Written by Alexis Goldberg,
6th November 2018

Our nearest neighbour, France, has everything to offer anyone yearning to escape the UK which becomes more and more crowded by the day – or so it seems to one who has lived in France now for almost 9 years and occasionally returns to visit the UK! Property in France appeals to all ages: young adults wishing to get on the property ladder, perhaps thinking ahead to when they start a family and wanting to offer their future children space, beautiful open countryside, vibrant cities, the chance to become bilingual as well as older folk wishing to retire to a country where their money will stretch far further and buy them a property with a garden and maybe a pool.

Find homes in France via our property portal.

Affordable property prices

Average property prices across the vast majority of the country are far less than the UK.  You can find a good small renovated character property in France with a little outside space even in the south for around €100,000. If you are keener on modern property, there are plenty of good new build houses going up all the time. Land values are lower than in the UK so you could consider buying a plot of land in a buildable zone and tailor-make your own home.

Get the best value possible for your property with the tips from our free guide, How to Negotiate Abroad

With property prices having remained stable over the last 10 years or so, now is one of the very best times in recent history to buy property in France. However, there are sure signs of increase in many areas of the country so a purchase now will very likely not only be a something you have always dreamed about for you and your family to benefit from, but may very well prove to be a solid investment in the future. It remains a market in favour of buyers in most areas.

Property in France is generally much more affordable than in the UK. Faris AlAli Photography / Shutterstock.com

Property in France is generally much more affordable than in the UK. Faris AlAli Photography / Shutterstock.com

Plenty of renovation opportunities

Up for a project? So many houses in rural France are in need of a makeover. If you don’t mind renovating, you can strike a real bargain. A house in our village with 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen and living room recently sold for €34,000 inclusive of agency fees. The electricity and plumbing need a total overhaul but the roof is fine. The family were keen to sell as they had inherited it and had no interest in doing it up. The French are not into property renovation. We have noticed that the “style anglais” is much admired by many!

A renovation project in our village with 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen and living room recently sold for €34,000 inclusive of agency fees.

Legal protections

France is a wonderful country to live in with a much more laidback lifestyle. Plus, there’s everything from beautiful coastlines to mountains, pretty villages, rivers and lakes to sophisticated towns. But that’s not all. Anyone thinking of buying property can know that the law keeps them well protected.

Throughout the process, you’ll work with a notaire. They’re a neutral representative of the government who will help to assure the legality of the process. You can find out more about their role and how much the fees are in our dedicated on article on notaires.

Make sure you get the best mortgage you can through engaging a trustworthy professional. Our France property specialists in the Resource Centre can put you in touch – with no obligation – with a ‘tried and tested’ French mortgage partner.

All buyers in the current market make offers – very rarely does a property achieve its asking price. That said, did you know that if you do offer the asking price, the seller is bound to sell it to you? So remember that you are virtually in the driving seat. A reputable estate agent will guide you through the whole process. They’ll follow up with an after sales service too. Many will help with changing utility accounts and opening a French bank account, for instance. Agents in France are selling a lifestyle, not just a property.

Further, once your offer is accepted and the “compromis de vente”, equivalent to the UK exchange of contracts, is signed by both parties, the seller is obliged to sell the property to you. If someone else comes along and offers the seller more, he cannot accept. In brief, no gazumping! Better still, you have what is called a 10 day “cooling off period” after the compromise is signed. In this time, you can walk away without penalty should you choose to do so.  It is a system which works well.

English-speaking professionals

The French have become used to the British loving their country and buying property in France. We have noticed an increase in the number of notaires and property agents who speak English. You need have no fear of any anti British feeling: we have been welcomed with open arms by our French neighbours and acquaintances.

Wide choice of property in France

France is a huge country. There are so many different types of property in France available. You’ll find ancient village houses to farmhouses, manor houses, cottages, modern houses and imposing chateaux. The choice really is tremendous and aside from the new builds, very often no two properties are alike.

You'll find a wide range of property in France.

You’ll find a wide range of types of property in France.

If your dream is to buy property in France, whether as a permanent move or a second home, you will not be disappointed, whatever your budget. You can make your dream come true by proper planning at the outset, soaking up all the information you can here at France Property Guides.

Easily protect your money

Our property specialists in the Resource Centre can also help you make sure you protect your budget from risk. A €300,000 property would’ve changed price by £15,000 over the last 12 months – all because of unpredictable exchange rates. No-one can tell you truthfully which way the exchange rate will go next, but we can help you completely ring-fence your money from changing rates. Our partner, Smart Currency Exchange, can use a forward contract to lock in one single exchange rate across 12 months. We have worked with them for over a decade and continue to do so because of the glowing feedback we get from our readers – with over 1,000 5* reviews on Trustpilot.

It’s crucial to organise a trip to see properties once you have a few you’re interested in. But what should you be looking out for? Find out in our Viewing Trip guide.

The key to achieving your dream of owning property in France lies in being well prepared, sourcing the areas which appeal to you, planning more than one visit (maybe even three or four), giving yourself time and sorting out your finances well ahead of your purchase. We can help with all of the above. You only have to ask!

Ready to buy property in France?

If you’re ready to start your property purchase in France, don’t miss your free France Buying Guide below. It’s full of useful information about the entire process, from choosing an area to legalities and finances. Then, make sure to check out our property portal, with thousands of properties waiting for a new owner. And, if you do have further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your France Property Specialists for free advice on 020 7898 0549 or at [email protected].

Buying a House in France Guide.

Buying a property in France is extremely exciting, but it can be nerve-wracking: in what ways is the process different to the UK, how do you cope with the language difference, what fees should you expect and just who is the notaire? That’s why we’ve put together our France Buying Guide, to help you through the process, step by step.

Written by experts, it covers every stage of buying, from viewing to contracts and fees. Get your copy of the French Property Guide by simply filling in the form below.

  Impact of Brexit
  Find your property
  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

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About The Author

Alexis Goldberg

Alexis loved visiting France as a child and always dreamed of living there one day. Fortunately she met a man who had the same dream! So they married, then bought a beautiful 300-year-old character house in a pretty village in the Languedoc Roussillon. Alexis has been writing about France for a decade, inspiring and helping hundreds of British people to move there. She says: "Our only regret is that we did not move to France earlier!"

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