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Guide to Buying Real Estate in France for Americans

French property has never been such good value for Americans. This is the best dollar/euro rate in twenty years and buyers from the USA are flooding the French market, particularly in Paris, PACA and the Alps. Here are the links to everything you need to know. We start with six hand-picked properties for US buyers.

Best fairy-tale chateau

Be the envy of your friends, living in a Disney-like chateau.

Best for world class skiing

You think Vail is en-vogue, wait until you see this.

Best for Riviera glitz

James Bond would be right at home here.

Best for “work from holiday home”

Imagine having a stand-alone office with fibre broadband, close to Cognac and its vineyards.

Best for romance in Paris

Your ideal getaway in the most romantic city in the world.

Best for under $165,000

Dollar v Euro rates are the best for 20 years, exploit them!

If you are looking for more amazing bargains, take a look at Bargain and Cheap Property for sale in France


What are the purchase costs of French property?

There are no hidden costs. The estate agents fees will be included in the adverts. On top of these you should budget around 6% for the Notaires fees, searches etc (around 4% if buying a newbuild). Both of these costs will be itemised in the contracts you sign.

What taxes do I pay?

The first thing is to identify if you will be classed as a French resident. Details of how the authorities will classify you are outlined here.

If you are classed as resident in France then you will pay taxes under their regime. Your whole household will be taken into account and you will be taxed on your worldwide income.

You will find a copy of the US-France, Estate Tax Treaty here.

You can find further details on tax in France from our friends at Kentingtons here. This covers:

  • French wealth tax
  • Capital Gains tax
  • Income tax
  • Inheritance tax
  • Succession law
  • Current French tax rates

Do Americans need a visa to travel to France?

If you are coming on holiday, and will be staying less than 90 days then the answer is usually no. If you are coming for longer, or to work, then contact your local French Embassy.

The main embassy is in Washington DC and this link shows you all embassies across the USA.

Residency laws for Americans

The “90 day” rule states that tourists and visitors can spend 90 days out of every 180 in the European Union without the need a visa. So you can effectively spend 180 days (6 months) in France but you cannot spend more than 90 successive days in the country and the EU.

Should you wish to stay in France for more than 90 days then you will need to obtain a long stay visa. Note that you can only apply for one type of visa at a time, so plan carefully as it is very difficult to change the status once in France, you would have to return to the USA to re-apply before returning with the new visa.

The official site for Americans applying for a visa in France can be found here.

Can I rent out my French property?

Yes and our sister company, Leggett Property Management, may even be able to manage the property and look after your guests. This article shows you how to file your rental income return. You can download our Guide for Second Home Owners.

What is the buying process?

Americans buying real estate in France will find the process is highly secure, with no hidden costs. You can download our French Property Buying Guide here.

Can Americans get a French mortgage?

Yes you can, but be warned, it is extremely difficult. The ‘Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act’ (FATCA) is part of the US tax code and was introduced in 2014 to help counter tax evasion. French banks find the cost of complying with this to be prohibitive. This means that few lenders will entertain considering loans from US clients, unless you have a substantial deposit.

Any more questions about buying a French Property?

If you have any more questions please use this form