So you've decided to buy a house in France, either to live in, or as a holiday home, and you're now beginning to wonder what additional costs you may be letting yourself in for, over and above the purchase price of the French property.
These additional costs broadly fall into two main categories: the immediate costs of purchasing the French property, and the ongoing running costs of owning a house in France. Of course, if you are buying a run-down older property to renovate, you will have a third category of outgoings which will be your renovation costs.
Firstly, before you have even began the property purchase process, you will have to pay for travelling expense to and from France, and accommodation costs in France, while you are travelling round and viewing as many French properties as possible. While small in relation to the total cost of buying a house in France, the longer it takes you to find your ideal property, the more these particular outgoings can mount up.
Once you've found a property in France that you are interested in, you may want to have a survey done, either by a registered French builder, an Expert Immoblier, or by a Chartered building surveyor. A survey by a Chartered building surveyor might cost between 700 - 1,500 euros depending on the size and condition of the property, and will have to be added in to your total costs. More About Surveys in France.
Agent immobilier fees are
region of 5% - 10%. They may have been included in the price of the
house, or, if not, you will be liable to pay them.
V.A.T. is applicable to these fees. More About Immobiliers Fees.
The total paid to the Notaire is generally in the region of 6% to 8% of the French property price. This includes French property tax split between the Commune, the Department, and the State, in addition to the Notaire's expenses and commission on which V.A.T is applicable. More about Notaires.
Whether you're buying your house
in France as a
holiday home or to live in permanently, it makes sense to set up a
French bank account before you buy. Then you can use it to cover all
the expenses that are under the minimum amount a foreign exchange
company will handle. Unlike in the U.K., banking is not free in France,
and you will pay a monthly fee for a bank account with a debit card of
around eight euros a month. Transfers from the U.K of up to £500.00 to
a French bank account cost about £20.00 - £25.00, whether as an
international currency draft, or a telegraphic transfer, and the French
bank also makes a small charge (about 3 euros) for receiving the money
Banks, don't you just love em?
Using a foreign exchange company to transfer the main payment for your property purchase in France should be significantly cheaper than using a high street bank. Most foreign exchange companies quote no commission on sums over a certain amount, so their fee presumably is taken from the spread, i.e. the difference between the sterling price they can buy the euros for, and the sterling price for which they will sell them on to you. Though hard to quantify, this still represents part of your expenses.
you are taking out a mortgage to finance your property purchase in
France, whether in U.S. dollars, pound stirling, or euros, you will
have the normal expenses associated with this. There will be setting up
fees to pay, possible currency fluctuation risks to take into account,
and, if you happen to work as a rocket scientist, you may be able to
get through the Byzantine calculations necessary to work out an
estimated total amount you may end up paying for your French house over
X years, taking into account the fluctuating rates of compound interest
that will necessarily apply over time, and discounting the monthly
payments you will be making.
Good luck with that one!
NEXT PAGE: TAXES & RUNNING COSTS OF A HOUSE IN FRANCE
Acknowledgements: images used on the left in the text area are mainly from morguefile.com, my thanks to biberta, missyredboots, rosevita, doctor_bob, cohdra, mconners, kairily, clarita, scott. m. liddel, and anyone else from morguefile whose image appears here. All the images in the right hand column on each page have been taken by me during my various travels in France and are copyright of buyahouseinfrance.info.