried out every four years to ensure your system meets current regulations.
- If you are a second-home owner, consider hiring a property management company to look after your property during your absence.
Own a Property or Second Home in France?
Our Essential Reading articles cover everything you need to know as a French homeowner from property taxes and home insurance to paying your bills. Perhaps you also need recommendations on removals to France, advice on building and renovations, or tips for managing a second home? FrenchEntrée is here to help! We can even advise on selling your French property.