buying property in France

A guide to buying a property in France

When looking to buy a house in France, it can be helpful to learn a bit about the process. As with any property purchase, it can be daunting, especially when you are buying in a foreign country.  Understanding the process can make taking that leap a bit easier. Have a read through our guide to buying a property in France. Then, get out there and find your dream home.

Finding a property

You can use the same method as you would here in the UK to find a French property. So, think online searches, newspapers, or find a agent immobilier (estate agent) to assist with your search. Once you’ve found the perfect property, you should make an offer.

At this stage, you need to ensure that:

  1. You have finances in place
  2. You decided on what types of mortgage you will choose 
  3. Any surveys that you want prior to the purchase going through are done

Acceptance of offer

When the offer is accepted, you and the vendor should sign a compromis de vente. This is basically the exchange of contracts. In France, it happens at the beginning of the house purchase, rather than at the end. Consider if you need to add any clauses to the contracts, such as whether the sale would be dependent on planning permission being granted or if it is subject to the results of a survey. At this point, as the buyer, you need to pay a 10% deposit to the notaire (the solicitor responsible for transactions).

Cooling off period

After the compromis de vente has been signed by both parties, the buyer has a 10-day cooling off period, during which time they can pull out of the sale and still get their deposit back. When this 10-day period is over, the contract is legally binding and either party will be subject to a penalty if they decide to pull out.


Once all the searches are complete you will be invited into the office of the notaire responsible for your transaction to sign the acte de vente or the final contract. Now that you have signed the final contract, you will need to pay the rest of the fees before you receive an attestation de propriété. This is a certificate which confirms that the property now belongs to you. You will also receive the keys at this point and then you are all ready to move in.

Are you feeling ready to make the move and buy a house in France? Please do get in touch with one of our French Mortage Advisors here at Harrison Brook Property so we can assist you.