France is famed for its delectable cuisine and elite wines, its sunflowers and its lavender. Home to some of the World's most sought after vineyards,
famous artists and pungent perfumeries, it is a country brimming with culture and timeless appeal.
At Magnolia Property we have been helping buyers live their French dream and home owners sell their properties in France since 2004.
The latest properties for sale in France from our private sellers.
The type of property to purchase will depend on your requirements. The French housing market offers plenty of choice in location, style and price. You can buy beach homes, city apartments, suburban family homes, farmhouses, chalets and even vineyards or a château.
A popular choice is to buy a farmhouse or another large property in an area popular with tourists and convert it into a gite or guesthouse, thereby gaining an income as well as being able to make the most of the country lifestyle. This is a great idea but it is advisable to look on websites like Trip Advisor to check the number of gites operating in the area as often supply can outstrip demand making them harder to rent out.
Your idyllic French home may well be a stone constructed cottage or farmhouse on a bit of land where you can enjoy the rural life and keep your horses or a few chickens. France offers many opportunities here but it's also worth considering extra costs such as heating in the winter and any necessary modernisation costs. One of our sellers wrote an article comparing stone vs contemporary buildings in our blog.
For those planning retirement or wanting to buy a second home, new builds and off-plan properties are often the preferred choice. These types of property offer the ultimate in terms of comfort and guarantees, and also constitute a hassle-free, low-maintenance package that appeals to many.
The French government has been trying to improve the quality and quantity of holiday property in the country, and introduced a leaseback scheme. Through this, buyers accept limitations on the amount of weeks per year they are allowed to spend in their property in exchange for a number of benefits, including a guaranteed annual return of around 4.5% for a fixed period, all maintenance costs paid, and VAT repayment on the property. This hasn't always worked out as planned though as this BBC article explains.
France is composed of many regions, fiercely proud of their individual characteristics, creating such a range of choice that it is hard to decide on the one most suited to your needs needs. Almost all of France could be considered for second-home property or investment potential, either due to continuing trends of reliable popularity or by the fact that a region is less developed and less popular, thus offering more of a bargain and possible greater investment potential.
Key hotspots especially popular with the British will offer reliable demand, although prices will be higher, whilst less tourist-saturated areas are likely to offer lower prices and a greater proportion of French neighbours.
With a convenient proximity to England, Normandy has long proved popular with the Brits thanks to its improved climate and surroundings that are not too dissimilar to that of England. Coastal properties tend to reflect prices 30% higher than those inland, fuelled by demand for sea views and easy access to cross-Channel travel.
This area has also proved popular over the generations, with its myriad post-card-perfect chateaux, verdant riverbanks and resplendent towns. Property in the area ranges from cheap shells in need of renovation to modern comfortable homes more suited to British standards.
Provence and the Cote d'Azur prove highly desirable year on year, with the French Riviera especially popular with jet-setting millionaires, it is one of the most expensive residential areas. Sea-side residences can be found for considerably less further west along the south coast, with a three-bedroom off-plan apartment in the reasonably-priced Camargue region costing from just £150,000. Further inland into Provence larger properties can be bought for under £250,000.
As a popular French holiday spot and busy British retiree destination, the property market in Languedoc-Roussillon is buoyant thanks to competition from French and British buyers. Increased access, predominantly provided by expanding TGV routes, has opened up the more tucked-away corners of the country to tourists and potential purchasers, raising house prices as more people discover places such as Strasbourg to the east, Brittany, to the south-west and the south of France.
To complement the strong summer tourist industry France also has a huge winter industry, located in the two main ski areas of the Rhone-Alpes and the Midi-Pyrenees. The Alpes as a more popular ski resot has higher property prices on average £400,00, while the average cost of property in the Haute Pyrenees is £320,000. Beach and golf resorts are good for rentals. New golf resorts are springing up all over France, and a new-build property on one of these can cost as little as £70,000. For those wanting shorter-term and seasonal returns, the Alps, the south of France and Paris probably represent the best opportunities in terms of yield.
Paris provides some of the best property opportunities in France in terms of investment as its market is characterised by consistent demand and a severe shortage of rented accommodation. The resale market is very active because there is little new residential development due to lack of space and tight planning restrictions.
Having found your new home you can now make an offer either verbally or in writing bearing in mind that a written offer that has been accepted is a binding contract which will have been breached if either party pulls out.
Having accepted the offer the seller should take the property off of the market and a Notaire should be appointed to prepare the necessary paperwork. A Notaire is an independent public official whose job is to make sure that the paperwork is legal and all relevant taxes are paid. The Notaire is not the same as an English solicitor and does not represent either party so it would be in your best interest to have your own legal advisor who is fluent in both languages and the French legal system to advise you.
The first legal document drawn up by the Notaire is the Sale Agreement (Compris de Vente) which should contain any clauses that you have agreed with the seller regarding the sale. It is important that this is checked thoroughly as once it is signed you will be asked for a deposit of around 10% which can be lost if you withdraw from the sale/
You do have a seven day cooling off period to change your mind but after that you can lose the deposit and be liable for any fees or damages to the seller. It is also best to pay the deposit to the Notaire rather than the seller or his agent so that it can be returned easily should it be necessary.
Following the seven day period the Notaire will carry out any searches and reports on the property including environmental and energy efficiency reports and check the title deeds to prove that the seller is able to sell. An important report to obtain is to ensure that the property does have any pre-emption rights which allow the local authorities to demand the property is sold to them. The draft of the Transfer Deeds and the results of the searches should take about two months and will be sent to you for perusal along with a date for completion.
On the completion date both parties should attend the Notaire’s office in person to sign the Final Transfer Deed. At this point the balance of the sum owed is due and you should arrange for all relevant utility companies to be notified as you become the new owner from the signing of the Deed.
A glass of Champagne or suitable local tipple from the region you have now moved into would be appropriate.
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Many thanks for the excellent service - selling without using an agent in France is the thing to do. In my case the agents wanted to charge between 20,000 and 25,000 Euros! Ridiculous! Especially as they did nothing and I had to do the write-up and photos for them as their efforts were dreadful! So, many thanks to Magnolia."
Clare de Galleani, Nouvelle-Aquitaine