The French property market is highly attractive to expatriates.
There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate in France but the rules relating to the purchase and re-sale can actually depend somewhat on the type of property and the area where the property is located.
E.g., the rules relating to the purchase of a vineyard will differ to the rules attributed to purchasing a freehold house.
It is always wise to appoint an independent solicitor to look out for your interests when purchasing any property - especially if purchasing in a ‘foreign’ country.
The buying process France will usually follow this general path: -
An agreement is reached between the vendor and purchaser on the property purchase price.
A solicitor or notary will draw up a legally binding contract which both parties must sign.
A 10% deposit is paid at this point. This money should be held in a secure account until the purchase completion.
The property in France that you have chosen will be withdrawn from the open market and the legal system begins its checks and surveys.
If the purchaser pulls out of the contract at this stage the deposit would be lost.
Upon satisfactory completion of all checks, a final contract will be signed by both the vendor and purchaser at the Notary’s office.
The deeds will pass to the buyer, the land registry will be updated.
And of course the balance of the purchase price will then be payable!
The appointment of a Notary is mandatory. S/he will require a copy of your birth certificate translated into French and, if applicable, a copy of a marriage certificate as well, also translated.
The Notary fee will be about around 3% of the property price, transfer tax 7.5% (less than 1% for new properties) and registration fees will be about another 6%.
The vendor should pay any estate agents fees for the sale of their property in France but check this before agreeing to the purchase.
On going - property taxes are levied on a property and residential tax is payable for living as an owner occupier or as a tenant. Both taxes are calculated on the average property rental values.
In France capital gains tax is chargeable on all second home sales owned for less than two years at a rate of 33%.
About the Author
Rhiannon Williamson is a publisher with specialist knowledge covering literally every single aspect of moving & living abroad.
From offshore investment and offshore banking to international living and buying property abroad.