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French property roundup: €10k grants and getting a builder’s estimate

Get an estimate before beginning a building project in France
Get an estimate before beginning a building project in France. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP
From home-buying grants and new energy rating rules to getting a correct estimate for building work costs, here is our latest roundup of all that's new in French property.

Energy ratings

If you’re buying, selling or renting property in France, one thing to pay attention to is its energy rating, a new system for which was introduced in July. Each property is given a rating from A to G depending on how efficiently it uses energy, holds heat or cools down. As well as the obvious effect a bad energy rating will have on your gas and electricity bills, lower ratings can seriously dent the price of a property.

From 2025 it will be illegal to rent out a property that is Band G, and from 2028 Band F will also be illegal to rent out. Even if you have no plans to rent out your home, having a low energy rating will affect its resale value for this reason

There are several schemes available to help with the costs of improving the energy efficiency of a home, including MaPrimeRenov, which is open to second-home owners as well.

Forest villages

The hottest ticket in French property right now appears to be les villages forestiers (forest villages) in the Compiègne area of eastern France.

The distinctive small stone houses with slate roofs, situated in the forest areas of Compiègne are so popular that local mayors told French media they rarely even appear on the market, and are most usually sold almost instantly through word of mouth.

Following the post-pandemic trend in other rural areas, forest villages that had previously been dominated by second homes are now coming back to life as people move in full time.

€10k house-buyer grants

If you’re currently renting in France and looking to buy, business group Action Logement has an offer grants of €10,000 to help with the cost of purchasing a home. There are of course some conditions to this – there is no bar on foreigners accessing the grants but you do have to be living and working in France, and the grants can only be used for a main residence. There’s also a time limit for applications – full details HERE.

French property vocab

If your property needs any work doing to it, you will probably need un devis.

Un devis is an estimate and it’s what you ask for from anyone you are asking to do work on your property. Requesting un devis gives both parties the chance to set down clearly, in writing, the job that needs to be done and the expected cost. Naturally, you should get several estimates before embarking on a big project and le devis should also contain the artisan or tradesman’s SIRET – the business registration number that allows you to check that they are correctly registered for the skill that you need.  

Let’s move to . . . Clermont-Ferrand

Often forgotten (even by French people) the lively little town of Clermont-Ferrand, situated bang in the middle of the beautiful mountains of the Auvergne region, is a really underrated gem. Katie Warren talks us through the best bits of the town, from the cheap prices and lively nightlife and culture to the rugby-crazy locals and the delicious local cheeses and aligot – a cheesy mashed potato that proves the very existence of divinity. 

Healthcare for second-home owners

If you have a second home in France and spend a significant amount of time here, then you may need to access healthcare if you fall ill or have an accident. Our guide to the rules on healthcare for second-home owners outlines how to access care and how to make sure you have the correct cover so that a visit to the doctor isn’t followed by a big bill.

Retiring to France

If your plan is to retire to France, you might need to think about what happens if you become ill or infirm and need care. We’ve put together a guide to who is entitled to home care or residential care in France and who pays for it. In good news, your property is not included in any means-tested applications, so you won’t need to sell your home to pay for care. Full details here.

Property tip of the week

If you’re British and own property in France, it’s often tempting to buy big items such as electricals or DIY equipment in the UK, where they are often cheaper. However, since Brexit there are new customs limits on the value of items you can bring in to France. There is a one-off exemption for people moving to France and bringing property with them, but this does not cover people bringing over furniture or other items for second homes. Full details on the limits and the paperwork required can be found HERE.


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