skip to Main Content

Investing in France, a risky operation if not well accompanied


More and more investors are being accompanied by professionals when buying real estate. Real estate companies receive hefty commissions, which is common knowledge. The expense of the commission may be indirectly passed on to you, for example in the shape of a higher list price, even though it is typically paid by the seller. Additionally, real estate attorneys bill hourly prices. This begs the question: which professionals should be privileged? Do you require a real estate agent or lawyer to assist you in purchasing a French property?

Mortgage loan for non-residents in France?

If you are planning to invest in real estate and want to use a loan for the purchase, it is important to know that banks do not give loans to non-residents on the same terms as they do for French residents. On average, rates for residents are lower than rates for non-residents. This being mainly because of the difficulty that any French bank might face in evaluating a non-resident’s resources and financing capability. Some parameters do still apply, so much so, that banks could be more willing to offer favorable rates, for example if the customers have placed their savings and current accounts in the same establishment delivering the mortgage. More factors apply as well, such as the application fees, the nominal rate, the conditional clause, the deposit, and life insurance.

How to find a property from abroad?

In remote places, and especially if you do not speak French very fluently, it is very common to contact a real estate agent. That way you ensure having access to all the available properties. They usually take up to 8% of the total cost fees, but you could also sometimes benefit from a discount. That being said, if you have the budget, and are willing to work with an agent, France has well-reputed agencies designed for foreign investors. If not, it is always possible to start your seach online via Righmove, LeBonCoin, or per example.

How to manage your property from abroad?

Traveling to France to manage your property can be a time consuming and complicated process. That is why it is fundamental to find the right local management company to support you and your guests, if any. This procedure should give you peace of mind and should eliminate the obligations of owning or visiting your property abroad. Being in diligent hands, your property will be managed by professionals, ensuring you benefit practically, and to the best extend, from your investment.

It’s a smart option to educate yourself as much as you can about the home-buying process, even if you hire a real estate agent. Researching the market worth of nearby houses that are comparable, for instance, helps shield you from pushy agents who could advise you to make a large offer on a house.

Reasons to hire a Real Estate Agent:

Most customers discover that working with an agent makes the complicated process of buying a home easier to navigate. The buying procedure can also be facilitated by an expert agent’s connections with reliable inspectors, mortgage loan officers or brokers, and other individuals. Additionally, they are aware of the customs and practices that are acceptable in your locality. Let us guide you through this regulated profession.

This profession is regulated, so much so that only the holder of a professional card ” transactions sur immeuble et fonds de commerce” can open an agency. Yet, commercial agents can be recruited to work with real estate agents, but they remain intermediaries. If the agent is not required to hold a card, he must be “authorized” by a cardholder. Non-compliance with these rules constitutes a percentage of breaches. So be aware who you are dealing with.

For the DGCCRF (or Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes” in French) there is a problem of lack of information in half of the cases, especially concerning the fee schedules. Moreover, for rental offers, very often it lacks the indication of the surface or the amount of the security deposit.

In addition, despite their extensive knowledge of the negotiating and contracting aspects of the process, skilled agents are unable to provide legal advice. Even though a lawyer’s assistance is not necessary for a routine real estate transaction, real estate agents may encounter legal questions that need to be resolved. You’ll need a real estate lawyer’s assistance in such situations.

Real estate lawyers, a precious tool for your investment:

The real estate lawyer’s first responsibility in a real estate acquisition is to confirm that a few key documents are in order. Since any disagreement following the execution of such contracts could result in legal actions, the promise of sale or sales agreement must be carefully drafted.

To protect the seller from any pitfalls, the real estate lawyer is also responsible for keeping an eye on the acts of the different participants in a purchase project, such as the seller’s notary.

Also, in advance to any real estate acquisition, the foreign buyer must be aware of the taxes and conditions that apply. The assistance of a professional specialized in the field of real estate law, therefore, proves to be an important, if not essential step, so that the foreign investor acknowledges the entire spectrum of his rights and obligations.

And that is where we intervene. In this regard, our real estate lawyers will help you choose the investment that is best suited to your situation and expectations. At Delcade we understand that different people might have different aspirations, and we welcome clients from a variety of backgrounds, income levels, and financial goals. We provide a highly personalized level of services that are entirely focused on establishing our clients’ aspirations. Once we’ve covered all the specific aspects of your investment strategy (from location and type of property to fees, taxes, legality, and other expenses), you’ll be ready to begin your search at ease, ensuring that your investment stays as fruitful as it gets, on the long term!


About the Author :

Business lawyers, bilingual, specialized in acquisition law; Benoit Lafourcade is co-founder of Delcade lawyers & solicitors and founder of FRELA; registered as agents in personal and professional real estate transactions. Member of AAMTI (main association of French lawyers and agents).

FRELA : French Real Estate Lawyer Agency, specializing in acquisition law to secure real estate and business transactions in France.

Paris, 19 Rue du Colisee, 75008 Paris

Bordeaux, 78 Cours de Verdun, 33000 Bordeaux

Lille, 40 Theater Square, 59800 Lille

Back To Top