It’s vital to be aware of and able to avoid the different financial pitfalls that come with buying in France, by being prepared with the right information at the outset. There are many important financial considerations when buying property in and moving to France. These include how you are going to pay for the property itself; the ongoing costs of maintaining your property and your lifestyle in France; the cost of any currency exchange transfers to and from France; and essential personal finance matters, such as pension and inheritance planning, ensuring you have the correct tax status, and allowing for all relevant taxes to be paid on time and to the right authorities.

You will need to think carefully about your finances at the very beginning of your French property search – planning not just for how you will pay for your property, but how you are going to finance your life in France. There are also a number of tax implications when buying property in France, depending on your residency status and whether you are moving to France permanently or buying a second home. This can all be complicated, so it’s definitely worth seeking professional advice from an independent financial advisor. There’s a lot to think about!

Alexis Stratfold

Resident expat who moved to the Languedoc

Money matters – before you go

One of the most important financial decisions when buying property in France is how to finance your property purchase, for example, cash, mortgage, pension pot, other loans or financial products, such as equity release. You also need to consider how to send funds to France to pay for the property, factoring in how much you need for a deposit and any regular payments, as well as practicalities like opening a bank account in France.

 

Financing options

It’s not just the cost of your property that you need to budget for. You will also need to plan for what can often be hidden costs, such as estate agent fees, legal fees, taxes in the UK and France, bank charges and exchange rate fluctuations, which all add up. We highlight the key costs to budget and plan for, so you can avoid losing money unnecessarily when buying your home in France.

 

 

When moving to France, you need to plan all aspects of your finances carefully. Tax considerations are one of the most important financial areas to address early on. You will need to ensure you are registered to pay tax with the correct authorities – the last thing you want it is to be taxed twice in two different countries! We recommend seeking advice from an experienced tax advisor to get matters in order.

 

 

Planning your worldwide estate and inheritance effectively is vital when moving overseas. France has very specific, complex inheritance laws, but a recent change to legislation means that you can choose whether you follow the inheritance laws of France or your country of origin. It is important to seek the advice of an independent legal professional to plan your estate to ensure your family does not lose out to complicated French inheritance laws.

 

When moving to France, it is worth considering all the different pension options available to you and how this affects your tax situation. There may be a benefit in moving your pension into another type of pension scheme – a self-invested personal pension (SIPP), for example, or Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). Pensions are a complex area, however, so it is always important to seek professional advice from an independent financial adviser (IFA).

 

When buying property in or moving to France, you need to ensure your home, belongings, health and family are protected. The different insurance costs need to be factored into your overall budget and can be different in France to what you are used to in the UK. Make sure you research the different options available to you carefully and find a professional firm to provide the right insurance services to meet your specific needs.

 

Currency Zone

You may not be aware of how crucial currency exchange is to successfully buying your French property. Exchange rates fluctuate constantly; as they move, they affect the price of your French property. If you don’t already have the right amount euros to pay for your property in France, the rate you receive once you have transferred your money into euros could lose you a considerable amount of money if not managed carefully.

 

You will need to factor in any regular payments to and from France. These may be regular mortgage, pension or salary payments, regular purchases, or paying any bills for the maintenance and upkeep of your new French property. There are specific plans you can set up to ensure automatic payments, to save avoid losing money on transaction and banking charges and to ensure peace of mind that all payments are accounted for.

 

Sending money to France

Finance Hub - Regular Payments New
Whether you are in the early stages of planning to buy property in France, or going through will your purchase process already, the free guide from Smart Currency Exchange, “Three essential steps to buying property abroad”, outlines the key steps in buying an overseas property and explains how currency is an important part of the overseas buying process. It also provides the important facts you need to know about your key property professionals.

 

Money matters – after your purchase

Whether you are planning to move to France permanently, or buying a second home, there are a number of tax considerations that need to be factored in to your planning. You need to ensure you are set up correctly to pay any local or national French taxes once you are living there, and must allow for the costs of the two main property taxes required in France, the Taxe fonciere and Taxe d’habitation.

 

 

If you plan to draw your UK pension when living in France, there are certain legalities you need to be aware of, such as residential status in France, French tax returns, and practical considerations like making regular payments or money transfers between countries. You also need to be aware of the different pensions available. Importantly, you need to inform the UK Pensions Service if you are planning to move to France.

 

 

One of the first things you need to do when buying a home in France is open a bank account. Bank accounts in France are open to both residents and non-residents, and you do not have to travel to France to open the account. You will need to be able to provide key documentation in order to open your account, and there is a variety of types of bank account on offer.

 

 

Financial Hub - Bank accounts NEW
Buying property and renting it out to holidaymakers is a popular option for many property buyers in France, and it can be a useful source of income once you own your French property. There are a number of important legal and financial considerations to take into account if you are planning to let your property in France. Find out how you can go about this in the right way and comply with legislation.

 

 

We compare the cost of living in France compared to the UK annually, matching the price of a regular supermarket shop in France with its UK equivalent. France is generally regarded as being quite an expensive country, so it’s important to budget for maintaining your lifestyle once you move to France. There are also some key differences between buying food and household items in France and the UK, such as the regular French markets.

 

Buying a House in France Guide.

The France Buying Guide walks you step-by-step through each stage of the property buying process in France, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to:


  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

Download your free guide to buying in France

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