French property buying guide

ADVICE FOR FRENCH PROPERTY BUYERS

The team at Euro Immobilier Chalais / Town & Country Property France are all bilingual, fully trained and registered. We have between us a long and diverse collective experience in the French property market. Our knowledge and customer service are second to none, so let us help you through each stage of the buying process :

PREPARING YOUR SEARCH

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 house in French :

  • Full time residence as a family
  • Full time residence for your retirement
  • Holiday home
  • Investment
  • Business opportunity

Your requirements for a full time residence will generally be different from those for a holiday home. For example you may need ; schools for families, all year round shops, medical centres and hospitals, good internet connection, access to airports and cities. Your choice of French property will normally be of better standard with central heating, double glazing etc

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

How are you buying a French property?

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

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 in France then you should be looking to buy in the low season to allow you time to be ready for the high season:

 View & Make offerBuyHigh Season
GiteAutumnSpringSummer
SkiSummerAutumnWinter

Where do you want to buy a French property?

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 travel to enjoy your pastime?
  • Access to transport links ?

Can you afford to buy in the region you choose? Prices vary 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..

MAKE A WISH LIST

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:

  • Full time residence or holiday home
  • Style of property – old/character, modern, single storey, countryside farmhouse, Maison de Maître, town house, bungalow, chateau etc
  • Geographical location – anywhere in France or in a particular region/department/area?
  • Immediate environment – countryside, hamlet, village, town, city……
  • How many bedrooms do you want? And how many do you really need?
  • How much land?
  • Do you want a house with gite, 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 ?
  • Budget (the prices shown on our website include agency fees. You will have to budget extra for Notaire’s fees of about 7-8%) .
  • Which of these are flexible?

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

YOUR VIEWING TRIP

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!

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. Most vendors (if they are present at the viewing) appreciate feedback both good and bad!

MAKING AN OFFER

Please have your finances in place before making an offer and cooperate fully when your agent asks you to supply information and documents to ensure that transactions are carried out in compliance with anti-money laundering rules.

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 sign offer forms and supply further personal information that is required to draw up the Compromis de Vente (the initial sales contract).

COMMITTING TO YOUR PURCHASE

The Compromis 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. The Compromis de Vente will be drawn up in French, so our Head Office sales processing team will go through it with you in English if you wish.

Purchase costs

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 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. It is delivered by the Notaire by registered post or electronic method.  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 after signing the Compromis de Vente. 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.

COMPLETION AND MOVING IN

This normally takes place in about three to four months’ time, and will consist of a formal signing ceremony in the offices of the Notaire, in the presence of both buyer and seller.

You will be invited to personally inspect the property again beforehand. 

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


We look forward to helping you through every stage of the buying process:

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


    Is property on market?

    Features

    Desired features

    House

    €395,000

    Belvèze-du-Razès, Aude

    DetachedPoolSingle storey
    Ref: 705755
    more details
    Country House

    €480,000 HAI

    Messé, Deux-Sèvres

    Character propertyGite(s)Old stoneOutbuildingsPoolPossible incomeViews
    Ref: 705758
    more details
    Maison de Maitre

    €371,000 HAI

    Aigre, Charente

    Character propertyDetachedGite(s)OutbuildingsPoolPrestige
    Ref: 705761
    more details
    Mill

    €604,200 HAI

    Chef-Boutonne, Deux-Sèvres

    Character propertyDetachedOld stoneOutbuildingsPoolRiver frontageViews
    Ref: 705759
    more details
    Country House

    €217,300 HAI

    Marcillac-Lanville, Charente

    Character propertyOld stoneRiver frontageSingle storeyViews
    Ref: 705757
    more details
    Country House

    €190,000 HAI

    Chalais, Charente

    Character propertyDetachedNo close neighboursOld stoneOutbuildingsViews
    Ref: 705756
    more details
    Country House

    €249,100 HAI

    Messé, Deux-Sèvres

    Character propertyOld stoneOutbuildings
    Ref: 705749
    more details
    Manor House

    €886,000

    Pamiers, Ariège

    DetachedLarge grounds (1Ha+)PoolPrestigeViews
    Ref: 705753
    more details
    House

    €265,000

    Seignalens, Aude

    Character propertyOld stonePoolViews
    Ref: 705752
    more details