Buying a House in France - Guidance through the Process

France is our nearest neighbour and is one of the most popular countries in which British nationals buy property and retire to. With spectacular beaches, mountain regions, lakes and beautiful countryside it is easy to understand why.

There are no restrictions on foreign nationals wishing to buy property in France.  Property ownership in France is around 65% of the population, similar to that in the UK, which means that there is a wide market for foreign purchasers. Buying a property abroad is a big step and for most people real estate is the biggest purchase that they will ever make. So it is important to make sure that your purchase goes smoothly without any problems you did not anticipate.

Giambrone & Partners residential real estate lawyers have years of experience assisting clients with property purchase overseas, guiding them through the unfamiliar procedures and the documentation required. Our lawyers in our Lyon office will be by your side through the entire process.

Depending on where you choose to buy in France, there is a vast difference between the cost of residential property in the UK compared to France, as was recently reported in the press where a British couple swapped their lifestyle in the UK selling their four bedroomed home in Kent and buying a nine bedroomed chateau in rural France. Our lawyers point out that in France your money can often buy a property that is so much more extensive than in the UK.  

Angela Falqui an associate in the Lyon office commented “there are different sale and purchase contracts in France and there are issues that must be avoided, such as individuals passing off a property as theirs when they do not own it.  We can easily identify such a situation and prevent our clients from falling into such a trap.” Angela further pointed out “we can also review and guide you through all the required documents, such as,  the property’s diagnostic report (Dossier de Diagnostic Technique) or DDT that your seller must provide detailing the condition of the property. With expert legal advice throughout the transaction, your property purchase will be protected from any risks”.

Our highly experience residential real estate lawyers can also assist with associated issues such as a visa if you intend to relocate to France or visit for longer than 90 days.  You will require a Long Stay Visa Carte de Sejour which is issued to foreign residents and can be renewed. There are income requirements, a retired foreign resident must be self-supporting and may not participate in any work or other professional activity. Valid health insurance is required and there must be no threat to either France or French citizens therefore an applicant may not have a criminal record.

The documentary requirements to make an application are as follows:

  • A valid passport
  • Three passport photographs that meet the French requirements
  • Evidence of where you will live
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient income

Our lawyers will assist you in every way throughout the entire procedure.

Angela Falqui provides valuable support and insights in matters relating  to immigration,Angela Falqui corporate and commercial law and real estate. Angela's areas of expertise include international law, in particular, international contract law, French law and comparative procedures between Italy and France, European Law and EU regulations, real estate, immigration law and she has gained experience in Tunisian law.


If you are considering buying a property in France for more information please email Angela’s clerk Bruno Diniz, b.diniz@giambronelaw.com or please click here.