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France Guide


Houses for Sale in France French Property

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There are many different types of property in France from retirement homes to chateaux. Moreover, property in France is generally cheaper than in the neighbouring UK and so foreign buyers are able to purchase the size of house in France that they would not be able to afford in their own country. And if you can't find a house for sale in France that suits your needs, why not buy a plot of land and build one yourself?

All French houses are built to high structural standards and so, whether you decide to buy an old or a new home, it will probably be very well built. Old French houses have thick walls and plenty of rooms, interesting period features such as inglenook fireplaces, wooden staircases and cellars (caves), and a good dose of character. Floors tend to be tiled or have large flagstones, and walls are either painted simply or covered with often garish wallpaper. The kitchen is the most important room and the fireplace the central feature of the home. Regional styles are apparent and there are strict controls over the restoration of old buildings to maintain the standards of local style, even specifying that local materials should be used.

Local regulations also apply to new houses with materials from the area often used in the building of new houses. Kitchens in new homes are more in keeping with today's styles, such as American diner kitchens where a counter separates the open plan kitchen and dining area. A new house in France usually comes decorated and with a fitted kitchen. The financial advantages of buying a new home in France (legally defined as a house built in the last five years) include lower deposit (5% not 10%); property tax exemption for two years; a ten year warranty (garantie décennale); and lower registration taxes. Standards of construction are high, good insulation reduces heating bills, security is better and all the plumbing and electrics will be up to modern standards. Also, as French people tend to prefer modern homes, you are more likely to be able to sell it on to a French person.

On the down side to finding a new French house for sale, VAT of 19.6% is levied on all new houses sold for the first time, which can amount to several thousand euros. Also, new homes are generally smaller and don't come with a plot of land or even much of a garden.