Is now the right time to buy property in Europe?

If you’ve been toying with the idea of owning an apartment in Paris or a vacation rental in Provence, could now be the time? After all, we have never seen exchange rates like this and now we see the USD and Euro are on par.  We haven’t seen rates like this since the Euro came into circulation in 2002!

I love watching shows about restoring châteaus and villas in Europe, but the transaction side has always been something I wondered about.  How hard is it really to purchase a property?  During my recent visit to France I met with a real estate agent who gave me a few pointers I thought I’d share.  For other parts of Europe it may be different but here is what I learned:

  • All transactions go through a notaire. This is similar to we would call a title company.  They do all the paperwork, handle the fees, ownership and lien checks etc.
  • The notaire fee is around 7% of the price on top of what you will pay for the property.
  • The agent commission is included in the price.
  • There is no real estate licensing in France so literally anyone can be an agent. Make sure you are working with a good one!
  • They are a bit jaded as they get a lot of inquiries from foreigners. British, Scandinavian and Americans tend to be the most regular clients. You will get more attention if you can prove you are serious and may need to be pro-active.
  • Maisons et Appartments is a great source of listings. Set up a search!
  • The notaire will take 2-3 months to process the transaction. There is no getting around this.
  • It is very difficult, if not impossible, for foreigners to get loans so you really must be all cash.
  • Listings are at an all time low and pricing has not come down that much in popular areas like the French Riviera.  In other parts of France you may see more opportunity for a well priced château!
  • You will need to pay annual property taxes to the government and the city.

If you would like to connect with an agent in France let me know!

About the Author
It’s great to meet you. I’m truly honored that you are taking the time to learn about me and my expertise. Throughout my career I’ve had the privilege of being trusted with major clients, projects and roles, always giving my best, and with spectacular results. Born with a marketing mind, and after two decades of hands-on experience, I have fine tuned my craft. I love selling real estate and working with buyers. There are not many professions where you can help people in a significant way and make friends doing it!