The 5 Steps of the Property Purchase Process in France

Step 1 – Searching for a property in France and a French real estate loan

Are you looking for a property, while at the same time, looking for a loan to finance this acquisition project? This is an excellent strategy. The search for the property of your dreams should ideally be done in conjunction with taking the first steps to obtain financing. Future prospective buyers will be best served by consulting one or more bank(s) before looking for an apartment or a house. Better still, you can call on a mortgage broker to centralise this important step, a worthy precaution which can result in a proposed borrowing package for you to buy the perfect house or ideal apartment.

Required Documentation to finance a property in france

The phase of searching for the ideal property, as well as the first contact for funding opportunities, requires few documents. Your chosen mortgage broker may have an initial informations sheet to complete.  All can be done remotely.

On the property search side, you can explain to the agent what your heart desires and what you are looking for in terms of price and location.  Prices quoted by agent usually include their fee, but exclude other fees linked to buying in France, such as Notaire fees etc.

You mortgage broker and estate agent are there to answer any questions you will have at this stage. Now is the good time to investigate the slightest query about a mortgage and its costs, and to understand the rules that govern the calculation of your solvency.

Key events in the French financing process

In search of a mortgage

  • Ask yourself how much of a personal contribution or down payment you can make for your real estate purchase. If you have savings, you could use some
    of them towards this project.
  • Define your ability to borrow and to repay. You must determine how much you can borrow according to your financial profile, and the monthly
    repayments you can make, all without making your budget balance wobble.
  • Your mortgage broker will be able to help you set a purchase price budget specific to your circumstances

In search of french properties

  • Have specific criteria. For your search to be successful, it is important to have search criteria, and possibly to reduce the scope to target fewer It’s all about location, location, location.  You will get properties are temptingly low prices, but these may be far from local amenities and transport networks.  There are many very rural areas in France.  Banks are sometimes reticent to lend against very isolated properties so it’s best check with your broker for a specific property.
  • Once you have found the right property check the local planning rules and, in particular, the local urbanism plan and upcoming projects. Look also at the costs linked to the property (property tax, energy costs, etc.). Your notaire and estate agent can advise on those fronts.

Deadlines to respect for your French financing

This first phase of searching for a property and getting prequalified for a loan is usually not the most stressful. In fact, the more you anticipate your property purchase project and your quest for financing, the more time you have to think before acting. It is possible to obtain an estimate of your borrowing capacity using our services. We can conduct a study to give you an analysis of your purchasing power, so that you can target properties within a specific price range.

The hunt for real estate and the best financing is only the first step before the second step of decision-making and the signing of the preliminary sales contract (“promesse” or “compromis de vente”). You’ll find details in our next dedicated article for step 2: the signing of the preliminary sales contract.


The 5 Steps of the Property Purchase Process in France : 

  1. Searching for a property in France and a French real estate loan
  2. The signing of the preliminary sales contract for purchase of French property
  3. The financing request & preparation of the credit file for a French mortgage
  4. The mortgage offer in France
  5. The deed of sale & signing preparation for purchase of French property