Buying Process For Your French Property

Buying Houses in France

Many people want to buy a property in France but often keep putting it off because they are really not sure of quite how to go about it. It’s very easy to spend hours and hours pouring over lovely looking properties for sale in France and to dream of the days you would own one but sometimes the next steps seem too difficult to contemplate. To simplify the process we have broken it down into three easy stages which we hope will give you much of the information you need to progress your plans. Please do not hesitate to call the team on +44 (0)207 096 0709 at Beautiful French Houses for more information. We have more than 40 years’ experience of the French property market and are really happy to help at any stage in your project of buying a French property.

The three stages of buying a property in France:-

  • Finding the right house to suit your requirements
  • Checking out the finances
  • The legal process of buying a house in France

Finding the right house to suit your requirements

Most people who are interested in buying a property in France start by looking at the thousands of properties advertised for sale on various websites. Some of these websites are owned by individual French agencies, some belong to national French agency chains, some are on the sites of international property companies and some are websites owned by U.K. based companies who use their understanding of both U.K. buyers and French Houses to work in conjunction with French agents to help people find the right property.

Beautiful French Houses work directly with specially selected French partner agents and have designed this website to bring buyers only the very best properties for sale in France. These properties have been selected by our partner French agents who believe that each property is very special in its own way and deserves the title ‘Beautiful’. To help you decide whether a house is special for you and meets your specific requirements we have also included more information where possible about each property than is usually contained on websites including the cadastral plans and or an aerial shot of the location, so that you can ‘get a feel’ for the surroundings of the property. Our hope is that we are providing enough information to enable you to decide whether you want to see a particular property without the need for lots of communication. Needless to say, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t always happy to speak to you if you have the time and the need.

Checking out the finances

A mortgage for your French property purchase

If you need to raise finance for your intended property purchase it is worth considering the advantages of raising a French mortgage.

  • Obtaining a French mortgage can ease the process of purchasing your property and protect you in case anything goes wrong with your financial plans.
  • The statement that you will be raising a mortgage to buy the property can only be written into the compromis (the first contract) if it is a French mortgage. Should you intend to re-mortgage your U.K. property for the purchase and anything goes wrong with the plan you will be committed to proceeding with the French purchase or forfeiting the 10% deposit.
  • A French mortgage will also leave your U.K. property free from debt.
  • French interest rates are low and French banks will issue a pre-approved mortgage statement which will clarify your buying budget and can be a good negotiating tool when it comes to discussing the purchase price with the vendor.
  • The French banks we work with, at Beautiful French Houses, will also liaise with the notaire and agent to ensure that the purchase proceeds smoothly.

For further information on French mortgages please call us or see our Mortgage page on our Healey Fox website.

Get the best exchange rates

Healey Fox FX is the currency exchange department of Healey Fox Ltd, and we have been specialising in French and overseas property since 2009.


Healey Fox FX provides a fast and secure currency exchange and international transfer service for overseas property buyers and sellers. We can assist with the transfer of both large amounts, small amounts and ongoing regular transfers. In fact we can help all clients with any requirements including business clients.


You will have your own dedicated, friendly and professional account manager who will be able to assist you and keep you updated with the currency exchange rate movements. Especially with large amounts of money, any small differences in the exchange rate can make a big difference. Working with your account manager, you can decide the best course of action to take and when to secure your currency to protect you from market fluctuations.


For more formation or to get in touch, please see our dedicated website:


Places to Buy Property in France

The legal process of buying a house in France

Once you have decided on a house you want to buy the agent will assist you if you wish to negotiate the price or if there are things about the property that you want checked out before you make a final decision. French estate agents are more highly qualified and more highly regulated than their counterparts in Britain and will be invaluable to you throughout the purchase process. They will act between the vendor, the Notaire and you, the purchaser, to make sure everything proceeds as simply and quickly as possible. It is also worth noting that their fee (which they share with Beautiful French Houses) is included in all advertised sale prices of French Houses.

The French legal system requires there to be two contracts for the transfer of ownership of a property. The first stage in the buying process is likely to be the need to sign an OFFER with your proposed purchase price and if this offer is accepted by the vendor the process will continue to the signing of the first contract, the COMPROMIS DE VENTE. This first contract will include the CLAUSES SUSPENSIVES which are the necessary factors that have to be confirmed before you, as the purchaser, are prepared to proceed to the final contract. If you are obtaining a French mortgage the receipt of this will be one of the CLAUSES SUSPENSIVES so that you are protected if the mortgage is not forthcoming. At the point of signing the first contract you will be asked to transfer 10% of the purchase price into the client account of the Notaire. Should any of the CLAUSES SUSPENSIVES not be met your deposit will be returned in full to you.

In many ways the French sale and purchase system is better than the English and Irish system in that the seller is bound to sell you the property once the first contract has been signed, although you do not become the owner until the final contract is signed by both parties when all searches etc. have been done. This two contract system has the advantage of securing the property to the buyer whilst all the legal work is done by the Notaire. The two contract system protects the buyer from gazumping and from any change of mind on the part of the seller. If either party choose to withdraw from the transaction once the first contract has been signed they will forfeit 10% of the agreed property purchase price.

Finally once all matters, written as clauses suspensives in the first contract, have been satisfactorily confirmed, once the Notaire has done all checks required by law and once the purchase funds are in the Notaire’s bank account it is time for the signing of the ACTE DE VENTE.This normally takes place in the Notaire’s office with all parties present, usually including the French agent who will have been helping to process the sale. If either party is unable to attend they can sign a power of attorney giving the clerk to the Notaire the right to sign on their behalf.

The whole legal process is likely to take around 3 months and your only difficult task is to decide on which Beautiful French House suits your requirements.

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