Finding a Property

The Limousin used to be a very little known region of France, boasting one of the lowest populations of any mainland French region. However, the beautiful scenery and attractive property prices, has put The Limousin firmly on the map and not only with the English. Many French people are now moving into the region in a bid to escape the towns, improved transport links mean that commuting is now an option. The last couple of years has seen an increase in the population in the region for the first time.

Private house sales (please contact us to list your property)  

The process of buying a property in France is very different to that in the UK. Provided you follow some basic guidelines and are sensible, the whole process is very straightforward. Estate agents or Agences Immobilier must be licensed and legally cannot even show you a property if they are not. There is no guzumping in France so you cannot be outbid on a property. Once an offer has been made and accepted a verbal contract is formed between you and the seller. No deposit is due a this time. Some agents may ask you to sign a contract which agrees the sale price and solidifies the verbal contract.

The proceedings are overseen by a Notaire. Strictly speaking he does not represent either party and his main role is to ensure that the Government receives their money. You are able to instruct your own Notaire if you choose. There is no extra cost involved as the fees are the same and are split equally between the notaires involved. The fees are set by the government and are therefore the same for all Notaires. All fees are paid by the purchaser. The agents will pass all the paperwork to the notaire who will draw up the Compromis de vente. This document sets out your intentions to purchase the property and your status (married, divorced etc). You can also add conditions of sale. You will also need to inform the notaire if you intend to take out a mortgage or loan to finance the property.

Once you have signed the "compromis de vente" you have a 7 day cooling off period. After that you need to pay the deposit. The deposit is paid to the notaire, you should never pay the agent or vendor cash at any point. The sale is completed by signing the "acte de vente" in the presence of the notaire. The whole process is explained fully below, along with details of notaires fees and taxes due.

The process of purchasing a property in France

Notaires fees and property taxes

Further reading on buying a property

If you have found an area that you like, try calling in at the local Mairie office to find out if there are any properties for sale. All properties that come on the market will be listed in the Mairie's as the commune has first refusal. This also applies to land. The french often market their properties through many agents and depending on the agents fee, the price could also vary considerably. By law all prices shown must include agents fees. Notaires fees and taxes are on top. There may also be an extra fee if you need to finance your purchase through a loan or mortgage.

There are many agents across the Limousin and many are English speaking. Notaires, if they don't speak English, are obliged to provide a translator and a translation of the documents you are signing. There may be an extra charge for this. Your agent should also accompany you to the signing. Be sure that you understand everything, and never sign anything if you do not understand it properly. There are also companies who offer a complete service and will give advice on legal matters and inheritance law and provide a translation service. There is normally an extra charge for this, but it does give you peace of mind. This is the only time you may pay an agent direct but ONLY for their additional services. For a comprehensive list of agents in France see below:


There have been several books written on this subject., and it can be useful to have a reference point to hand. David Hampshire's "Buying a property in France" is considered by many to be a comprehensive reference. Find a copy of this here, or other books on buying a property here.

Furnishing your Property

Once you have purchased your property you will be looking to furnish it. It is very tempting to bring a van full of furniture over from the UK, and unless you are making a permanent move, this may not be a very cost effective idea. Check the "petit annonces" or classified adds, and look in local publications aimed at ex-pats, as there are often people traveling to and from the UK with empty vans who are willing to take a load in return for a contribution to their costs. It is always advisable to make sure that your goods are insured and that you have spoken to people who have used their services before or can recommend someone. The last thing you want is to pack your possessions up, never to be seen again.

A good way to find furniture is to look in Brocantes,Depot de ventes or Trocs. These can often be an Aladins cave, full of good value, second hand or Antique furniture. As their stock changes regularly (certainly in the larger Trocs) they are worth visiting frequently if you can't find what you are looking for first time.



EDF have launched an English speaking helpline to aid customers with a limited knowledge of French. The service has been introduced on a trial basis and will be withdrawn if not used.

The phone number is: 05 62 16 49 08.

alternatively you can email them at: simpleenergywithedf@edf.fr

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