Help / FAQ

1st for French Property endeavour to offer support and help in buying your Property in France. We hope the information below will help you at every stage of the process! Of course, at any time you can call us during UK business hours (Mon-Fri 9:00 to 17:00 GMT) on 0845 0530380.

Tell me more about……………..

Buying a property    [Click here]
Living in France    [Click here]
Advertising    [Click here]
Immobilier / Notaires    [Click here]


First Steps in buying a property
What is the procedure in France? [Procedure]
Finding a property……
Do you know the region you are interested in? [Select region]
Do you know the department you are interested in? [Select department]
Do you know the type of property you are interested in [Select by property type]
I really do not know where to start – please help! [Contact us]

Property Details
Property details seem to be limited! What can I do?
In general, property descriptions in France are minimalist! Particularly the cheaper properties. They do not take room measurements! Some agents are happy to respond to specific questions but be aware that during holiday periods their main priority is showing people property. Internet-based Immobiliers receive many emails and so responses can be limited. If you want more detail please use the enquiry form (see the Enquire link in the property description) with the specific information you need. They often have more photos .

Is the property available?
Most agents update their property details on a weekly basis. In France, a property may be in the hands of up to 12 agencies. A consequence is the owner “forgets” to update all the agencies when the property is finally sold. This can be extremely annoying but agents can truly believe that a property is still for sale and they only know the sale status when they ring up the owner to say that they want to visit!

Is the price negotiable?
Quite often! Do not be afraid to bargain – it is normal. However, do bear in mind the lower price market is very competitive and you can never be sure what negotiations are occurring with the other Agencies involved.

What is included in the price?
Most agents include the Agency Fee in the property price. In most cases the Notaire fee is extra – this includes the legal costs and taxes. We ALWAYS advise checking what is included in the price.

Legal Costs / Notaire fees?
The property transaction in France is handled by the Notaire. It is usual for the Notaire to act for both the buyer and seller. The Notaire is effectively a government official and CANNOT favour either party. You can ask for an alternative Notaire to act for you – there is no extra charge. Charges: depends on the value of the property (6 to 9% approx of the agreed price). If you use a UK-based solicitor we recommend that you check that they are familiar with French Property Law – otherwise they can cause problems. We have an independent service that will help you through the legal process – click here for legal help

Typical Notaire fees:

up to  % of purchase price
50,000 euros  8.26
80,000 euros 7.43
100,000 euros 7.25
150,000 euros  6.78
200,000 euros  6.59
250,000 euros  6.47
300,000 euros  6.39
360,000 euros  6.33
400,000 euros  6.30
446,000 euros  6.27
480,000 euros  3.25


Viewing Property
Where is this property located?
Every property has a map link (see Location Map in the property description). However, not all properties will have the town declared or a valid map link. Unfortunately, the British have a reputation for turning up unannounced and stomping all over the owner’s land. In some cases, the Brits will knock on doors and expect to look around. This is not appreciated by the French and many French people ask for the location NOT to be published. In aadition, there have been security issues where burglars have been able to identify empty properties so you can understand vendors will insist that the exact location is not revealed.

How long will it take to get there?
France is a much larger country than the UK. We often find that the British underestimate journey times. Please allow plenty of time to get to locations. In many cases, the Estate Agent will expect to meet you at his office and then drive out to the property. Please arrive promptly as the agent often has a full diary and will not be happy to cancel other appointments. We recommend the use of for route maps, calculating journey times and avoiding speed cameras!

Can I walk into an estate agent and see a property immediately?
Many rural Immoblier (Estate Agents) who use the Internet get booked up in advance for viewings. We advise that you book appointments at least a week in advance. We have one immobilier in Normandy who is typically booked up for 3 weeks in advance. For school half-terms and the beginning of school holidays book at least 2 weeks in advance. Also remember that if you are travelling by RyanAir, Easyjet, FlyBe, etc. they may be fully booked at these peak times!

How do I make an appointment?
You can book appointments directly through us by telephone or email. We require the agent reference numbers (see the property description) and the dates you will be able to view. Do allow for travelling time. We recommend no more than 4 viewings per day unless the properties are in close proximity.

What days can I view (Bank holidays, Sundays, lunch hours)?
In most cases, Immobilier are closed on Sunday and some will close on other days, typically Monday. France has more Bank Holidays than the UK and they will close on Bank holidays. July and August is NOT a good time for viewing – many businesses close during this period. The French go on holiday in July and August and access to properties can be difficult during this period.

Private Sales
Although the vast majority of property of the web site is available through Immobilier in France, we also list Private Sales. Private advertisers can add their properties directly to the site. We do not endorse any Private Sales. Remember that ALL transactions in France must be conducted by a Notaire – do NOT enter into any transaction that does not use a Notaire. Please take the appropriate legal advice before proceeding with a Private Sale purchase.

