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French Buyers' Info

  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Austria

Property Restrictions for Foreigners

What is the purchase process for a newbuild property in France?

France is one of the most secure countries in the world when it comes to buying off-plan property as buyers’ interests and money are protected.

1. Placing an option
Some developers will block an apartment for you if you have booked flights to visit. When you have decided to buy a specific property most developers allow you to ‘place an option’ on the property thereby taking it off the market for a short period. This provides you with time to prepare your finances and gives the developer time to draw up a reservation contract.

2. Reservation contract
The first step is to sign a reservation contract and pay a deposit, which is usually 5%.
All deposits are held in Escrow by the appointed notary. The notary is a government officer and official third party in every property transaction who ensures safe transfer of ownership.

3. Cooling off period
Once you receive the counter-signed reservation contract you have a 10 day cooling off period during which you can still exercise your right to withdraw. Even after the cooling off period you still have the right to cancel and get your deposit back if your mortgage application is refused.

4. Signature of the notary’s contract (VEFA)
This must be physically signed in France in the notary’s office but most buyers sign a power of attorney in favour of the notary’s secretary or another responsible person to sign on their behalf as this is a formality and they do not want to travel to France just to sign. Depending on your citizenship may need to have your power of attorney ratified by a governmental authority (e.g. the Foreign Office in the UK).  On signature of the VEFA you will need to transfer the funds to the notary.

Information correct as of 1st January 2024. This may change as rules and regulations change often, so please contact us directly if you have any specific enquiries.