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French Mortgages France

French Mortgages

You can obtain a mortgage (hypothèque) from all major French banks, or from a bank in your own country. Crédit Agricole has a 25% share of the French mortgage market. If you would like the information and documentation relating to the mortgage to be written in English, try Abbey National, Barclays, Banque Woolich or Banque Populaire, who all provide an English service, and Crédit Agricole has a dedicated service for English speaking clients based in Calvados called BritLine.

The lender will need to check your financial position and so will look into your employment, tax, income and residence status. It is useful to have the following documents readily available when applying for a French mortgage: passport, birth certificate, last three months' credit card and personal bank statements, and proof of deposit (ie, savings account statement). If your application is well supported with documentary evidence, it is easier for the bank to process quickly.

French mortgages are usually shorter than those in the UK, and a 10 to 15 year mortgage is common. The repayments are thus higher than those on a 30 year mortgage. As a rule of thumb, you cannot spend more than 30% of your income on repayment of mortgages or other loans in France, and you may find it difficult to borrow much more than this.

In France mortgages are repayment only so you pay off equal amounts of capital and interest each month. Fixed interest rates are the most common, but variable and combination interest rates are available.

When you take out a French mortgage you are obliged to get a life insurance policy.

A full survey is not usually needed as an appraisal of the market value of the property is sufficient to determine the mortgage offer.

It is possible to apply for a mortgage before you have found the property you wish to buy, thus ascertaining how much you will be able to borrow before you begin your search.

All contracts for the property should state whether the purchase is subject to a mortgage offer (this is not possible if you buy at auction, where your bid is binding). If your first application fails, you have to seek a second mortgage application from another lender. If you are unsuccessful you can avoid the contract and get the deposit back, which is called la loi scrivener.

Mortgage offers are always given in writing, with an 11 day cooling off period. You have 30 days to accept the offer and the purchase must be completed within four months of accepting.