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Initial Costs To Consider During The Buying Process

Besides the cost of the property itself you also need to factor in other costs that relate to mortgage or professional fees.

Consequently, below is an outline of the types of fees you will need to consider during the property buying process :

Locating The Right Property For You
Before you even begin the buying process, you will have to pay for travelling expense to and from France, and accommodation costs in France while you are travelling and viewing as many French properties as possible. Whilst small in relation to the total cost of buying a house in France, the longer it takes you to find your ideal property, the more these particular outgoing costs can mount up.

Survey Of The Property
Once you've found a property in France that you are interested in, you might want to have a survey done (either by a registered French builder, an Expert Immobilier, or by a Chartered building surveyor). A survey by a Chartered building surveyor might cost between 700 - 1,500 euros depending on the size and condition of the property, and will have to be factored in to your total costs.

Purchase Deposit
On the day you sign the Compromis de Vente (the sales agreement contract) you will be required to pay your deposit, which is usually 5-10% of the purchase price for older properties. It is advisable to pay your deposit cheque to the Notaire or agent who is representing you and not to the vendor.
The deposit is held by the Notaire or the agent until completion.

Mortgage Deposit
The minimum amount you need to provide as your deposit for a mortgage depends on your nationality, the country you live in and where you pay income tax. For tax payers in France it is possible to arrange a 100% mortgage. For non French nationals, you would usually need to provide a deposit of at least 25-30% of the purchase price depending on the lender. You should speak to an independent financial advisor who can help to find you the best deal available for your needs.

Notaire Fees
Be prepared for the cost of legal fees and associated taxes on an existing property to be around 7% of the purchase price approximately. Fees due to the Notaire can only be funded by a mortgage for French tax payers and you will have to fund them yourself if you pay tax abroad. The Notaire fees pay for the land or property registration (stamp duty) and the actual payment to the Notaire for his services. All Notaire fees are calculated on the same basis, so you cannot ‘shop around’, although you are free to choose your own Notaire.

French Bank Account Fees 
Whether you are buying your house in France as a holiday home or to reside in permanently, it makes sense to set up a French bank account before you buy. You can then use it to cover all the expenses that are under the minimum amount that a foreign exchange company will handle. Unlike in the UK, banking is not free in France and you will pay a monthly fee for a bank account with a debit card of around eight euros a month. Transfers from the UK of up to £500.00 to a French bank account cost about £20.00 - £25.00, whether as an international currency draft, or a telegraphic transfer, and the French bank also makes a small charge (about 3 euros) for receiving the money from abroad.

Banks, don't you just love them?

Foreign Exchange Transfers To France
Using a foreign exchange company to transfer the main payment for your property purchase in France should be significantly cheaper than using a high street bank. Most foreign exchange companies quote no commission on sums over a certain amount, so their fee presumably is taken from the spread, i.e. the difference between the sterling price they can buy the euros for, and the sterling price for which they will sell them on to you. Though hard to quantify, this still represents part of your expenses.