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A Simple Guide to Buying Property in France

Articles September 17, 2018

Buying a property in France is never an easy undertaking especially to those who are first time buyers. Lots of things have to be considered before arriving at a concrete decision as to what is the property that best suit ones needs.

Basically, the process of buying a property in France is quite straight forward, that is, if you have a clear understanding of the process involved. Always the key to a successful purchase is research and a little patience. It is imperative that you know the basic information in order to guide you in your decision.

Initial Agreement

Purchase or sale of any property raises many questions and even fear especially when you buy overseas. So just like in any other types of sales, an initial agreement is important as it sets the sale’s terms and conditions. It is a provisional or a preliminary contract that is legally binding upon the buyer and the vendor. A professional like a notary should draft this.

There are basically three types of initial contract depending on who is acting on your behalf. That is why it is highly recommended that you do a thorough research on these types before buying. And whatever type you choose, you should keep in mind that this is legally binding upon you. Make sure that you spend time analyzing the terms in details and never hesitate to ask questions if there are conditions that are not clear to you.

The goal of this contract is to concretize the agreement between the vendor and the purchaser and allow the notary to prepare the final sale of deed, so there is no need for you to pay any amount yet before signing.

Signature of Final Sale Contract

The true transfer of property takes place only at the time of the signature of the Title Deeds or also known as Acte Authentique at the office of the notary. The signing transpires once the notaire has carried out the relevant checks and searches and all the conditions are met.

If you cannot attend the contract signing, a proxy can sign but take note that on the power of attorney, your signature should appear on it and should be legalized by the French Consulate or a solicitor or a notary public in your originating country.

Planning Permissions

This should be obtained for any new construction or for refurbishing an existing building. An application for a representative can file planning permission provided a proxy is signed in that regard. Your representative can be the architect who drew up the plan, a solicitor, or the builder.

A planning permission application should include the identification details of the applicant, as well as the land on which there are plans to erect a building, the plot of land’s location map, and the layout plans.


Taxes and costs are always associated with buying property in France. And these should be considered when planning your investment. Usually there are high taxes for a start, which include income, property, residential taxes, wealth and capital gains. Keep in mind that tax in France is rather high and there are penalties for late payers, so you should check your French tax return for the deadline.

French Inheritance Law

It is important that you know the inheritance law in France because it may be different from your originating country. If you have a property in France, French Succession Law will govern this. Children automatically inherit part of their parents’ estate but there is a limit to how much may be left by Will to non-blood relatives.

These are just a few of the information that you should know to guide you in buying property in France. Before you purchase one, be sure what you are buying.

Take your time and consider all the factors and gather all the information you need that can help you in your decision-making. Remember that as a buyer, you should take responsibility for the condition of the items you purchase so you should inspect them before you purchase.

Seeking legal advice is the best thing that you can do in order to know all the details that come with buying a property in France. Impulsive buying can never do you any good, so be in total control.

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