How to Buy the Best French Property for you

So you have found your ideal French property, perhaps a house, perhaps an apartment or a piece of land to build on. Now before you purchase you French dream home take the following steps to make sure you are buying the best French property for you.


Get the Diagnostics for your French Property

Since November 2007 the French property seller has been required to give you the complete record of diagnostics appropriate for the property. These documents are made part of the contract of sale.

Depending on the type, finish, age and location of the French property you will received diagnostics on the surface area, presence of asbestos, termites, lead, condition of the electricity, condition of the gas system, energy efficiency of the property, risk of natural hazards etc.

Make sure you get the right documents related to your type of purchase before you sign the sale agreement and get expert advice on the results.


Check out what is included in the French Property

It can happen that you may be buying an apartment or house where the owner has illegally included into his property an extension that is not included in the planning permission.

You need to check so that you don’t end up being responsible for a problem when you become the new owner. Ask the owner for documentation and check with the local city hall as a starting point to verify all is okay.


Get All Your Information about your French Neighbourhood

The diagnostics do not tell you about the outside environment of your property. You will need to do research with neighbours to find out about the presence of factories close by, the presence of supermarkets, night clubs.

Also check with the city hall about changes to the area that may include a building that will block the great view from your apartment building.


Check the Future Cost of your French property

At a minimum, make sure you get the last two years of the monthly charges for an apartment so you know what to budget for. Also, get the last three years of annual general meetings to see what work has been done on the building and which work may happen soon. Also, get all the details on the property taxes and the tax d’habitation. If you don’t know what are monthly charges and what they can or may contain you need professional assistance. Contact us to help you find professional real estate help.


Caution when buying French Land

Make sure when you are buying a building lot to do extensive research with the local city hall and building authority to confirm you can build your dream home. Learn where all water, electricity, telephone and other services are relative to the property. Find out the exact boundaries, learn about future development in the neighborhood etc.


Caution when buying individual French homes

Check all the details as if you were just buying the land under the house to make sure you know exactly where your land is and the services available. Is the house served by a septic field or tout a l’egout?

Regarding the house, make sure you have an expert check the condition of the exterior and interior of the building and confirm the size of the property so you have it correct for insurance purposes. Check also if all work has been approved by the local city hall etc.


Do this Quickly

If you find out a problem and you have already signed the purchase contract you do have the opportunity to cancel the contract within the first seven days after you sign the original contract so act quickly in case you need to cancel.  Contact your English speaking French notary about how this seven days rule applies to you.

The above questions are simply guidance and not meant to be all inclusive, you will need to do more research and involve professional assistance like a English speaking French real estate agent or English speaking French notary.

As you can see buying a French property can be complicated and made more complicated if you don’t speak English. Get yourself the assistance of an English speaking French real estate agent by contacting us here today.


Complete Guide to Property Investment in France: A Buy-to-let Manual