Top French Mortgage tips to secure your French property purchase this summer

Thinking of buying a French property this summer? We’ve put some great tips together to make sure you have the best chance of securing that dream home.

  • Before you go and visit, check the market from the comfort of your sofa!

There are number of international and French property portals online and many estate agents will have their own websites. Make sure you research the properties that are on the market, compare the asking prices of similar properties so you can see the range on offer. Read the latest market reports on our Latest News page. Write down a list of your key priorities, so you know what it is you are looking for. Speak to local estate agents over email or Skype – this also shows that you are engaged in the process and they are more likely to work harder to get you the viewing you want, than someone who just turns up in their office on the day.

  • Know your budget and get an approval in principle for your French mortgage

Early summer is a very busy time for estate agents, which means many of them are not willing to do viewings with prospective buyers unless they can confirm they have the funds in place for the purchase. It is becoming increasingly common for agents not to accept an offer until they have proof you will be successful with any necessary mortgage applications. This means if you are looking to use a French mortgage to help finance the purchase, that you will need an approval in principle (AIP). A good broker can check whether you be able to obtain a French mortgage within 15 minutes, however, a full financial approval takes 2-3 weeks to secure so leave yourself plenty of time and get in touch with us before heading out to France.

  • Remember the sun doesn’t always shine

Ever heard the tips about leaving a loaf of bread in the oven, or fresh flowers on display if you are trying to sell your house? These little touches can unconsciously influence prospective purchasers to feel more positive about the property. So, as a buyer, make sure you are aware of these and don’t be fooled! That little room that almost gets the sun when you view it in June, will almost certainly be an even smaller, darker, colder space come November. Do all the sensible checks – is the roof in good condition, does the heating work, what’s the water pressure like. If you are only in France for a short visit, this could be your only chance to see the house in person so make the most of the opportunity.

  • Take advantage of nosy neighbours

If the sun is out, so will your neighbours, and you’ll find the boulanger in a much chattier mood. Make the most of this, and ask the locals questions about noise, the social scene, the tourist trade etc. You’ll build up a much better picture of the immediate area that you will be buying into.

  • Utilise the knowledge of the agent, but remember who they are working for

Make sure you ask the agent about the vendor’s situation, and how long the property has been on the market. If the vendor wants a quick sale and has been trying to sell for a few months, there may well be a deal to be had. (Read our recent article on buying at the right price) Likewise, make sure you ask about whether any offers have been accepted and why they had fallen through. Unlike in the UK, if the vendor receives an offer for the asking price, they are required to accept it. You can feel reassured you are not about to enter into a bidding war; but beware if someone offers the asking price before you, you will lose the property. It’s also important to understand when the vendor wants to complete the sale as we know of instances where clients have had offers accepted in the Spring, only to find out that the vendor (or his tenant) isn’t planning to vacate the property until the September – putting pay to the buyer's dream of a summer holiday in their new home. There are often many more houses on sale in the late Spring/early Summer so do use that to your advantage, this property may be ‘the one’, but the vendor need not know that, especially if you make it known that you are considering a few others in the area….

  • Try before you buy

Many properties that come up for sale at this time of year are occasional holiday lets – so why don’t you rent the property for a week before putting in an offer! We’ve had many clients who have done just that, and it has not only helped them build up a better relationship with the vendor, and secure a more reasonable price, but has reassured them that the property is the one for them (and that the heating works, and the roof doesn’t leak, and you can’t hear the neighbour’s dog!). If the property has been let out in the past, do ask the vendor if they will give you their address book of contacts – renting out your second home for a few weeks a year is a great way to service the mortgage, or pay for the upkeep on it during the times you aren’t there.

  • Make the most of the low rates before they start to rise

All the main lenders to non-residents have told us they expect French Mortgage rates to rise in the second half of the year. Buying in 2021 with a mortgage will make your budget go further. With a fixed rate for the lifetime of the loan for less than 2% or an interest-only variable product from 2% a French Mortgage is definitely an option worth exploring. Check out the latest French mortgage rates here.

If you would like to discuss your French property plans, and get an eligibility check and a personalised mortgage illustration, then contact us on +44 (0)207 484 4600 or fill in our online form