Guide to Buying property in France

French property types

Luxury villas, elegant country houses, beautiful farmhouses, bastides, apartments, chic penthouses, deluxe chateaux, manors, elegantly appointed mas and luxury ski chalets are among the stunning properties snapped up by discerning clients of all nationalities looking to buy property in France. Regions and areas popular with international buyers are:

  • Northern France - Central Paris.
  • Southern France - Provence, Côte d'Azur, Haute Savoie, The Dordogne, Lot, Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées, Nice-Menton and Saint-Rémy.
  • Central France - Auvergne and Burgundy.
  • Western France - Normandy and Brittany.
  • The Alps.

French property prices

Buying a French property can cost you anything from 2,000,000 euros in inland areas like Auvergne to over 5,000,000 euros in the Côte d'Azur . There isn’t a ‘best’ time to buy French property as prices remain static throughout France.

Costs of buying property in France

Costs incurred when buying French property are:

  • Property taxes
  • Legal fees
  • Purchase costs (7% of the sale price)
  • VAT (referred to as TVA - Tax sur la Valeur Ajoutée in France)

Property buying process in France

Prior to buying property in France establish your budget. If you are planning to borrow funds, hire a qualified mortgage advisor to brief you on the pros and cons of taking a loan in your country and through a French bank. A qualified mortgage advisor can also pre-approve a loan.

Your next consideration is to protect your funds against currency movements. Do this by finding a specialized foreign exchange dealer willing to offer competitive buying and selling rates and signing a forward contract, which enables you to buy and sell currency for a stipulated period without worrying about currency fluctuations.

You are now ready to search for your dream property. To look at details of properties, use the websites of licensed estate agents as they are legally required to have officially registered sales mandates for each property on their portfolio.

After shortlisting a few properties that have taken your fancy, contact the estate agent for a viewing appointment. When you have decided on a property, make an offer to the vendor and if possible (it usually is) negotiate the asking price.

After agreeing on a price, sign the Agreement of Sale (Compromis de Vente or Promesse de Vente) drawn up by the agent or notaire and pay the legally required 10% deposit.

Following the “cooling off” period of 7 days (time given for you to opt out of your purchase), the notaire starts working on ensuring that all suspensive conditions (conditional clauses) in the Agreement of Sale are fulfilled (takes 3 to 4 months) and following successful completion of this draws up the Bill of Sale (Acte de Vente or Acte Authentique) to be signed by you and the vendor, with the notaire as a witness.

In the case of new build properties, the Bill of Sale is signed on the delivery date specified in the construction contract and on the basis that you’ve made all pre-delivery stage payments.
The signed Bill of Sale, makes you the proud owner of a gorgeous French property.

Winkworth International has a comprehensive portfolio of quality French properties. Contact us for a brochure, to arrange a property visit or any other assistance buying a property in France.


 This information is for guidance purposes only and is subject to change. Winkworth recommend that prospective buyers or sellers of foreign property  obtain professional legal advice.


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Contact Winkworth International Admin or call us at +44 (0)20 7240 3322