Buying a house in France ©fotomek via fotolia

A quick overview of the six steps you need to know if you are buying a house in France.  Of course, you can always find more information by browsing the FrenchEntrée property guide

1. Identify the search area

France Métropolitaine (mainland France plus Corsica) is made up of 13 very different regions. Which one will you choose? Consider what sort of house you want, permanent or holiday home, accessibility from the UK, the amount of time you intend to spend there and of course your lifestyle.

2. Set your budget and get your mortgage ready

Contact a mortgage advisor to establish how much you can afford in euros. You can either borrow in your own country of origin or borrow in France through French banks. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so you should always obtain professional advice from a qualified mortgage adviser to review your situation. You can get your mortgage pre-approved through an independent mortgage consultant.

3. Open a currency account

When you are on holiday you can walk into any high street bank or bureau de change and exchange currency, but this is not a casual purchase. For larger amounts or regular payments, it pays to involve a specialist foreign exchange dealer. They always offer more competitive rates. Using a forward contract to buy or sell currency in the future can protect your funds against adverse currency movements. Start making savings before your first viewing trip, as costs can soon add up.

4. Plan a viewing trip

Make sure you have appointments booked with agents – don’t expect to just walk in and see someone. A good way to plan your viewing trip is to contact our property team and make appointments in advance. Get started right now by browsing our property database.

5. Make an offer

If you have found the right property, don’t be afraid to make an offer, even if you dip below the asking price. An offer that is well thought out, realistic and brought across politely will rarely offend the vendor. The estate agent might already indicate that an offer is negotiable, but keep in mind that he or she is hired by the seller and cannot represent both sides in a price negotiation. Ask for advice from the estate agent or your FrenchEntrée advisors.

6. Sign the contracts

The compromis de vente is the first formal and legally binding stage in the property purchase process in France. Once signed, the French notaire will carry on the process of checking records and documentation regarding the property and land. Two to three months is normal but sometimes it can move faster or slower, depending on the particular circumstances of the parties involved.

These are just the basic brushstrokes, there’s lots of detailed information on our site!


Search our FrenchEntrée property database to get an idea of what is available for sale, then call us on +44 (0)1225 463752 for more details or advice.

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