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My husband and I are looking a purchasing an apartment in Paris.
I have read through older posts to try and educate myself on the possibility of getting a mortgage in France. The posts were disheartening. I was wondering if things have changed much since those posts?
Thank you very much for your thoughts.
 

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Over the years I've negotiated 2 mortgages for rental properties, and a 2 bridging loans to help between buying and selling houses.

I think there are 2 problems for you to navigate......

1. As a US citizen you may experience difficulties opening a bank account in France due to US FATCA rules. I'm no expert.....others here will help.

2. Once you've got an account you need to obtain a mortgage. As usual the bank will want to see that you will be a good customer and can repay the mortgage. This will require LOTS of paperwork and a helpful bank "directeur". Banking in France seems to be decentralised and highly dependent on the bank manager. Once you've got him/her on your side the manager will guide the mortgage application through the maze in the organisation above him.

I advise you to visit bank branches near where you live (local presence is important) and talk to the banks..armed with the paperwork (explained many times in this forum! But we can repeat it)....some will not be interested, some will help you......I don't understand the logic behind this, but it's true.

There are legal limits to monthly debt repayments as a %age of income, but mortgages are very common, so join the crowd.

DejW

My husband and I are looking a purchasing an apartment in Paris.
I have read through older posts to try and educate myself on the possibility of getting a mortgage in France. The posts were disheartening. I was wondering if things have changed much since those posts?
Thank you very much for your thoughts.
 

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PS...Ps you can also try a conseilleur de prêts.....loan advisor.....they are in the yellow pages. But they charge a fee.

I used one few years ago to get a lower rate from my bank. Very easily done.

DejW
 

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DejW has pretty much outlined the situation for you. FATCA doesn't seem to be as much of a potential barrier here in France as it is in a few other countries (Germany, for instance), but it may very well come down to your status here in France (i.e. what sort of visa you have, are you working here, etc.).

You may be able to open a bank account in France as a non-resident - either before you actually move to France or if you're planning on having the apartment as a "second home" or pied à terre - however there are restrictions on non-resident accounts, and obviously, the bank will want to see a regular transfer or deposit of funds that can be used to fund the mortgage.

Just be aware that the mortgage market here is very different from back in the US. Mortgages are pretty much one-size-fits-all arrangements, with larger down payments than back in the US, and shorter terms, plus strict limits on the percentage of your income you can commit to repayment. It's also true that the banks are the ones who evaluate your credit-worthiness. No credit rating agencies here (and in some ways, that's a good thing).

But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Yes, agree 100% Bev.

A lot will depend if you will be resident in France or not. Not from a legal aspect, more from the comfort factor for the bank.

Bev's comment has reminded me to say (again!) that "Things are different in France" in many, many ways. At first it's difficult to understand and it appears "stupid". In fact, it's just different, and once you understand the rules, customs, culture it becomes easy to navigate.

Unless you find a very understanding bank manager it will be vey helpful to have a passable level of French. Indeed, the Notaires who conduct property deals here have a legal obligation to ensure that the parties involved understand the deal, including the typically 100+ pages of the contract. They can insist that an interpreter is present(at your cost) to help you understand. Legal French is not easy (in all countries the lawyers want to keep their mumbo jumbo!)


DejW
 

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My husband and I are looking a purchasing an apartment in Paris.
I have read through older posts to try and educate myself on the possibility of getting a mortgage in France. The posts were disheartening. I was wondering if things have changed much since those posts?
Thank you very much for your thoughts.
Would you be looking to purchase a holiday home or are you proposing to move permanently to France? It's possible that it would be easier if you are resident in France, but much will depend on income being paid directly into your French bank account. There is always the possibility of using a 'courtier', but there are no guarantees that you would get a mortgage, as each application is considered on its merits (AND risk to the mortgage provider). French banks are subject to far greater regulation and oversight than are banks in the US.

It would certainly be a good idea to open a non-resident account ahead of any move - and the longer you have an account in place and can demonstrate regular funds going into it, the better.

If it's for a holiday home and you can't get a mortgage in France, perhaps you could get a mortgage in the US, or take out a mortgage on your US property to finance the purchase in France.

Edit: You may just find yourselves having to pay a higher rate of interest on a French mortgage than would otherwise be the case, and/or having to make a higher down-payment on the property. But, as I said, each application is assessed on its merits. Oh, and even many French people find it can take a long time for their mortgage provider to confirm approval. If you start the wheels turning to purchase a particular property, you need to ensure the offer is subject to securing a mortgage (and expect to have to prove that you have made every effort to do so should you seek to cancel on the basis of not getting a mortgage).
 

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I went through a courtier (like a broker who sources from multiple banks) when I bought my apartment in Paris at the start of this year.

As others mentioned however, it's much less flexible here in France - most notably, your mortgage repayment can't be more than 1/3 of your monthly net income.
 
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