French property buying guide


The team at Euro Immobilier Chalais / Town & Country Property France have a wealth of experience when helping international clients with their French property purchase. Our knowledge and customer service are second to none, so let us help you through each stage of buying a house in France. 

Once you have made the decision to buy a property for sale in France you will need to ask yourself a number of questions before you start house hunting in earnest.

Why do you want to buy a property in France?

Some of the main reasons to buy a French property:

  • full time residence for a family
  • full time residence for your retirement
  • holiday home
  • investment

Your requirements for a full time residence will generally be different from those for a holiday home in France. For example you may need ; schools for families, all year round shops, nearby medical centers and hospitals, good internet connection, easy access to airports and cities. When choosing a French property for full time residence you might want to be sure that there is already central heating, double glazing etc in the French property you choose..

When choosing a holiday home in France, you will probably already know the area you want to buy in France. Think about whether you will use the property just for family & friends or if you’d like to actively market the French property as a holiday rental in France. Good transport links, holiday activities as well as bars & restaurants may need to be included in your French property search criteria.

Where do you want to buy a house in France?

Which part of France is going to suit you best?

France is a big country with stunning countryside, beautiful seaside beaches, majestic alpine areas, romantic cities and varying climates to match – so there’s something for everybody.

Consider what is important to you and how far are you willing to travel to :

  • Shops, bars, restaurants – walking distance, 5 mins drive or more?
  • Golf, skiing, sailing, horse-riding etc. How far are you willing to go and enjoy your pastime?
  • Access to transport links ?

Can you afford to buy in the region you choose? Prices vary hugely across France so check out how the different regions compare with each other and with your budget.

Let our local agents guide you – they live and work in the area and would love to share their knowledge to help you find the right place for you..

How are you buying a French property?

Are you cash buyers? Using a pension release scheme? Or do you need a mortgage?

Before you begin your French property search, it is important to establish what your budget is – do not forget to include the Notaires fees, house insurance and removal costs into the equation.

When do you want to buy in France?

If you are a family with school age children, then moving to France should ideally coincide with the start of the academic year which is usually early September.

For those looking to buy a gite or income generating property then you should be looking to buy in the low season to allow you time to be ready for the high season.


Get everybody involved in choosing your property in France, be honest with each other and don’t be afraid of listing the "must haves" and probably more important the "must have nots"!

An ideal wish list includes:

  • Do you want a full time residence or a holiday home?
  • What style of property do you like? – old/character, modern, single storey, farmhouse, Maison de Maître, town house, bungalow, chateau?
  • Do you have a preference for geographical location? – are you searching in a particular region/department/area of France?
  • What immediate environment will you require? – countryside, hamlet, village, town, city?
  • Do you prefer to have no near neighbours? 
  • How many bedrooms do you want? 
  • How much land would you like?
  • Do you want a gite, a swimming pool?
  • Do you have a hobby that needs space? Eg artist studio, garages for car collection, study for work etc
  • Do you want to do any work on the property? – full, some or no renovation, redecoration only?
  • What is your budget? (The prices shown on our website include agency fees. You will have to budget extra for Notaire’s fees of about 7-8%) Should you wish to consider a mortgage, please enquire here.

Which, if any, of these search criteria are flexible?

Please send us your wish list today and LET US HELP you with your French property search.


Once you have selected your chosen area, defined your criteria and your budget, you can now start on the fun part – finding your dream property in France!

Please contact us to arrange your viewings :

Your agent lives locally to the property and will accompany you on the viewing. They will be able to answer any questions you have and share their local knowledge with you.

When viewing please be honest with your agent – if you don’t like the property tell the agent and you can move onto the next property. 


Each vendor has their reason for selling and their positions do vary from being fixed price to very negotiable. Your agent will know the vendor, so check with them to see what may be acceptable.

Once the negotiation has been successfully concluded, you will be asked to supply the personal information that is required to draw up the Compromis or Promesse de Vente (the initial sales contract).


