Buying real estate in Paris

Bring your Paris dream to life

With no central multiple listing service (MLS), no price transparency, and over 3500 agencies in Paris, finding the right property is a challenge. Local agencies traditionally represent sellers, leaving buyers typically without representation.

56Paris works with you as a buyer’s agent. We manage the entire selection process – from selecting properties through closing – making sure that you are not just acquiring a beautiful home but also making a sound investment. Throughout the process we can help you access financial, legal, renovation, and other bilingual resources to make your buying experience more efficient and stress-free.

The timeline below shows a typical market buying process.

How is the market trending right now?
What kind of property inspections will be performed before I buy?
Are there bidding wars for properties?
What are the closing costs?
How much is property tax in France?
Are there any additional payments to expect at the closing? And who pays what?
How is the market trending right now?

Click here to follow the latest on current market trends

What kind of property inspections will be performed before I buy?

When selling a property in France, the seller is obliged to provide the results of 8 required diagnostic examinations of the property such as:

  • size
  • any evidence of lead, asbestos or parasites
  • electricity installation
  • natural gas installation
  • property’s insulation assessments and gas emission
  • presence of natural/environmental risks

These inspections are purely informational: the seller has the obligation to inform the buyer, but no obligation to correct any problems that are revealed.

Licensed companies that certify their results perform the tests. If they prove to be incorrect, you will have recourse for compensation.

In order to make an educated decision on the purchase of your property, these inspections need to be read and understood in conjunction with the last 3 annual co-owners’ meeting minutes.

Are there bidding wars for properties?

That depends:

Not when a property is sold through an agency. When an agency sells a property, the asking price is contractually defined as the maximum price. As soon as an offer is made at this price (without a conditional loan clause), the seller is legally obligated to accept it, eliminating the possibility of bidding wars.

When a property is sold directly by an owner, there are no laws or regulations, and bidding wars can result. This contradicts the common misperception that you can “get a deal” by buying a property that is sold without an agency.

What are the closing costs?

Closing costs are paid by the buyer. The buyer should expect to pay fees and taxes of approximately 7,7% of the purchase price. These break down roughly as follows:

  • Land Registry taxes, or stamp duty of 5.8% in Paris.
  • Miscellaneous expenses – calculated according to various documents that the notaire searches and examines in order to draft the deed of sale. They usually amount to less than €700. If the buyer purchases through a loan, this amount is slightly higher.
  • The notaire’s service fee is approximately 1.33% of the selling price.
How much is property tax in France?

The amount of property tax depends on a number of factors, such as the average rental value and an index individually defined by each neighbourhood (“arrondissement”). As a rule of thumb, it comes out to between 10€ – 20€ per m2 depending on the size of your property, i.e. the larger the property the lower the amount per m2. The occupancy tax depends on a number of criteria (size, neighborhood, but also number of people living in the property and total income), and therefore is quite variable. However, it is generally comparable to the amount of the property tax.

Are there any additional payments to expect at the closing? And who pays what?

At the closing, in addition to the net property price & agency fees, the notaire will establish a precise accounting of any taxes and charges due by the seller and the buyer according to their pro-rata ownhership of the property :

  • The building charges of the current quarter will be settled by both parties according to what was paid or is still due, i.e. if the seller has already paid the building charges of the current quarter, the buyer will reimburse the latter the share part calculated on the number of remaining days in that quarter. If the seller is behind in paying building charges, the amount due will be deducted directly from the purchase price and paid to the building manager, so that the buyer starts with a clean slate. If the closing happens exactly at the end of the quarter, the buyer will pay the upcoming building charges directly to the building manager (« syndic ») .
  • The reserve fund is usually not more than a few hundred euros per co-owner, depending on the size of the property. In most cases, the building manager (« syndic ») keeps the seller’s contribution to the reserve fund, and the buyer reimburses the seller the equivalent amount at the signing. Some building manager prefer to pay back the seller and ask the buyer to pay them that same amount.
  • Ownership Taxes : There are two taxes, property tax and occupancy tax. Both are owed by the person living in and/or owning the property each January 1st. While the occupancy tax is paid by the person living in the property at that date (owner or tenant), the property tax is paid solely by the owner. At the closing, the buyer reimburses the seller the pro-rata amount of tax between the sale and the end of the year. It is only the year following the closing that the buyer will recieve the tax bill and pay it directly.

These are just a few useful questions.
For more information and access to our comprehensive ‘Buying Guide’ please contact us.

Timeline of a typical market buying process


Stage 1: Preparation

  • Determine budget
  • Obtain bank pre-approval for mortgage
  • Evaluate property search criteria for desired location, size and budget

Stage 2: Searching

  • Identify suitable properties – custom private list (no MLS in Paris – compiled from agencies who do not share information)
  • Coordinate showing schedule with multiple agencies
  • Determine sound investment potentials
  • Evaluate feasibility of desired renovation work

Stage 3: Negotiation and Offer

  • Obtain market value information about chosen property
  • Set a true market value purchase price target
  • Negotiate property price with seller’s agent
  • Present your offer to be accepted over competing offers

Stage 4: Before you commit financially

  • Appoint French notaire to draft reservation contract
  • Send personal data to notaire
  • Wire 10% good faith deposit plus registration expenses to notaire’s escrow account (secured until end of cooling-off period)
  • Gather and analyze building documents (building by-laws, co-owner meeting minutes, inspection reports, diagnostics)
  • Fully comprehend preliminary contract before signing (contracts written only in french)

Stage 5: The preliminary contract

  • Attend and sign French reservation contract – in person or by proxy
  • Cooling off-period (French consumer protection laws allow you to call off the purchase and recuperate the full 10% deposit during the 10 days after having received the signed preliminary contract. Past that date, you are held liable for 10% of the purchase price)

Stage 6: Between the preliminary contract and closing

  • Complete mortgage application process (finalized 6 – 8 weeks after signature of reservation contract)
  • Transfer balance to notary’s escrow account
  • Attend annual co-owner’s meeting if held during this time
  • Introduction to relevant renovation and/or design professionals
  • Obtain homeowner’s insurance from French insurance company
  • Open French bank account for automatic debit of utilities and homeowner’s fees. Must be done in person until two weeks after closing

Stage 7: The closing

  • Walk-through entire property and purchased annexes to ensure they contain nothing but furniture that belongs to the property
  • Sign closing documents drafted in French – in person or by proxy
  • Understand accounting of pro-rata payments between seller and purchaser (building charges, property tax)
  • Receive keys and property certificate

Stage 8: After sale

  • Contact French utility companies to transfer accounts from the seller’s name to yours (electricity, gas, telephone, internet)
  • Presentation of our property management services: renovation work supervision, regular property visits … (for more information, click here)
  • Receive copy of property deed, original archived by notaire, plus any surplus paid (about 6 months after closing)