Aside from paying with cash, you can receive funding for a property through numerous loan options, such as a mortgage. We would definitely recommend assessing each of these options before you begin your search.
You will find that, as in the UK, there are a number of mortgage options available in France. Conditions are, on the whole, much more stringent since the global recession, but interest rates are lower than they were - and fairly similar to their UK counterpart. In France, these interest rates are set by the lenders, which are influenced by the Euribor (European Interbank Offer Rate).
One of our best recommendations for obtaining a mortgage in France is to contact an overseas mortgage broker who will be able to talk you through current offers. These change day by day, but are generally very similar to those that you will see in the UK. The lending criteria does tend to be different, however, and is usually worked out on the basis that the total monthly mortgage payment should not exceed one third of the purchaser’s gross monthly income.
The main thing you will need to establish is exactly how much cash you will need as a deposit in relation to your mortgage amount; for non-French nationals this is usually around 20%. You will also need to provide proof of income and identity, as well as details of your bank account and credit cards.
You will need to make certain you are clear about what your monthly repayment figure will be; this will be really important when you are assessing the cost of maintaining your property and life in France. You need to make sure you choose a mortgage that you will be able to afford without stretching yourself financially.
Lastly you should ensure you have an idea of interest rates, loan terms and the typical criteria used to determine loan-to-value amounts.
Once you have an idea of what your financial plans are, France Buying Guide recommends opening a free, no-obligation account with a currency exchange specialist like Smart Currency Exchange. You will be allocated your own personal trader who will be able to discuss your currency strategy with you – such as how and when you should transfer your funds. They will also offer you the best exchange rates.
We would also suggest ensuring you open a bank account in France as early as possible – but we do recommend keeping your English account open (even if you are looking to move permanently). Perhaps, surprisingly, you are certainly able to link your English bank cards with your France address.