Your guide to buying property in France

PUBLISHED: 15:21 27 January 2021

France is one of the most popular places to live amongst British expats because of its weather, affordability and closeness to the UK. Picture: Getty Images

France is one of the most popular places to live amongst British expats because of its weather, affordability and closeness to the UK. Picture: Getty Images

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Whether you’re looking for investment opportunities, or to start a new, idyllic life just a ferry ride away, there are a few things you should know before buying property in France.

Property in France is generally cheaper to buy and rent than it is in the UK. Picture: Getty ImagesProperty in France is generally cheaper to buy and rent than it is in the UK. Picture: Getty Images

How to buy a house in France

It’s easy to understand why so many Brits choose to make France their home: it’s not too far away, the weather is favourable, and it’s often astonishingly affordable.

Finding a home in France can be done through immobiliers (estate agents), notaires (public notaries), private owners, or a company such as French Connections HCB who can liaise with their property partners and owners for you.

“After years of living in different places, I know how difficult it can be to understand new cultures and ways of living, let alone languages!” says Richard, business specialist at French Connections HCB.

Richard has over 10 years' experience in buying, renting and selling French property. Picture: French Connections HCBRichard has over 10 years' experience in buying, renting and selling French property. Picture: French Connections HCB

“I grew up in France, and after travelling around, have settled here again to help English-speaking people move to this wonderful country. I have over 10 years’ experience in buying, selling and renting French property, and a host of local knowledge to ensure you find the right home for you.”

How long does it take to buy a house in France?

“The legal requirement is three months, but if it’s a cash purchase, we can usually complete the process in under two. We can also find you an interim rental home if necessary, and the price of this is included in our standard fees,” Richard explains.

Where should I live in France?

This depends on your personal preference and the kind of lifestyle you’re looking for.

“My favourite place is the French Basque Country. Normandy, Cote d’Azur, Loire Valley and Dordogne are also beautiful areas. My advice is to try before you buy!” says Richard.

How much money will I need to live in France?

France’s property prices are generally lower than in the UK.

“On average the cost of day-to-day living is the same,” says Richard. “Supermarkets tend to be more expensive as they sell mainly fresh produce. Building materials and cars can also be pricier, which is why it’s recommended to bring foreign cars with you and register them in France – French Connections HCB can help you with this.”

“The income requirement for obtaining a visa is very modest and involves proving earnings above the threshold for French social security assistance, either by a contract or proof of profits for a business.”

Anything else to know before moving to France?

“Expect the administration process to take some time – I can’t emphasise that enough! A lot of the administrative procedures are written in French, so it’s useful to enlist an organisation to handle long-winded applications with prefectures,” says Richard.

“Make sure to learn the language, especially if you’re moving to southern France as there are less English speakers. You’ll find it easier once you’re there as you can put what you’ve learnt into practice.”

“If you have children, you’ll be glad to know that integration into the French school system is relatively easy. Those with pets will need to think about registering them several months before moving.”

Another thing Richard suggests considering is your pension. For this and other international investments advice, you can talk to French Connections HCB’s fully-accredited international financial advisor.

He also recommends that you register for a numéro fiscal de référence (tax identification number) and with France Collect upon arrival.

“Concerning Brexit, French Connections HCB are up-to-date with the impact on the property market and other obstacles it may present. Foreign nationals are continuing to invest in French property, and with the lifting of stamp duty on selling UK houses until the end of this tax year, there’s never been a better time to move.”

“Be prepared for the food to be tastier, but don’t forget to pack your tea bags!”

French Connections HCB

French Connections HCB is an established, internationally registered company made up of a specialised, multi-lingual team. They can help you buy a home, renovate your property, find a car and set you up for your new life in France.

Visit www.frenchconnectionshcb.com for more information. Contact them on info@frenchconnectionshcb.com or 00 33 562599349.

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