The purchase process for buying property in France

The Compromis or Promesse de Vente establishes the terms and conditions of the sale. It is prepared by the Notaire with the assistance of our Head Office sales processing team. This contract is legally binding subject to certain suspensive conditions. The Compromis or Promesse de Vente will be drawn up in French, so our Head Office sales processing team will go through it in detail with you in English if you wish.

Purchase costs

The advertised prices on this website include the estate agency fees. You should budget for the additional cost of the Notaire’s fees and taxes, usually around 7-8% of the purchase price of the property.

Cooling-off period for buyers

After all parties have signed the Compromis or Promesse de Vente, the non-professional buyer of residential property will have the benefit of a 10-day cooling-off period during which you have the right to withdraw from your commitment to purchase. During this period the buyer can withdraw from the purchase without penalty. The vendors do not benefit from a cooling-off period.

Paying the deposit

The deposit, normally 10% of the purchase price, must be transferred to the Notaire’s account by bank transfer before the end of the 10-day cooling off period. This can come from either your own bank or via currency brokers* who can often offer preferential exchange rates – enquire here.

*You should be vigilant when selecting financial services firms. If you’re using a UK firm we recommend you check they are authorised by the FCA (UK Financial Conduct Authority). Additional checks are also recommended.

Timeframe to completion

After the Compromis or Promesse de Vente is signed the Notaire will proceed with the usual title and planning searches, and the obtaining of documentation, in order to have everything ready for the target completion date.

An obligatory waiting period applies to certain administrative paperwork. Therefore the sooner the Compromis or Promesse de Vente is signed, the better, if the target completion date is to be achieved. Normally it takes about three months from the signing of the Compromis or Promesse de Vente to completion.


The completion appointment will take place in the offices of the Notaire, in the presence of both buyer and seller. 

It is always preferable to sign in person, and to personally inspect the property before you do so. If you are unable to attend the final completion signature, it may be possible to arrange a signature by power of attorney. 

You will receive the keys to your new French property immediately after the signature of the final deed. 

The team at Euro Immobilier Chalais / Town & Country Property France have a long and diverse collective experience in the French property market.

We’d love to hear from you and discuss with you your French property project, at whatever stage it may be. With no obligation and no pressure, we can help you decide what is right for you.

We will assist and guide you through every stage of the buying process:

  • from your initial enquiry 
  • through accompanying you to the French properties you have chosen to view
  • answering your questions 
  • negotiating with vendors 
  • all the way through to the signature of the final deed 

We look forward to helping you !

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    Desired features



    Azille, Aude

    Ref: 705676
    more details

    €201,400 HAI

    Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, Charente

    DetachedSingle storeyViews
    Ref: 705677
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    Country House

    €170,000 HAI

    Parcoul-Chenaud, Dordogne

    Character propertyDetachedPool
    Ref: 705686
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    Country House

    €328,600 HAI

    Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, Charente

    Character propertyDetachedOld stoneOutbuildings
    Ref: 705681
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    Maison de Maitre

    €530,000 HAI

    Aumagne, Charente-Maritime

    Character propertyDetachedOld stoneOutbuildingsPoolPrestigeViews
    Ref: 705680
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    €170,000 HAI

    Mialet, Dordogne

    DetachedGite(s)Possible incomeSingle storeyViews
    Ref: 705679
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    Country House

    €160,000 HAI

    Beaulieu-sur-Sonnette, Charente

    Character propertyDetachedOld stoneOutbuildingsViews
    Ref: 705678
    more details

    €249,100 HAI

    Sarrazac, Dordogne

    Character propertyDetachedOld stoneOutbuildingsViews
    Ref: 705675
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    Maison de Maitre

    €381,600 HAI

    Aigre, Charente

    Character propertyDetachedGite(s)OutbuildingsPoolPrestige
    Ref: 705672
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