Buying real estate in France

The French real estate market can be segmented in multiple sub-markets or even micro-markets. Due to the geographic locations some of the markets are really slowing down or decreasing while there are markets that are still expanding. Within France there are more houses than apartments despite the larger cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseille. This is due to the fact that France is a very historical country. Quite some properties are very old and are being renewed with the help of the government.

For France there are no restrictions on property or land ownership for citizens. Also, there are no restrictions on property ownership for foreigners. However, there is property taxation to take into account.



of the households in France own real estate


of the households in France fully financially own their real estate


of the households in France are still paying for their real estate


of the households in France are living in public housing


Laws and Regulations 

There is exclusive representation in France. However, this is chosen only 10% of the time by the seller. Also, the seller and buyer party are represented.

Real estate agency fees can be in the hands of the seller or the buyer in France. When the responsibility of the fees is for the seller, the buyer pays the price including the fees to the seller. The seller gives then the fees to the agency. When the responsibility of the fees is for the buyer, the buyer pays the seller the property price and then the buyer directly transfers the fees to the agency. Also, the buyer needs to pay the notary fees that are based on the property price. When the responsibility lays in the hands of the seller, this price includes the commission fees. When the responsibility lays in the hands of the buyer, this price does not include the commission fees.

In France referral fees are paid by the buyer and the percentage of the property necessary to pay is 8.0% if it is an old property and 2.0-3.0% if it is a new property.

There are licensing laws/government regulation of the real estate industry in France. Real estate agents need to have a professional card. If not, they are not legitimate and can get a prison sentence of 6 months and a €7.500 euro fine. Real estate agents are obligated to have a financial guarantee when they hold funds, securities or securities for their clients, except their remuneration or commission. At last, a continuous formation of minimum 14 hours per year or 42 hours per three consecutive years of exercise is mandatory for real estate professionals.

Search portals

In France there is a shared listing site called Bien’ici. This is a website where multiple companies, networks and agencies come together to show their real estate. Most of the real estate sites are private and managed by private companies.

In France there is no main property portal. The real estate market in France is very heterogenous and therefore a main search portal is not feasible to build.



  • The buyer makes a purchase proposal to the seller. If the seller accepts it, he agrees with the buyer: the sale is reserved for him.
  • He/she will get the keys the day of the final signature / closing. 
  • A promise to sell (or before contract) is signed approximately 2 months before the final sale. During this time, the buyer has to find a way of financing the property. 
  • Real estate agent only intervenes if the seller or the buyer has used his services, which is the case most of the time.