Real Estate in France

Buying a house abroad is an important step for anyone There are many factors to consider. It is exciting but also can be a stressful time.

If you would like to buy property in France, our English-speaking lawyers in our offices in France are here to help you. Before you embark on the purchase there are some important factors that you need to consider. 

Initially, the first of two contracts is drawn up - Compromis de Vente. This contract will outline the personal circumstances of both the purchase and the vendor, such as their marital status, nationality also whether they have previously resided in France. The contract will include all the terms related to the purchase including a description of the property, the purchase price, the amount of deposit as well as the findings of the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT) survey amongst other information.

It is highly recommended that following the purchase of your French property you should draft a will that clearly indicates under which laws of succession you wish your estate to be disposed of. The EU Succession Regulation (EU 650/2012), known as Brussels IV, was introduced in 2015 in an attempt to unify succession laws across EU member states.

Additionally, nothing prevents a foreign buyer from setting up a company to acquire; once again depending on the status which has been chosen, the legal and financial requirements of the property acquired can differ.

Financing a property purchase by a non-resident

The acquisition of French real estate requires significant bank transfers. These transfers are verified by intermediaries. Notaries must also check the origin of funds, as to guard against money laundering. They could be called upon to make declarations, if there are major doubts in terms of the origin of the funds (TRACFIN). Notaries must also ensure transaction security, as they are responsible for both the foreign buyer and seller.

Applicable taxation

The tax obligations for a property purchased in France need to be made clear to a foreign buyer: the cost, various taxes,and fees. But also, the taxes which will need to be regulated depending on if the property will be a main residence or an investment for rental purposes. The choices made during the purchase will often depend on the taxation which is applicable during the ownership of the property or during its subsequent resale (VAT, capital gains, intervention by an accredited representative, etc.).

If you are looking to buy a property in France, our English-speaking lawyers at our firm in France are here to help you every step of the way.

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