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Buying a French Property

Interested in buying a French property?

Doing your research beforehand to familiarize yourself with common French property and mortgage terms and the processes involved will make for a better experience.  The process is not the same as a US property purchase but as a premier French mortgage broker, France Home Finance is here to help you better understand this process.

Here is a simple 6-step process to inform you of what it takes to complete a property purchase in France.

1. Determine your budget
- If you are considering a French mortgage to finance part of your purchase, you should obtain a decision in principle from us so you better understand exactly what your budget is when you make your offer for the property.

2. Find your French property and make an offer.
- After you have a rough idea of what your budget is, you should contact an experienced real estate agent to help you find the property you are looking for. If you are buying a Paris property be aware that there is no multiple listing system (MLS) equivalent in Paris and you will find the same property listed in different agencies, at different prices.  Paris Real Estate Agencies tend to focus on their immediate surrounding areas and it can be a time consuming experience to hunt around these agencies.  We recommend using a Paris Property Search agency such as Flat Hunter to help you find your property.   When you find your property you will make an offer to the seller and the agency or your search agent will lead the negotiations between the buyer and seller until you agree on a price.

3. Select a French notary to represent you
- A French notary is a publicly appointed official who is responsible for correctly executing contracts in an impartial manner. You can use the seller’s notary to complete the sale, but you also have the right to find your own to represent you at no additional expense. We understand that you may want to find an English-speaking French notary to represent you, and we provide a search service to help you find the perfect notary.  If you are using our mortgage services for a Paris property purchase we will put you in touch with an excellent English speaking Notaire that is very familiar with our processes.

4. Sign the preliminary purchase agreement
- This agreement, also called the "promesse de vente" or "compromis de vente", binds the seller to the sale upon signing; however, the buyer has a 7-day period of reflection in which they can opt out of the deal without penalty if he or she wishes. At the signing, the buyer makes a deposit of 5-10% of the purchase price into a safe account regulated by the French notary, just like an escrow account. This deposit is used towards the down payment and closing costs. The notary is then in charge of dispersing all the funds to the correct parties.

5. Arrange your French mortgage
- At this stage of the process, you will need to search and secure your French mortgage. If you opted for a "clause suspensive" in your purchase contract, you will have 30-45 days to obtain a written french mortgage offer or if no finance is available, show at least two French bank rejections. Fortunately, France Home Finance is here to assist you with this process. For more information, see our "Financing Your Property" page on this website for more information.

6. Complete the act of sale
- When you have accepted your French mortgage and sent a copy to your French notary, you will need to set a meeting for the signature of the final act of sale.  You can give signing power to a third party if you are unable to be in France for the signature. Once all taxes have been settled, the title of your property will then be posted to you within 3-6 months after the act of sale.  The Notaire will also finalise the accounts and usually send you a check for any surplus money.