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French Mortgages

 It is generally not difficult to obtain a mortgage to purchase a property in France and your Coast & Country representative will be able to give you advice. However, there are certain things a potential buyer needs to know.

Firstly, when you sign the “compromis de vente” (or the reservation contract for an off plan purchase) you must have already decided whether or not you are going to take out a mortgage because if not, you will be asked to write out a sentence on the contract in French, and sign confirming that you are not making the contract conditional to raising finance. If you are raising finance, then you must state in the contract the amount, the length and the maximum interest rate you are prepared to pay; this information is very important since, if you do not obtain one or several loan offers within a stated period, you can withdraw from the purchase and not lose your deposit.

Secondly you must have your mortgage arranged and the funds in place before you can sign your title deeds ("acte definitive”) at the notary’s, usually 1 to 3 months after you have signed the initial contract. There are various options as to where to obtain your mortgage or funding to finance your new purchase:

Mortgage through a French bank
. French banks are becoming more and more aware of the importance of the mortgage market in France and as a result are very keen to lend money and at very attractive rates and terms. Currently as a non-resident you can, for example, obtain a 20-year mortgage for 80% of the property value at between 4 and 5%. Should you wish for help or advice, Coast & Country has good working relationships with French banks, offering attractive interest rates.

A mortgage broker. To take a lot of the hard work out of hunting around for their funds, some of our clients obtain a mortgage through a broker, who will sift the market place for the best deal, one that suits your circumstances best. If yours is an unusual case, Coast & Country will be happy to recommend reputable brokers to you.

The process of applying for mortgages in France is not difficult, and usually takes 2 to 3 weeks. If you choose to use a French bank, most of the application process can be carried out by telephone, but you do have to visit the bank in France at least once in person, before you go to the notary’s. The application form itself, wherever you apply, is very similar, asking questions like date of birth, current address, income, expenditure, current mortgage, employment etc. and again your Coast & Country representative can offer help and guidance to make the application quick and painless. Depending on the size of the loan a medical report may be required by the insurance company in order to obtain the insurance required by the bank to cover death, injury etc. suffered by the borrower.

So in summary, obtaining a mortgage for a French property is generally not difficult, especially with our help.

Mortgage documents required These are the basic documents to send following your mortgage application in France:

  • Compromis de Vente or Reservation Contract
  • Personal details, e.g. copy of passport.
  • Last 3 completed tax returns or last 3 payslips with the P60
  • Any document showing that you have the funds to pay for the part of the sales price not covered by the mortgage (for instance a bank statement).
  • Last 3 statements of your personal current accounts
  • If self-employed, a professional "Curriculum vitae"
  • If you have other loans, their depreciation schedules.

The French banks require, in general, that the monthly repayments on the loan do not exceed 30% of your monthly disposable income.

Please note that when buying a property in France with a mortgage, you will be expected to pay an arrangement fee which will vary according to the amount borrowed and the complexity of the case, but ranging between 1.000€ and up to 1% of the loan.

Bank account in France
. Opening a bank account in France is required so that you can pay the monthly instalments on your mortgage and settle different bills related to your property. In order to open an account in France, you have to provide the bank with a copy of your passport together with proof of your home address, and fill out the current account application form. The bank will send you your account details - the so-called RIB or Relevé d’Identité Bancaire. The RIB is required by your French (or foreign) creditors and debtors who wish to carry out operations on your account (credit transfer, standing orders, etc.).

Coast & Country
Updated: January 2007
Document non-contractual.

Whilst every care has been taken in preparing this document, Coast & Country is not responsible for any errors. Laws can and do change. Before signing any binding contract we advise you to take legal and tax counsel/advice by a professional in that field

Last Updated on Friday, 05 November 2010 16:05