5 things to know before buying a property in France

There are many pitfalls in purchasing a property in a foreign country with France being no different. With a combination of strange laws, selling difficulties, inheritance law it is a good idea to beware of the potential dangers to your wallet and sanity.

Know the Notaire

In France officials called Notaires’ have a monopoly when it comes to dealing with property contracts. There role is similar to that of a conveyance solicitor in the UK except they also deal with marriage and inheritance issues. A Notaire will be the one who draws up leases and arbitrate in any disputes. You are sure to come across one whilst searching for a property. It may be worth seeking your own Notaire as they will have inside knowledge of the property market and will know of any local issues.

Inheritance laws

If you should unfortunately die whilst living in France you will be faced with a couple of differences from UK law. It is advised that you write a will before you move or make one as soon as you arrive. Under French law your children’s inheritance will be protected but your partners may not so research thoroughly and get yourself a solicitor.

Extra costs

Once you find your dream home and the offer has been accepted you will have to pay for a series of tests called the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique. Seven surveys will be taken that test electrics, energy efficiency, gas, lead, termites, asbestos and natural risks. Once they are completed you will see the results before deciding to exchange contracts.

The French housing market

Despite the global debt crisis and the problems in the Euro zone Frances property market has remained healthy. Unfortunately for a buyer prices have remained high but its good news if you intend to sale a property. By doing some thorough research it’s entirely possible for you to find a property at a bargain price.


If you’ve purchased a fixer upper then you should be aware of the process involved. The first thing you need will be a building permit. This may take a long time and a lot of paperwork to fill in; it is advisable to begin this process as soon as possible. The documents will then have to be sent to the town hall where they will be appraised by an architect.

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