Buying a Property in France

French Plans

Overview, hints and tips

Location of the Property

Buyers should search for property across a wide area of Brittany to have the best possible choice, rather than a specific location, unless it is important to live close to a certain town for example.

It is important for buyers to decide if a rural, village, or town location would better suit their lifestyle, whether they require local services such as schools, or if they have any specific requirements such as not wanting close neighbours.

Style of the Property

Brittany has several styles of property built at diffferent periods in time for buyers to choose from, including longères built from stone, rural properties or town houses built from stone or from concrete blocks, néo-bretonne houses built from concrete blocks, and new builds.

Something to suit everyone's taste and requirements.

Size of the Property

The required size of a property to consider will depend on such criteria as its living space (surface habitable), and the number of bedrooms, receptions, and bathrooms needed. Buyers should also consider whether they require a loft area, a basement, or outbuildings, and very importantly how much land they would like.

Property is relatively inexpensive in Brittany, so buyers do have a wide range of options open to them.

Condition of the Property

Properties are available in a variety of conditions, from complete renovation projects, to properties with little or nothing to do, so buyers will make their property search much easier if they decide how much work they are prepared to do, or have carried out by professionals at their new property, in advance of any viewings.


From April 1st 2017, estate agents in France are required to display more information concerning their commission and fees. Where the buyer pays the fees, which is by far the most common way that property is purchased, the sales publicity must display the asking price including the fees, the percentage of fees payable including VAT (honoraires), clearly state that the fees are included, and are payable by the buyer (inclus charge acquéreur), and then show the amount before the fees have been added (hors honoraires). Where the vendor is paying the agency fees, estate agents are required to display the asking price, and clearly state that the fees are payable by the vendor (honoraires charge vendeur).

There are also fees to pay to the notaire when purchasing property. These are sometimes known as notaire's fees, but the biggest proportion of this fee is a registration fee payable to the French state. Buyers should allow around 6.50% to 10.50% of the purchase price in Brittany for these fees, but typically between 7% and 8% for a family home.

There are no other costs for buyers when purchasing a property, except of course for the cost of any improvements that they may choose to make.


Estate Agents and Notaires (some notaires also sell properties) conduct viewings with potential buyers to provide advice and guidance, and most importantly listen to the feedback from buyers to help them find their ideal property.


It is possible for potential buyers to obtain a free mortgage simulation (mortgage in principal) based on their personal financial circumstances before beginning a property search, but a formal offer will not be made in France until after a compromis de vente, or promesse de vente, has been signed.

Making an Offer

Estate Agents/Notaires will negotiate the sale of the property with vendors and buyers, and can advise on the size of an offer that will likely be accepted.

Offers can be subject to certain conditions, such as the need to obtain mortgage finance for example.

Buyers should be in a position to purchase property before making an offer, as once a vendor has accepted an offer, they cannot accept another. Buyers should therefore have the funds available from the sale of a property or from savings, or have the agreement of their bank that mortgage finance will be available before making an offer on a property.

A formal mortgage agreement cannot be made by a bank until after the compromis de vente, or promesse de vente has been signed though.

It may therefore be difficult for buyers to have an offer accepted by a vendor if they need to fund the purchase with the sale of another property.

Once an Offer Has Been Accepted

The Estate Agent or Notaire will need to prepare a dossier for the notaires office so that they can draft a preliminary sales contract, which will be either a compromis de vente, or promesse de vente, which in effect are broadly similar.

Buyers are essentially asked to provide proof of identity and marital status at this stage.

Which type of preliminary sales contract used generally depends on which notaire is dealing with the transfer of the ownership of a property, and it is usually ready to be signed within 2 or 3 weeks of an offer being accepted, when a deposit, which is normally 10% of the selling price, is payable to the notaire.

The signing of the acte de vente generally follows approximately 2 months later, when the balance of the purchase price is payable to the notaire.

A good Estate Agent or Notaire will help buyers every step of the way through the buying process, providing details and explanations when required, or requested.

The Housing Market In Brittany

The housing market in general remains very active. Plenty of properties sell all the time, but there are many more properties for sale than potential buyers, so a competitive asking price for any property is absolutely key to attract these potential buyers.

This oversupply in the market has seen property prices in Brittany fall around 30% from their peaks in 2008.

Property in Brittany therefore offers incredible value for money, as it is very much a buyers’ market, and interest rates are at a record low.

It is a great time to snap up a bargain.


Information Provided By:

Bel Air Homes

Tel: 02 97 27 01 71

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