How to save money on a house purchase in France

Be wise, and learn before buying

When buying a house in France, particular attention needs to be paid to many aspects of the house purchasing process. Not only do many need much renovation work, and costs need to be estimated for this in a country where you need to speak the language — but legal tangles can be a nightmare if you don’t know what you are doing. It is vital to seek assistance when signing any contract as the law within France dates back to Napoleon’s years and is often complex. Add to that the astonishment of seemingly cheap prices, and many buyers make the mistake of losing money, simply because they don’t know how things work.


Step 1

Seeking a house.

If you have time to drive through the countryside in the region you are interested, you may save yourself thousands of Euros. The difference between seeking out those bargains on your own and answering websites is that websites register who you are. If you have received details on a house from a business advertisement, beware. You will be responsible for the payment of fees if you decide to buy the house for which they furnished details. If, on the other hand, you drive through the streets and country roads of France and find a private house sale «A Vendre» sign, you won’t have to pay estate agent or negotiation fees if you contact the vendor direct.

Step 2

See the same house in estate agent and notaire’s window?

Before getting details or showing an interest in any house they have for sale, find out what their commission is. The difference in commission between a Notaire and an Estate agency may mean that you can save a lot of money on the purchase. Then and only then, when you have this information, can you ask for details on houses, knowing what your expected outlay will be.

Step 3

Be ready to purchase.

Often people from other countries come ill prepared. If you mean serious business and intend to buy, allow to have money available for a ten per cent deposit. The difference this makes is that if you cannot offer this, many vendors will be wary about accepting your offer. You don’t have time to think about it. If you seriously intend buying, buy now before the prices go up.

Step 4

Buy off season.

The seasons which are popular for house buying are Summer and Spring. If you buy in the winter, chances are you will get a good deal, as buyers are in short supply.

Step 5


Find out how long a house has been on the market. This is vital to bartering. If it went on the market last week, it is unlikely that the seller will take a huge cut in the price. However, if the house has been on the market for a while, chances are you have room for generous negotiation.

Step 6

Barter on the state of the house.

Now is a great time to barter. With new electricity installation regulations coming into effect and certainly changes to septic tank regulations, many sellers want to sell quickly. Of course you will have to make the house conform to modern level-1s, but often this is less costly than you may think. It certainly gives room for a lot of negotiation in the price and also helps to make a house more affordable.

Step 7

Barter the Notaire for the negotiation fee.

Notaires are often flexible in the fees which they charge for negotiation. If your negotiation is particular trouble free, you can debate with the Notaire on the price they are charging for negotiation. It is wise to do this before the whole procedure starts, but if you have forgotten and the sale is negotiated easily, do not be afraid to ask for a discount.

Step 8

Work out the difference in mortgage costs.

Will your income be in Euros or another currency? This matters. If you earn money in Euros, then why not look for a French mortgage? Often these are at preferential rates to other countries. Check out the difference between borrowing money at home or in France itself.

You will Need
• Strong walking shoes.
• A little French language skill.
• Patience.

Tips & Warnings
• Always be aware of renovation costs before buying a property. This allows you to budget for repairs.


Add a comment



Text commentary: