Purchasing real estate abroad, at first glance, may seem like a difficult procedure to implement. However, the potential buyer’s uncertainty will disappear as soon as he moves from intention to action. Of course, there are nuances in purchasing real estate in France that create certain difficulties for the buyer, but all steps will be successfully overcome if you follow a clearly outlined plan and resort to the help of specialists. Moreover, there are no legislative obstacles to the purchase of real estate in France by foreigners.

The procedure for purchasing real estate in France

The process of buying a home in France takes several months and involves communication with various structures: banks, notaries, owners, etc. Therefore, it is important to know everything in advance and prepare properly.

Beautiful view from the window for good money

It’s worth starting with the most obvious – by determining your budget and choosing the region of France where you would like to buy property. Real estate prices in France are very diverse, they depend on the type of housing, its characteristics and location. A two-room apartment in Paris can cost almost twice as much as a two-story cottage with a garage and a small garden in the suburbs of the capital, just half an hour from the Eiffel Tower.

Selecting a property type

Once you have set your price limits, you can begin searching for the desired property. To begin with, you can explore real estate sites on your own, but soon it will be advisable to contact a real estate agent; he will find housing that best meets all your criteria, arrange meetings, negotiate, in general, he will become your serious assistant in this important matter.

Credit (un prêt immobilier)

Even if you are not a citizen or resident of the French Republic, some banks will offer you a mortgage loan at favorable interest rates from 1 to 3.5%, covering up to 80% of the cost of your new property. Of course, provided that your official salary matches the requested loan (total debt cannot exceed 1/3 of your income).

Procedure for purchasing real estate in France Make an offer (faire une offre)


To purchase real estate in France, you need to make an offer to the potential seller, that is, the home owner. There are two ways: oral and written. The first one is used most often if you are still not sure of your choice. But here it is very important to remember that the owner does not bear any obligations to you: the very next day he will be able to sell his house to another buyer on more favorable terms for him (the seller).

A written proposal is much more formal. It will include many important details, such as the proposed price of the property and the method of financing (personal funds contribution and/or mortgage loan); the time frame within which the owner must notify you of his decision (on average from 5 to 15 days); the time frame within which you have the right to refuse the purchase (usually 7 days), and other significant points of the case.

Find a notary

Purchasing real estate in France is impossible without the participation of a notary. It is this specialist who will put the final signature on the notarized deed (acte notarié), confirming the official ownership of the owner of the new home in France.

Preliminary agreement (compromis de vente)

A preliminary agreement on the purchase and sale of a real estate property is an interim agreement (on concluding a contract in the future), which obliges both the seller and the buyer to conclude a transaction at a price established by both parties. The signing of this document is accompanied by a payment of 5–10% of the value of the property.

Bill of sale (acte de vente)

The home stretch when buying real estate in France is signing a purchase and sale agreement. Then all you have to do is wait for the notary’s signature, and you can start preparing for the move.

Documents required to purchase real estate in France


Purchasing real estate in France will require careful preparation of documents. All documents, except those that you receive directly in France (for example, if you were given a mortgage loan from a French bank), must be submitted with a notarized translation, and some (birth certificate, marriage certificate) with an apostille.

For a notary:

  • passport;
  • birth certificate;
  • Marriage certificate;
  • marriage contract;
  • certificate of registration of an individual as an individual entrepreneur (if you have your own company);
  • bank statements of income;
  • information about sources of capital;
  • bank information about the amount of the mortgage loan;
  • information about planned restoration work in the purchased property (we are talking about significant changes, and not about gluing new wallpaper);
  • preliminary agreement on the purchase and sale of real estate;
  • contract of sale;
  • insurance of purchased property;
  • additional documents upon request of the notary.

For the bank:

  • documents proving your identity and place of residence;
  • proof of income;
  • information about the place of work;
  • bank statements about savings;
  • information about current liabilities and loans;
  • additional documents upon request of the bank.

Residence permit and citizenship when purchasing real estate in France

Purchasing real estate in France is not the basis for obtaining a residence permit or citizenship. However, the fact that you own a home in France will make it much easier to obtain a long-term D visa with the “visiteur” designation. In fact, such a visa differs from a residence permit only in the absence of the right to work in the host country. You can renew or extend your visa without leaving France at the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII).

We wrote in detail about obtaining a French residence permit and a “visitor” visa in our article.

Buying real estate in France for Russians

Purchasing real estate in France by citizens of the Russian Federation is no different from this procedure for citizens of Mexico or Japan. All potential buyers who are not members of the European Union go through the same stages of purchasing a home. Whatever region of France you decide to go to, you will definitely find our compatriots there, especially since the immigration history of Russians to France is deeply rooted in past centuries.

However, the crisis economic situation dictates its own rules: in recent years, very few Russians have become property owners in France. However, if Russians do decide to purchase real estate, it will not be located in the rural outback, but mainly in prestigious areas of Paris or on the Cote d’Azur.

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