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Things to Consider When Buying Land in France

One of the major attractions of rural life in France is its rich culture and heritage, as well as its farming tradition. The countryside has always been a magnet for people living in Paris and other urban centres in France. It is increasingly so too for expats and foreign investors. Many people are now buying land in France in order to grow wine and even to pursue a career as a farmer!

There is a wide diversity of agricultural land available to purchase in France, from arable farms to vineyards and an abundance of biodynamic wines. France is a popular place for expats and immigrants to live and work, as it offers all the opportunities of traditional life, while maintaining its unique cultural aspects.

Planning Permission

If you are buying property in France, whether it be in provence, the French riviera or the loire valley, you are most likely planning to build on that land. Therefore, before deciding on where to buy French property, you should investigate the possibility of obtaining planning permission. French authorities can vary greatly in the management of planning laws. Of course, building land is rather more expensive than land on which it is not possible to build, so take extreme care.

Just like French residents, as a foreign buyer you should understand the buying process. This means that you need to make yourself aware of all laws and requirements for planning and building regulations. Another important point to consider when undertaking a property purchase in France is that not all types of French property require planning permission. Some rural areas may not need planning permission for historically important structures such as old farmhouses and orchards. It is up to the local council to decide whether you need planning permission for any structure.

If you plan to build a new home in France, make sure to obtain planning permission beforehand. Some local authorities in France actually demand planning permission before granting permission for a new home development, in order to ensure the project complies with local and national building regulations. Before entering into a binding contract for the purchase of French real estate, find out if, under French law, planning permission is required for a particular project, and contact the local authorities in the area.

French Property Taxes

When purchasing French property, it’s essential to take into consideration property tax and other costs. There are multiple taxes to take into consideration such as stamp duty or taxe d’habitation. Costs¬†would include the notary fee or ‘notaire‘s fee‘.

Some real estate developments are exempted from sales tax in France. The amount of tax depends on a number of factors, including location and size of development, type of development and its age and purchase price . Many developers choose to remain neutral in order to minimize their tax bill. This means they buy a piece of property and then re-zone it to use as a residential unit or an office building, etc., without altering the land itself. The majority of developers however, will apply for planning permission before construction commences.

Once you have purchased the land, you may needs to take into consideration matters such as capital gains tax, inheritance tax, wealth tax and, if deriving an income from the land, income tax.

The French Property Market

Local estate agents will be able to help you identifying any opportunities in the French property market. Depending on the property price you might wish to consider obtaining a French mortgage, though this can be complex without evidence of a local income. That said, there are specialist mortgage brokers who can advise on.

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Property Purchase

Available in the following locations: Normandy, Paris.

* If your local town is not listed, a lawyer from our nearest office will be happy to assist you.


1Who is this Service for?

Buying property abroad is a very popular activity but can be fraught with dangers.

Given that the purchase of a property is one of the most important investments that most people will make in their lifetime, it is crucial to be advised by an independent expert.

2What does this service consist of?

  • Review of the purchase contract.
  • Management of negotiations and counter-offers.
  • Verification that the seller is able to pass good title.
  • Registry search to ensure property free of any charges or other mortgages.
  • Ensure outstanding taxes on the property are up-to-date before transfer.
  • Make sure that all items included in the sale (fixtures and fittings etc.).
  • Attendance and assistance when signing the deeds of the property.
  • Management of negotiations and counter-offers
  • In depth information about schools, sports clubs, shops, cultural organisations, etc.
  • Payment of stamp duty.
Support services

3Free Support Services Included

When combined with the free and innovative Advocate Abroad support services you can be sure that you are obtaining completely transparent legal services from registered and regulated English-speaking lawyers abroad.These support services include:

  • Verification of the regulatory status of your professional.
  • Fees as recommended by the Local Professional Body
  • Fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
  • Service levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
  • All professionals must hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Professionals' proficiency in English monitored.
  • Continuous quality controls and reviews.

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