Specialists in the sale of Châteaux & Fine French Properties since 1989

Finance and Legal Matters

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.

It can be challenging opening an account but we recommend HSBC or Britline at Credit Agricole. We also have a contact at Banque Populaire - we can pass on this contact to registered clients


Unfortunately, Sifex cannot intervene in your mortgage matter, as it is dependent on your country of origin. However, it is important to note that obtaining a mortgage for larger properties, such as a chateau, has become increasingly challenging with French banks.

Sifex Ltd has established relationships with a small number of brokers and would be happy to put you in touch with an advisor should you require.


There are 2 mandatory property taxes to pay annually in France, whether you live in France or own a second 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 refuse collection (TEOM) may be applicable.

Taxe d’Habitation

This is no longer applicable to primary home owners.

It may be still applicable to secondary residences.

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 license 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 your own Notary (Notaire) as he will work for you, communicate with the seller’s Notary on your behalf and protect your interests.
It can also be useful to hire a bilingual lawyer to go through your contracts if necessary. 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.

We have an excellent currency broker who we work closely with who can help you with all of this. They also have a very good system where you can buy the currency when the rate is advantageous to you or fix a rate in advance that you are happy with.

You can significantly reduce the cost of buying by as much as around £20,000 per €1m by using a good currency broker.
See our Currency Page for more information.

Regional Information

France is a large and varied country with each region and indeed each department unique from its neighbours. Our guide to each department can help you to understand more about the nuances of each area.

Our latest listings

We have new properties arriving everyday, here you can see our latest listings to be added to our portfolio.

Buying In France

Read our guide to buying a property in France. The process could be slightly different to your own countries process.