Getting a mortgage in France
If you’re thinking about buying a house in France and financing the purchase with a French mortgage the time to talk to a bank or mortgage broker is before you start looking at houses.
Actually, it doesn’t matter where you’re thinking about buying a house; it makes sense to sort out the financing first. That way you know what you can afford and can make a decision about what properties to look at. There’s no point in looking at properties you can’t really afford, it’s a recipe for frustration.
You’re not going to get approval for a mortgage until after you find a house but you will know whether you qualify for a French mortgage and for how much.
After you find the house you want and your offer has been accepted the Compromis de Vente will have a clause suspensive stating that you are applying for a mortgage in France. The clause will contain the name of the financial institution, the amount and term of the mortgage, the interest rate, and a date by which the mortgage will be approved.
As far as I can tell when you apply for a mortgage in France the main thing that the financial institutions are looking at is your ability to repay. Of course they want the value of the property to be realistic but it’s your debt to income ratio that will really interest them and will determine the level of financing.
French banks will write mortgages for foreign buyers. They will want proof of income. And that’s about the extent of my knowledge. I always refer my clients to Richard Bayle, he’s English and has been arranging mortgages in France for a number of years. He knows what he’s doing and can help you steer your way through the various options.
There are other English speaking mortgage brokers in France and the best thing to do is ask your immobilier for a referral. You can also search the internet.
All of the major French banks offer mortgages so you can go directly to a bank if your French is up to it. Some banks will only lend up to 50% of the value of a vacation home, others will lend up to 95%.
UCB specializes in residential mortgages for individuals and offer a service in English.
In France English usually means Anglais and services are designed around the needs of UK residents. If you’re not a Brit you might need to do a little extra translation work when it comes to the names and numbers of government forms to prove your income. Other than that, the same rules apply.