You’d be surprised how often we get asked, “Can foreigners buy property in France?”
The short answer is – of course.
But before you start packing your suitcases, it’s wise to learn a little about the current processes, and the obstacles that international buyers sometimes face.
Our new real estate video
The subject of “Can Foreigners buy Property in France?” is covered in a new video with Kerstin Bachmann, our Founder and Managing Director.
In the video, Kerstin offers insight into the current law on purchasing as an expat.
In that regard, there are currently no restrictions on foreigners purchasing or renting property in France.
And Paris has a large community of international owners and renters, who enjoy the European lifestyle with second homes in the city, or as expats.
So, what do potential buyers need to think about?
Funding your purchase in Paris
The real question for international buyers is not where you come from, but where your funds come from.
If you are looking to borrow from a French bank, your success in getting a mortgage depends on a few factors. The country of your main residence, how much you earn, and whether you are single or married are all taken into account.
Most French banks will require a minimum down payment of 20%, and require you to have an excellent credit score. Of course, you will also need to provide proof of your assets and income.
But financing your purchase is just the start. There are many other legal requirements and local property laws to understand.
French property law
Another very important thing you need to know about buying property in France is this – the law is very different from other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
For example, in France, real estate transactions go through a notaire (notary), a public official who is responsible for ensuring that you meet all the necessary legal requirements.
The notary will help you finalize the reservation contract with the seller and conduct investigations of the property documents throughout the process. They will also oversee the final signing of the deed of sale for your apartment.
It often seems strange to foreign buyers. And while the notary system can add a layer of complexity to the buying process, it helps to protect both buyers and sellers.
French notaries will also have to do their due diligence and check if the origin of your funds is compliant with European laws that prevent fraud and protect against money laundering.
While it is usually not necessary, some buyers may also seek out the services of a lawyer in their home country, or a French avocat (attorney) for additional legal assistance with the buying process.
French property taxes
One of the only certainties in life! And yes, in France you will also be liable for taxes.
These include both a property tax and a housing tax. Although you shouldn’t forget to factor taxes into your budget when buying a property in Paris, the good news is they may be much lower than you expect.
All the listings on the 56Paris website show the property tax due. This is always the annual amount, which often surprises our international clients.
For example, take a look at this one-bedroom top floor duplex in the Marais.
Move-in ready, this property blends modern and historical elements with a spacious living and dining area, a cathedral ceiling, fireplace, exposed beams, and hardwood flooring.
Speaking your language
At times, the French bureaucracy can be frustrating. And if you don't speak French, it can seem even harder.
As a foreign buyer, you can make your life much easier by making sure you use the services of a bilingual realtor and a bilingual notary.
We would also recommend that you get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at apartments. This will give you a clear idea of how much you can afford to invest and will make the buying process go more smoothly.
Buying an apartment in Paris can be a great investment, but it is important to do your research and understand the legal and financial implications before you make an offer.
With a little planning and passion, you can make your dream of owning an apartment in Paris a reality.
Here to help foreigners buy property in France
There are thousands of real estate agencies in Paris. However, not all of them are best suited for foreign buyers.
But 56Paris is.
We are an English-speaking real estate agency with many years of experience. We have helped hundreds of international buyers find their dream apartments here in the French capital.
So when we are asked ‘Can foreigners buy property in France?’ the answer is yes! To start the conversion, please get in touch with our team and we will assist you.
Photo credit: Andrius Gudelis