If you’ve read the brochure about our 19thcentury fully restored, former vigneron’s house and Bed & Breakfast business in the heart of the Champagne vineyards that we have decided to sell after 15 fantastic years, then you may well have been tempted by the idea of following your dream and moving to France. (If you haven’t read it, you can get it again below)
Still, you’ll obviously have a lot of questions:
- How do I get a mortgage in France?
- How much would it cost?
- What are the rules and regulations? Are they the same as in my country and how do I find out?
- What about solicitors? How do I find someone who is dependable ? What are the fees?
- How do I start a business?
At first sight all this can seem a bit daunting, but in fact you’re not alone in asking these questions, other people have felt the same way and yet they have discovered that it isn’t all that complicated after all.
First, below you’ll find an introduction to French mortgages prepared by an English financial advisor, Steve Grover, based here in Champagne. He is ready and willing to advise and assist you to get a mortgage, and any other financial matters you wish and, of course, he’ll explain it all to you in English.
Obtaining a mortgage in France is much like elsewhere and it is not a problem even if you are not yet resident in France. In fact you can open a bank account here even before you buy a property.
As a guide the repayments on a €100,000 loan would be approximately €700 per month and the typical length of a mortgage in France is 15 years, although you can negotiate shorter or longer terms. This would be on a repayment and interest mortgage which is the usual type of mortgage in France.
There’s even a thing called a family or group mortgage which allows several people to obtain loans on the same property and share the total purchase cost. In terms of a family, this would dramatically mitigate the inheritance tax, because the house would automatically be passed to the children as they are also part-owners.
As for a solicitor, this is called a “Notaire” in France, and usually just one Notaire acts for both parties, unlike in the UK for example. The Notaire’s job is to act neutrally to make the sale and purchase happen so that both parties are happy. Fees are between 6% and 8% and are usually included in the sale price. Just so you know, France is a non-litigious society. There are lots of possibilities and we’ll help you to find just what you need by putting you in touch with the right people.
Next, I’ve attached the income and expenses figures for the B&B business over the last 3 years. Of course, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to do the same, but I hope it will inspire you in terms of what’s possible from this little business.
We strongly recommend that you don’t set yourself up as a “business” as it’s very expensive. Instead set yourself up as an “auto-entrepreneur” which is the equivalent of a “sole trader” in the UK, which will take you a couple of hours at the local Chamber of Commerce.
This means that you’ll pay a flat rate of 15% (1% tax and 14% social charges (such as health insurance, unemployment benefit, retirement pension etc) on revenue declared through the B&B business. You don’t need to keep books (although it’s wise to do so) and you don’t need an accountant which keeps costs down. You can choose to pay the charges monthly, quarterly or annually. It’s very simple.
So don’t let concerns about practicalities prevent you from listening to that quiet voice that is urging you to follow your dream. We’re here to help you find out more and gather all the information you need so that you can make an informed decision.
What else would you like to know? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your questions answered