When it comes to buying property on the continent, you may be mistaken into thinking it’s just a case of finding a property – possibly with the help of a South of France surveyor – and completing the purchase.


However, there can be some additional facets of the process you may need to factor into your plans. And, like most things in life and in property, these come with an associated cost.


Actual monetary values can vary, so we’ll avoid discussing specific figures in this article, but here are some of the additional costs you may run into when buying property in the South of France.

The Cost of Finding a Property

When looking for your dream property in the South of France, you are going to need to do some travelling. France is a big country, so expect to spend no small amount on flights, trains, taxis, hotels, and other travelling expenses besides, as you arrange house viewings and enter negotiations.

Agency Commissions

French estate agents, known as agents immobiliers, charge a fee of between six and ten percent of the price of the property for their services and, unlike in the UK, it’s the buyer who pays the agent’s commission.


If you spot the letters FAI (Frais d’Agence Inclus) or HAI (Honoraires d’Agence Inclus) in a property listing, often next to the value, it means the agency fees are included in the price.

Notaire Fees

A Notaire is a French legal specialist. They’re independent but act on behalf of the state when it comes to property purchases. Notaires handle the taxes and land registry, as well as the legal fees when it comes to property.


Notaire fees are normally eight to ten percent of the total purchase price but can be a little more if you’re purchasing with a mortgage.


Pay attention to the exchange rates at the time of any money transfers to make sure you are getting the best possible value in Euro from your Sterling.


When you sign the Compromis de Vente you will have to hand over a ten percent deposit, which will be held by the Notaire. You then have a twelve-day period in which to cancel the purchases and reclaim your deposit. If you decide to cancel after the cooling off period has expired you will, in most circumstances, lose your deposit.

Translation Services

You may be able to fumble your way through a visit to a restaurant or supermarket using the little French you recall from your GCSEs, but buying property is a whole different matter. You will need to be familiar with a host of complex legal terms, and be able to negotiate with vendors, whose English may be as bad as your French.


Therefore, unless you are fluent in the language, you are going to need to employ a translation service to act on your behalf. Don’t just trust a friend who is good at French but ensure you employ a professional as any errors can leave you in financial, or even legal, hot water.

Final Thoughts

Regulations in France are constantly shifting, so be prepared to make alterations or upgrades to the property in order to remain compliant. Don’t forget to factor international moving costs, the possibility of having to rent short term while the sale or any work completes, pet related expenses and the cost of having utilities connected.


If you need the advice of an experienced professional to help you navigate the French property market, South of France surveyor, Charles Mackintosh, has over 30 years’ experience in the field.


Please get in touch today for more information.