French Property FAQ

Our answers to frequently asked questions by our French property clients.

Do you deal with lease back ownership purchases and sales?

We are able to deal with such matters, however such transactions tend to be more complex than a standard purchase. It is important to understand such methods of property purchasing in detail.

We can also assist with leaseback sales although again, these tend to be more complex than standard sales.

How long will my matter take?

A conveyance in France can typically take anywhere between three and six months to complete. This is partly to do with how fast the estate agent and notaire are able deal with the matter in France, how quickly the other side deals with matters their end, and also whether the purchase is being financed with a mortgage.

Do you provide cross border tax advice?

We provide cross-border advice on inheritance tax and estate planning matters, and also capital gains tax but we do not usually advise on cross-border income tax. For this you should seek a specialist accountant.

Do you provide a fixed fee? What are your charges?

We can provide you with a fixed fee for your matter and will need to review your documentation in order to provide you with this. The work we carry out is bespoke and there is no “one size fits all”. Once we have a clear idea of your matter including exactly what advice you are look for from us then we will be able to provide you with a quotation.

Do I need to have a Notaire involved when buying or selling a property in France

Yes, the notaire draws up the sale contract and final title deed, receives the purchase monies and ensures the correct tax is paid to the state.

How do I prepare for my initial meeting?

Think carefully about the details of your matter. Make a list of the main points you want to make or the questions you want to ask. Get together any paperwork that might be relevant and put it in some order so you can refer to it quickly. This will make it faster and easier for your solicitor to understand your circumstances and give you the appropriate advice.

Why do I need to complete the Questionnaire or submit any documents at the enquiry stage?

This will help us to gain a better understanding of your situation and how we can best assist you with your matter based on the necessary information you have provided to us.

Why do I have to provide I.D?

If we have not acted for you before or a solicitor has not taken instructions from you for some time, new government money laundering regulations mean you must prove who you are. This means you will have to show your solicitor or somebody acting on their behalf some personal identification documents that can include:

  • current signed passport (or certified)
  • photo-card driving license (or certified)
  • identity card
  • recent gas, electricity or other household bill dated within the last three months (or certified).

What does a title deed look like?

It will likely have a coloured cardboard cover around it with the notaire’s details on the front. It should be about 30 pages long. If you have a document which is only two or three pages long then this is an attestation.

Should I get a surveyor?

If you are at all concerned about the structure of the property then as in the UK it is wise to instruct a surveyor. We have a list of bilingual surveyors on our website.