For many foreign buyers and investors, securing a mortgage in France is the deciding factor in making your French property buying dream a reality.
Our Beginner’s Guide to French Mortgages and step-by-step articles will take you through the entire process, but with so much information to take in, where should you start? How can you be sure that you are fully prepared, avoid common pitfalls, and maximise the chances of having your mortgage application approved?
From obtaining an Agreement in Principle (AIP) to the final release of funds: this checklist is the ultimate to-do list for securing your French Mortgage!
First Things First: Do You Qualify for a Mortgage in France?
Step one is deciding whether a French mortgage is the right option for you. There are many individual variables that will determine whether or not you will be successful in your French mortgage application. However, there are also some base questions you need to answer before taking the next step.
- Are you looking to borrow a minimum of €150,000 (in the wake of the Covid pandemic, most lenders will not agree to a mortgage for a lower amount, even for British and EU buyers), or €250,000 if you’re buying from the United States or another non-EU country?
- Are you under 70 years of age?
- Do you have enough capital for a 20-25% deposit (British and EU buyers) or a 50% deposit (American and other non-EU buyers)?
- Do you have income totalling more than three times your financial liabilities, including the proposed French mortgage (including all rental contracts, current mortgages, car loans, and other loans)?
If you’ve answered yes to all the above, great—move on to the next step! If you answered no to any of these key questions, it might be better to look into other ways of financing your French property venture.
Before You Start Looking for a French Property
French mortgage applications can only happen after you have found a property, but there’s still a lot you can do to plan and prepare—starting now!
- Do your research. Read through our French Mortgage articles, familiarise yourself with the types of mortgages available, and learn about eligibility criteria.
- Set your budget and get an idea of how much you might be able to borrow. Read our article on French Mortgage Rates – How Much Does a Mortgage Cost in France? and use our French Mortgage Calculator to get an estimate.
- Get your finances in order and prepare your paperwork—read our guide to Applying for a French Mortgage for an idea of which documents you will need.
- Sign up to become a FrenchEntrée member and fill in our FrenchEntrée Mortgage Application form. Our mortgage team offer free advice and when you’re ready to start looking, we can recommend mortgage brokers or lenders to suit your individual circumstances.
- Consider consulting a mortgage broker to discuss the best options for your French mortgage.
- Approach French mortgage lenders directly or through your mortgage broker and find out the available options.
- Obtain an Agreement in Principle before organising your property visits – this will not only give you an idea of how much you can borrow, but will make you a more attractive prospect to sellers.
- Set up your foreign currency account for the most competitive rates on currency exchange and consider a forward contract to protect future payments
Applying for Your Mortgage in France
Once you’ve found your property and signed the Compromis de Vente, you can move ahead with your mortgage application.
- When signing the Compromis de Vente, be sure to a Clause Suspensive to the contract – this will ensure you don’t lose your deposit if your mortgage application is refused.
- Once you’ve signed the Compromis de Vente, contact your mortgage lender and begin the formal application process.
- Set up your French bank account – although you might want to set up a bank account prior to starting your search, some mortgage lenders may ask that you open an account with them, so it might pay to wait.
- Organise your life insurance policy – this a pre-requisite for most French mortgages.
- When your mortgage has been approved, wait the mandatory 11-day cooling off period…
- …after which you can sign your contract and celebrate your new French mortgage.
Congratulations on your French mortgage!
Looking for a Mortgage in France?
From finding the best mortgage rates to making your mortgage application—FrenchEntrée is here to guide you through the whole process. Learn all about French mortgages with our Essential Reading guides, keep up-to-date with the French mortgage market through our latest posts, then sign up to become a FrenchEntrée member for free access to our property, currency, and mortgage experts.
Once you’re ready to kick-start your French mortgage search, fill out our mortgage application form. Our independent mortgage advisors can advise you on the best options for you and put you in touch with mortgage brokers and lenders all around France.
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