A Guide to French Properties


It can be quite daunting if you are at the beginning of the search for your dream French property. Where do you start? Where can I get help?

You can ring us for advice on 0845 0530380 and we will be happy to answer your questions – or you can email questions to info@1st-for-french-property.co.uk.

We suggest some steps below – you may find that some steps are unnecessary – just jump to next suitable step..

Step 1 – Decide how you will finance your French Property purchase

As with any property purchase, you will need to establish how you will finance the purchase. This is particularly important when buying a property in France, as your only option for funding is through raising a Mortgage in France – Unless of course you intend to re-finance a property that you own else where. French Property Mortgages are currently very popular because Interest Rates in France are at a record low, making it much more affordable to own a French Property than in previous years. If you will require a Mortgage in France, we recommend that you discuss your financial circumstances with a French lender at the outset, as it will enable you to establish your budget before commencing your French Property Search. To request contact from an English speaking French Mortgage advisor, offering some of the Best Euro Mortgage Rates, please complete this contact form.

Map Search

Nord Pas-de-Calais
40 Properties

15 Properties

Upper Normandy
13 Properties

Lower Normandy
445 Properties

68 Properties

16 Properties

1 Properties

1 Properties

0 Properties

43 Properties

74 Properties

Western Loire
89 Properties

212 Properties

0 Properties

1125 Properties

866 Properties

751 Properties

489 Properties

413 Properties

8 Properties

372 Properties

1018 Properties

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Step 2 – choosing an area

France is a vast country so it may be difficult to specify exactly the area in which you are looking to purchase. You may be looking for the Best Buys in France and therefore your budget may well dictate the areas that are affordable – The French Property Bargains are generally speaking in more rural areas in Central France. Whatever your area choice & budget, we can help you, as we work with Luxury Estate Agents in the French Riviera right through to Rural Estate Agents in Normandy. France is divided up into regions and each region is divided into departments.  You can click on the regional map or select a department from the drop-down menu under properties for sale in the main menu at top of page.

Step 3 – choosing a property type

Once you have decided on the general areas in which you want to buy, you will need to define the type of property you are looking for. Many people are looking for a specific type of property – gites, French chateau, French Mas, French Cote d’Azur Apartment, etc.

a) From the drop-down menu under “Properties for Sale” it’s possible to run a search by choosing a property type from our popular list >> see property by type
b) Advanced Search: (Situated to the right) This allows you to fine tune your search from our extensive list of categories.

Step 4 – arranging viewings

Most French Property Agents need about a week’s notice. Be aware that Sunday is not normally a viewing day. Some French Property Agents also close on Monday. Half-terms and beginning of school holidays can get booked well in advance.

a) From any property page it is possible to make an enquiry or viewing request, once we receive your request, we will immediately contact the relevant agent to organise this – see contact link on each property description
b) Email us directly – info@1st-for-french-property.co.uk
c) Alternatively, give us a call and we can assist you to confirm viewings: 0845 0530380

Step 5 – The Viewing Trip

Remember, France is a LARGE country; the roads will be unfamiliar and travel can take TIME! We recommend www.mappy.fr for road maps. The viewing trip will have cost you a fair amount and time may not be on your side for lots of further visits, so do ensure that you arrive at your allocated appointment in good time, to avoid a missed opportunity of a potentially perfect property! It’s also worth noting that the French lunch hour (well 2 hours) is sacrosanct – The French Agents have generally rigid appointment slots either side of the lunch break, which is traditionally 12 midday until 2pm. Something that you will have to get round…After all, you are buying into this new lifestyle!!

We recommend viewing no more than 4 to 5 properties per day; take a camera to refresh your memory (it’s easy to forget once you have seen several houses!). Distances between properties can take even longer on the French back roads.

Step 6 – making an offer

Once you have decided on the right property, you should move as quickly as possible to secure the deal, as most French houses for sale are listed with multiple French agencies. Do not be afraid to negotiate! It is normal to make offers in France below the asking price. Allow the French agent to deal directly with the vendor when making an offer on a French Property.

Step 6 – what’s next after an offer is accepted

Most people purchasing in France do not carry out a pre-purchase survey, however you may prefer to arrange this for peace of mind. It is important to note that a survey cannot be used as a condition of sale/purchase so will need to be carried out before the signing of the first contract.
Our Services page has links to our range of services including
– mortgages
– legal help
– timber surveys
– currency exchange

Normally you are looking at 3+ months between making an offer and completion.

Additional Help

a) Worried about the buying process >> read this article
b) Not sure which region >> read our regional guides
c) What will my budget buy me / Cheap French Property >> see our price guide
d) Do you have any books to help me >> see our Book Store
e) I am interested in Investments only >> see our investment guide

More help / FAQ / support >> Help here

Remember if you need help call us on 0845 0530380