Buying Property in France

How to find an affordable and desirable piece of French real estate; includes the country’s top spots and major advantages for investors acting now.

Buying property in France isn’t reserved for the rich and famous. In fact, regular people make great investments there every day. The key to a good real estate investment in France is researching beforehand. One doesn’t even need to be fluent in French to buy property there. However, one should know how their real estate laws work and what is involved in buying property in France.

French real estate varies in price, depending on location. For example, sellers in the south of France and the capitol of Paris enjoy the highest prices. Although it is manageable for the average person to buy property in these areas of France, they shouldn’t expect a palace. Realistically, the most affordable properties in either area will be an apartment or pied-a -terre (small accommodation).

There aren’t many new constructions in France, so out-of-towners should realize that there won’t be the finest modern amenities in a French apartment or country home. Many find this to be part of a European properties charm. Older homes mean fine and interesting architecture, but it also means old plumbing and sparse decoration. However, one shouldn’t settle on something they feel is too drab and certainly shouldn’t be taken for too much money by an unscrupulous real estate agent looking to unload it. Always explore many locations before making a decision.

Once an investor locates a property of interest, he/she should contact a local and reputable real estate agent. Some may be available that speak English. If not, one can always hire a translator for a short time. When hiring a translator, it is best to find an unbiased third party that has no interest in any business deals. The same goes for a lawyer, should the investor choose to hire one to look over the final documents.

When buying property in France, one has the choice of paying cash or seeking a mortgage loan. It is conceivable that an affordable home in the countryside can be paid for in cash. However, many will need financing for a pricier piece of real estate. Luckily, mortgages in the European Union are quite reasonable, provided one shops around for the best deal. It isn’t uncommon or improper to seek many opinions or even bring competitors offers to rival banks. Many will try to underbid the others if an investor does that.

Once a price for the property has been agreed upon, a final deal is made between the seller and buyer. This final document to be signed is known in French as the promesse de venta. One should probably have a lawyer look over it before signing the dotted line. After that, however, the sale will be final and the lucky investor is free to either live at the location or rent it out to others. Whatever the decision, one should expect a decent return and a long, happy experience as a French real estate investor.

Written by Amy Cottrell for

Sunday 16th July 2006

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