Buying property in France as a foreigner | Guide for expats

26 June 2024
Buy property in France as a foreigner
Buy property in France as a foreigner


Yes, foreigners, including non-residents, can buy property in France. There are no restrictions on the type or size of the property, whether it’s a chalet, apartment, hotel, etc. You can buy property in your own name, with your partner or children, or even in the name of a company.

Deposits: You can make a deposit from a foreign account. You will need a valid ID and to set up a French bank account. Your real estate agent can guide you through this process and assist with after-sale services.

Reasons to Buy Property in France

  • Luxury escape
  • Future retirement
  • Change of scene
  • Investment
  • Family home for holidays

Contact an experienced real estate agent like Vendome International Property to help you navigate the process smoothly.

List of Cities in France and Their Market Values


  • Economic Hub: A blend of historical charm and modern innovation.
  • Real Estate Market: Competitive prices compared to London and Frankfurt, with diverse properties (new buildings, Haussmannian architecture, etc.).
  • Attractions: Major political, economic, and cultural center with the 2nd largest airport in Europe (Roissy).
  • Investment: High international influence ensures continuous demand and good investment opportunities.

Lake Geneva

  • Location: Haute-Savoie, at the foot of the French and Swiss Alps.
  • Activities: Skiing, snowboarding, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking, cycling, and more.
  • Convenience: Close to Geneva, with its international airport and train station.
  • Real Estate Market: Booming, with high demand for housing in the Lac Léman area. Offers luxury villas, apartments, and townhouses.

French Riviera

  • Attractions: Golden beaches and beautiful villages, 310-330 days of sunshine per year.
  • Activities: Golf, sailing, cultural visits, excellent dining, and more.
  • Real Estate Market: Desirable for overseas buyers. Properties here hold or increase in value. Offers both luxury villas and affordable apartments.
  • Convenience: Nice international airport connects to 100 destinations. High rental potential and capital growth.

How to Find a Property in France and Avoid Scams

  1. Understand Your Requirements: Determine if the investment is for personal use, pure investment, or both.
  2. Decide on Location: Choose a region based on your preferences.
  3. Set a Realistic Budget: Compare similar properties in the chosen region.
  4. Approach a Professional Agent: A reputable real estate agent can guide you through the process.
  5. Review the Property: Ensure it matches your criteria.
  6. Proceed Quickly: Good properties do not stay on the market for long.

Use a Notaire: All property purchases in France must go through a notaire, ensuring the transaction’s legality and authenticity.

Types of Properties and Return on Investment (ROI)

Classic Freehold

  • Ownership: You own the property outright.
  • Usage: Personal use or rental.
  • Flexibility: Full control over the property.

Leaseback Developments

  • Concept: Buy a property and lease it back to a management company for 9-11 years.
  • Benefits: 20% VAT rebate, guaranteed rental income (4-5%), prime locations, hassle-free investment.

DIY Leaseback

  • Concept: Buy a new “classic freehold” property and lease it commercially to benefit from a 20% VAT rebate.
  • Requirements: Rent for a minimum period each year, cannot occupy the property for more than 182 days per year.
  • Flexibility: Potentially higher returns with some commitment to renting.

How Do I Get a Bank Loan/Mortgage?

  1. Apply for Mortgage: You have 45 days to apply after signing the reservation contract and one month for initial approval.
  2. If Mortgage is Declined: The contract is canceled, and you can claim back the deposit or continue as a ‘cash buyer’.
  3. Loan Conditions: French banks lend up to 80% of the purchase price for classic freeholds and 70% for leasebacks. Usually, you need to hold 20% of the purchase price in a savings account with the bank.
  4. Loan Duration and Rates: Loans typically last 5, 10, 15, or 20 years. Interest rates are currently low, making long-term fixed rates attractive.


With its regulated property market and attractive investment opportunities, France is an excellent place to buy property. Whether you’re looking for a luxury villa on the French Riviera, a charming apartment in Paris, or a serene lakeside home by Lake Geneva, France offers diverse and lucrative real estate options. Working with a professional real estate agent and understanding the types of properties and financing options can ensure a smooth and successful property purchase in France.

Le Snow Roc
In the heart of portes du soleil
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In praise of the poet

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