Specialists in the sale of Châteaux & Fine French Properties

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Finance and Legal Matters


Dealing with French banks can be complicated in terms of understanding what the right type of loan for your property is, as well as completing the various paperwork required. You may benefit by consulting a French mortgage broker who will know how to complete your application correctly, and will be able to help you through the process, both impartially and with efficiency.
Establishing a mortgage ‘agreement in principle’ is particularly useful at the stage of price negotiation. Sifex Ltd has established relationships with brokers and would be happy to put you in touch with an advisor should you require.

Setting up a French Bank Account

You will need a French bank account if you have a French mortgage. However, even if you don’t, and whilst not mandatory, it is useful to have a local bank account for ease of paying utility bills by direct debits or standing orders. This can be done even if you don’t own a French property (subject to change post Brexit).
Several British banks have French offices, and you should be able to set this up in the UK.
You can open an account with a French bank online with the usual physical documentation (though it may have to be authenticated officially)
If you are relocating, your French bank is a good place to start for insurance services, including health and car.


There are 2 mandatory property taxes to pay annually in France, whether you own Taxes whether you live in France or own a property home.

Taxe foncière

Paid by owner of the property.
Charged every autumn and is levied on buildings and land, and subject to a fine if left unpaid.
A tax for house refused collection (TEOM) may be applicable.

Taxe d’habitation 

Paid by whoever is in occupation on the 1st January. The owner of the property can provide you with a copy of the most recent tax demand. The Taxe d’habitation also includes a TV licence payment.
*At the time of the acte, the taxe foncière is split pro rata between buyer and seller by the notaire. This tax is charged every Autumn.

For more information check www.impots.gov.fr

Legal advice

It is sensible to use the same Notary (Notaire) as the seller as he will know the property well and could save valuable time.
Do employ the services of a bilingual lawyer to go through your compromis de vente. He can also advise you on inheritance law and tax implications, whether to create a S.C.I (Societe Civile Immobiliere) so the property is owned by a company


In view of the implications of currency fluctuations, it is worth taking advice at this stage, since the payment of both the 10% deposit and the balance of the purchase price at the acte de vente will be in euros, as will the payment of the notaire’s fees and taxes. Sifex Ltd would be happy to recommend to you a reputable agent.