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


Some of our most asked questions answered for you. Click on the questions to see the answers.

What is the best way to use Sifex?

The Sifex website is designed to be as user-friendly as possible! If you are searching for a prestigious property (a chateau, manoir or vineyard), our website provides an extensive selection of some of the finest properties currently on the French market.
This enables our clients to have an unbiased overview of available properties and compare prices and types of properties in various parts of France. On the Home page just scroll down to the map area and select the region that you want along with special features such as ‘swimming pool’ and your price range, and this will take you through to a listing that reflects your search criteria.
Chateaux have their own unique section in the menu at the top as do Fine Properties and Commercial Properties.

What costs are included in the advertised property price?

The asking prices listed on our website include the French-mandated agent's commission unless stated otherwise. Generally speaking the only exceptions to the rule are vineyards where a net price is quoted; in the details, it explains what the price quoted does not include (usually stocks and standing crop), and details the agency commission to be added as well as legal costs, i.e. Notaire's fees and taxes.

What are Notaire's fees and taxes?

In the majority of cases, the selling price of a property is quoted exclusive of buying costs, i.e. Notaire's fees and taxes. The transaction costs of buying a property in France are on average between 7% and 8% of the purchase price agreed upon if the property is more than five years old. The fees are payable in addition to the purchase price at the time of completion ('acte de vente'). These costs or fees cover State and local government taxes, property registration fees (equivalent to stamp duty) and the notaire's remuneration.

What tasks does the Notaire handle?

The Notaire handles the conveyancing of the property sale and all the searches, as previously described in how the buying process works. They are also responsible for registering a mortgage, should there be one, at the Bureau des Hypothèques, for which there is an additional charge (in the region of 1%).

How does the property buying process work in France?

Once a suitable property is found and an offer/purchase price is agreed between the vendor and the buyer, the buyer signs a first contract, the 'Compromis de Vente', and at this point also pays a deposit which is normally between 5% and 10% of the agreed purchase price. After both parties have received and signed the 'compromis', there follows a cooling-off period of seven days during which the buyer may change his/her mind and choose to withdraw from the contract without any financial penalty. The Notaire then carries out the conveyancing of the property/legal work relating to the sale and executes the necessary checks and searches. Upon completion of the Notaires' preliminary work, a date is agreed for completion of the sale. Cleared funds for the balance of the purchase must be transferred by the purchaser to the Notaire before the final contract can be signed. The final contract, the 'Acte de Vente' is then signed by both parties and the notaire, and ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.

What are the annual property taxes?

Two annual property taxes apply in France. Tax rates are determined by local governments and consequently vary in different parts of the country. The taxes are as follows:
Taxe foncière is charged every autumn. It is a tax imposed on buildings and land and is payable by the owner of a French residential property. This tax funds the local services offered by the commune and is determined by the local authority but is collected by the central government tax authority. At the time of the signing of the 'acte de vente', the taxe foncière is split pro rata between buyer and seller by the notaire.
Taxe d'habitation is paid by whoever is in occupation on 1st January. It is a local residential tax and payable by the occupier of a French residential property. The amount payable is determined by the local commune but the tax is collected by the central government tax authority.

Why should I login/register?

If you're new to the SIFEX website and looking to buy a property in France, we highly recommend creating an online account. By doing so, you can save properties you are interested in and easily access them in the future. Another valuable feature of having an account is the email alert service, which notifies you of new properties that match your search criteria. If your preferences change, you can modify your requirements online very easily or opt-out of the email alerts at any time.
Creating an account on the SIFEX website is a convenient way to manage and keep track of property listings that match your requirements and reflect the activity of the market.

Can I save details of properties that interest me?

You can save details to your viewing basket in the My Sifex section of the website provided you have registered which is a free service that carries no obligation.

Can you arrange property viewings for me?

At Sifex we specialise in arranging sensible itineraries for our fully registered clients, many of whom come from overseas and have a tight schedule in which to view a number of properties that can be scattered over a wide area. The maximum possible notice is advisable, especially in the case of Chateaux as vendors are not always living on the site and may prefer to be present during visits. As long as we are given enough advance warning (preferably at least ten days), appointments can be arranged in a sensible progression to ensure that the itinerary is achievable in the time that is available, provided we know the following: when you are travelling and where to, where you are leaving from and when, whereabouts you will be based and what you want to see.
We have since 2022 introduced a new fee structure. Once you have fully registered you can discuss this further with your Sifex dedicated agent.

Can you give me advice on mortgages, tax planning, inheritance?

We have close relationships with experienced mortgage brokers, tax planning experts and bi-lingual lawyers who are extremely well versed in both the tax and inheritance angles of purchasing in France and can also check over the sale contracts for you to ensure everything is in order.

What is the tax situation in France for international buyers ?

Sifex can put you in touch with experienced professionals who will be able to explain the legal and tax implications of buying property in France.

What method should we use to pay the deposit?

You will need to check with the notaire in France. Generally is is necessary to have deposited cleared funds in the notaire's bank account prior to signing. As these transactions can take several days it is wise not to leave it until the last minute, otherwise the whole process may have to be put on hold pending the arrival of the funds, at considerable inconvenience to the parties involved (both buyer and seller) if they have travelled some distance. We can put you in touch with our recommended specialist.

Why buy a property in France?

Ever-increasing numbers of foreign buyers are investing in French property and the French way of life. French property offers excellent value for money in a country renowned for a rich culture and historical heritage, a slower pace of life, an acclaimed gastronomy, a wonderful climate, varied countryside and plenty of space. France is the world's number one tourist destination.

Can I sell my property through Sifex?

If the property you want to sell matches the profile of the Sifex website we will be happy to contact one of our colleagues in France to see if they are able to come and meet you and advise on the likely asking price etc. In due course, we will then list the property on our main site.

How can I be sure that a property of interest is still for sale?

We contact the agents with whom we collaborate on a regular basis to update the status of properties. Properties that are Under Offer should be updated regularly. Inevitably, because it is not a static market, there are instances when vendors who have listed their property with multiple agents do not inform all their agents when they have found a buyer. This kind of anomaly normally comes to light when making appointments to visit a property. If a property goes under offer whilst an applicant is travelling, as very occasionally happens, this is just extremely unfortunate and there is nothing anybody can do to safeguard against such events in an active market.

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.