Can you provide more details about Private Sales?
NO, sorry! You need to contact the advertiser directly. The advertiser adds their property directly to our web site without any interaction from 1st for French Property. Please do not contact us for additional contact information – we do not have any additional contact information.

How do I get a survey?
In France it is unusual to get a survey done! Buyer beware, though. It is common for the French to ask a builder to provide a quote to “renovate” the property. Your Agency contact will be able to advise on a Survey or Quotation. Surveys costs are similar to the UK.

How do I go about renovation?
We recommend that you use French registered artisans. All artisans who are registered (ask for their SIRET number) have to provide a guarantee. It is important to keep those guarantees. If you sell your property later a French buyer will want the guarantees.

Where can you can find builders in France?
If possible get somebody to recommend a builder to you in the locality!

My Properties
Can we keep a list of properties that we are interested in?
We have a tool called “My Properties”. As you find properties that you are interested in – you click on “Add to My Properties” button. You can also save searches to “My Properties”.

Mailing List
Can you add us to a mailing list?
We use an automatic mailing system called “Alert Me!”. You will find a link to this service where the properties are listed. You add your criteria and email address. Then, when a property matches your criteria you will automatically receive a property alert.  You can unsubscribe at any time.

How do I unsubscribe?
Every email we send to you has the unsubscribe information at the end of the email. In most email clients this is a live link – just click on it. If not, you can copy the url and paste it into your browser.

Data Protection
Any information collected from the web site – for example, newsletter Subscriptions or “Alert Me!” – are used solely for our marketing of French Property only. Your information will not be sold of transferred to any other 3rd party. We, or are partners, use the information to send you property details or information related to property purchases in France.

Are mortgages expensive in France?
Euro based mortgages are relatively cheap in comparison to UK rates but they are subject to fluctuations in the £ / Euro exchange rate. In April 2006, the variable rates start at about 2.9%. Alternatively, you may wish to re-mortgage your UK property to release funds in the UK – please contact a mortgage broker for advice. => [more about French euro mortgages]

How much deposit?
Typically expect to put down 30% but you can negotiate!

Can you help to arrange a mortgage?
Our mortgage broker can help you => [Mortgage help]


Banks – do I need an account?
You will need to transfer money to France during the purchase but your British bank will be able to transfer the money for you. You will need to give the SWIFT and IBAN codes to your bank. When you have purchased your property you WILL need a bank account to pay utility bills and local taxes.

Using a currency exchange service could save you up to 4% when compared to using a high street bank and there are no hidden fees or commissions which can mean significant savings on your international money transfer! [more about currency exchange]


Private Property Advertising on the web site
I would like to advertise my property on the web site – how? => [Property advert]

How much text can I add on a Feature Advert?
Unlimited text!

Can I edit my advert?
Yes – you can with Feature adverts; => [Login]
The Login name is the Contact Name you used in your contact information; your password was also created at the same time by you. If you have forgotten your password, you can recover it by using the facility on the Login form.
Once you have logged on – click the “Edit” link; DO NOT USE delete link! Make changes to your property details and then click on the Edit Listing BUTTON to save the changes.

Cannot save my “Edit” changes
If you are editing your property details, you MUST save your changes by clicking on the Edit Listings button. You may need to scroll down some way to see this button.

Cannot edit my Contact Details
For security reasons you are not allowed to edit your contact details (Contact Name, password, email address and telephone numbers). Our webmasters can change these for you – our webmasters charge £10 + VAT per set of changes.

Can I re-order the images?
The images display in the ORDER that you add them (the images are sequentially numbered). So the first image you add will be displayed first.
To re-order: login, delete ALL images, and upload them in the order you want them displayed.

How can I format the text in Feature Advert description?
You can use any html commands to format text – such as <P>, <BR>, <B>

For example the following example:
<B>This is bold text</B> followed by a line break <BR> – will produce the following result……

This is bold text
followed by a line break

Using a paragraph break

<P><B>This is bold text</B></P><P>followed by a paragraph break </P>

will produce the following result……

This is bold text

followed by a paragraph break

After making changes – please click the Edit Listing button.

I am unable to add a Property – can you help?
Our webmasters can create the advert for you – they charge an additional £50 + VAT. So the total cost advertise is £200 + VAT.
Please EMAIL the property details* to

* Details = Property description as per our property description format (see any property description on the web site). Remember you are responsible for the accuracy of the description.
I have added my advert but I do not see how to pay?
The link to PayPal can be seen in the right hand column when editing property.

We are constantly looking to partner with more Immobilier, Notaires, Agent Commerciaux in France. You MUST have an English speaking member of staff for our clients. We have a dedicated site for our partners. You can discover more about the way we work with you, the contracts, and the advantages of working with 1st for French Property => [Immobilier]