How a facilitator can help you navigate the French property market

Lawyer filling out tax paperwork at Perfide Albion, Laure-Minervois

Perfide Albion can provide solutions to a wide range of French property, tax and legal related issues including document translations, filling out tax forms and assisting with property purchases. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Making the move to France can be daunting, especially when you’re sorting through property paperwork and learning the language and culture as you go. 

There are many subtle yet crucial differences between the UK and France when it comes to buying a house, moving financial assets or filling out tax returns. Having someone who speaks the language fluently, understands the various processes and can advise on all legal, financial and property-related matters can make all the difference. 

Rachel Thomas-Bonnet, director of Perfide Albion in Laure-Minervois, discusses the benefits of having an expert assist you with organising your affairs in France.  

Q: What financial and property services do you provide for people interested in moving to France? 

Rachel Thomas-Bonnet sitting at desk at Perfide Albion, Laure-Minervois

Rachel Thomas-Bonnet utilises her law degree from Canterbury University, 30 years of experience living and working in France, as well as her extensive knowledge of the French property market to assist her clients. - Credit: Perfide Albion

A: If you are interested in buying French property or have other interests here, I can assist you with any and all questions that may arise.  

I can help you make an initial purchase on a home, find relevant healthcare services, provide in-depth knowledge of the tax system and assist with paperwork. I’ve even supported people with setting up businesses and becoming self-employed, so my service is quite bespoke and flexible. 

Q: In your experience, what do most expats in France find particularly challenging? 

A: Purchasing property in France is a huge attraction for British people, however the system can be drastically different to what they are used to in the UK. I work for clients all over the English-speaking world, and what reassures them is having a facilitator who can tackle challenges for them, understands where they are coming from and knows the French property market. 

Many of my clients struggle to adjust to the French homebuying system. A lot of UK solicitors provide a very good service in this regard, however the financial cost can be quite extensive and the process complicated. I cost a lot less than the average solicitor, and aim to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

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Q: How precarious can the French property and tax systems be for those who aren’t used to them? 

A: It’s important to recognise that the French tax, property and legal systems are very different in comparison to other countries. Often individuals don’t always take into account the cultural differences that are present when dealing with notaires (solicitors) and maîtres (barristers).  

There is an expectation in France, particularly amongst notaires, that clients will have complete faith in them throughout the entire procedure, require very little communication and will be formal and deferent to them. When you don’t speak the language and aren’t used to this approach it can be hard to tell where you can go to get your questions answered. 

It’s vital to have a point of contact that you can communicate freely with, this will help you when buying, or letting property and navigating the French tax system.  

Pen lying on paperwork on desk at Perfide Albion, Laure-Minervois

There are major differences between French notaires and UK solicitors, and Rachel can help you to make sense of any and all paperwork you receive. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Q: What are the benefits of using a facilitator when considering living in France?  

I think the most important thing that clients get from using my services, is reassurance. Knowing that they can give me a call and that I can help them out with 90 per cent of any issues that arise is crucial to ensuring your wellbeing when settling in to a new country.  

Living in France isn’t like coming over for a holiday, there are many important long-term decisions to consider, and having someone on stand-by can help ensure you have everything you need to start  

To find out more about how Rachel can help with your move to France, visit perfidealbion.com or call 09 82 46 77 35.