Back to Basics: Buying a Property in France

There are a lot of people who have had their plans for buying a French property put on hold. Some of those people will be impatient, perhaps having felt they have missed a year that could otherwise have been spent in La Belle France. Many though will understand the need to quell the pandemic not just here in the UK but world-wide. A ban on travel doesn't mean a ban on planning travel. For those considering buying in France, there is plenty to be getting on with, before making the crossing and booking some viewings.

Here's a helpful reminder of what you can do now ahead of the borders re-opening.

  1. Location - France is a large and diverse country. What factors are most important to you? Climate, activites, travel time, urban/rural, coastal/inland, travel connections (rail/air/sea).

  2. Reason for buying - Are you relocating to France (the rules have changed post-Brexit). Are you buying a second home or/and is the property for rental.

  3. Budget - The budget you have may influence your choice of area. Be realistic about budget and allow for expenses like professional fees, cost of moving and renovations/improvements. Is the property a cash purchase or will you need a mortgage? There are pros and cons to using a French lender or one from your country of origin.

  4. Currency - At some stage your money will need to be in Euros. Because a property is likely to be one of the most expensive things you buy, an unfavourable change in exchange rate can add significant costs to the purchase. Source a reputable foreign exchange company (probably not a bank) who can advise on making the most of currency exchange. There are ways to mitigate risk and maximise opportunity; they will be able to explain these to you.

  5. Plan a viewing trip - Everything up to this point AND including this point can be done now from the comfort of your sofa. Google the agents who appear most active and authoratitive in your serach area. Reach out to them and tell them the sort of property you are looking for. They will be pleased to get you on their books and to welcome you when it is permitted to travel again. Some agents are doing virtual viewings and more properties now have 'walk through' videos. Necessity is the mother of invention!

  6. BINGO! You can travel and you have found a property that you have fallen in love with and you want to an offer. Consider carefully the offer you wish to make. Your budget, length of time on the market, vendor's appetite for a deal, whether you are cash buyer, all of these will influence the offer you make. A negotiation may follow, but all being well the offer will be accepted.

  7. The legalities - Expect to sign a compromis de vente. This is the contract of sale binding both parties. It includes numerous provisions and expectations of both parties, plus a target date for completion. A deposit will be paid (typically 10%) held by the notary (notaire).

The steps above are indicative and are guidance only and not advice. If this has whetted your appetite for a French property search, head over to Right Move France and get inspired. If you would like any advice on foreign exchange for a property purchase email us  

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