If you are buying a second home in France but have no knowledge of French laws and taxes, we have highlighted for you the main costs associated with owning a home here.
“Notary fees” :
At the time of the closing or final sale of a property, you as the buyer must pay the acquisition costs, usually (and improperly) called “notary fees”. They are collected by the French notaires on behalf of the state and are ultimately remitted to the Public Treasury. These costs are composed of registration fees, disbursements and emoluments (the notary’s remuneration). Ultimately, about 7-8% of your property’s net price will have to be assessed for these notary fees and taxes. There is no escaping or lowering these fees, but on the plus side, it’s a one-time cost only.
Taxe Foncière :
Along with the taxe d’habitation, the taxe foncière is one of the local taxes whose revenue is used to finance the local authorities’ budget. It comprises several taxes including the tax on household waste collection. Unlike the taxe d’habitation, only property owners must pay the taxe foncière. Tenants are exempt. Moreover, it concerns both occupied and empty housing (with some exceptions). The taxe foncière is paid each year in the autumn.
Three components that are taken into account in the calculation of the taxe foncière are :
1. The cadastral rental value;
2. The revaluation coefficient;
3. The tax rate voted by the local authorities.
Redevance audiovisuelle :
If you are liable for the taxe d’habitation and own a TV, you will have to pay the redevance audiovisuelle, which is akin to the television license in that you probably already pay if you’re from the UK. If you don’t own a television (or equivalent device), you will need to specify this on your income tax declaration to be exempt from this fee, which is 138€ in mainland France and 88€ in other territories.
Home and contents insurance :
You will want MRH (multi risque habitation) assurance which covers you for material damages as well as providing civil liability insurance for anyone living in the property. Check with your broker that there are no special clauses for “second homes” that could affect your policy. We can put you in touch with specialist brokers to ensure that your cover is suitable. As a guide, the average cost of house insurance in France is 365 euros per annum. You may also want to add in holiday and travel insurance for when you are visiting your second home.
Gas bills :
Natural gas is commonly used in France for heating, hot water and/or cooking. The average gas-connected French household consumes roughly 11 800 kWh of natural gas per year, making the average natural gas bill in France around 830€/year, or about 69€/month. However, residential gas markets are open to competition in France, so you are free to choose the energy supplier and natural gas plan that suits you, meaning that the price you pay for your energy may be vary from this average. Other factors can also affect the amount you pay on your natural gas bill, such as your gas usage, insulation, the size of your home and your household, your region and even the weather.
The French have one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe. Last year, the average cost of electricity was 0,1557 € (incl. VAT) per kWh, almost 30% cheaper than the average in the E.U.
However, as with gas, you have a choice of supplier and price plan, so the cost of electricity will vary depending on your choices. There are two elements to your bill. The first is the standing charge, which is determined by the power supply installed. The most popular supplier in France is EDF with its tarif bleu, which can be as cheap as 104.89€/year (incl. VAT) for 3 kVa and up to 496.31€/year (incl. VAT) for 36 kVa, with plenty of options in-between. The second element is your electricity consumption. VAT is applied at 20.6% on the standing charge and 19.5% on the consumption. Local taxes are added at around 12%, before VAT. In 2019, electricity bills cost on average 810€/year per household, which rounds up to about 67€/month.
Homeowner association dues (charges de copropriété)
The charges de copropriété are the current expenses that must be paid collectively by the co-owners of a condominium. There are two main expense categories : general expenses relating to the administration, conservation and maintenance of the common areas; and specific expenses for collective services and common facilities. These expenses are paid according to the objective usefulness of the services and facilities for each lot. For example, the owners of ground floor condominiums do not have to pay for a lift unless it serves the cellar or the car park. Each co-owner in France pays an average of 46.77 euros per square metre per year.
In France, water is supplied by private companies such as the Saur group, Suez Environment and Veolia Environment, but the water supply infrastructure is owned and managed by local communes, so rates can vary by up to 100 per cent in price from region to region. Typically, you are only required to pay for the water you actually use, and are charged per cubic metre. On average, the water bill for a French household rounds up to about 453.60€ a year, or roughly 3.78€/cubic metre.
You’re billed by your local water company every year or every six months. If you own property in a condominium, you will usually split the water bill for the whole building with your fellow co-owners. Costs are divided based on apartment size, as are most other maintenance charges. In some situations, condominiums have a separate meter per apartment, requiring you only to pay for your own water usage.
Internet/TV/Phone costs :
The most popular internet providers in France are Orange, SFR, Free and Bouygues Telecom, and most of them offer reasonably-pried all-in-one (TV, internet and phone) plans. If you’ll be needing to switch to a French SIM card, you’re in luck! They’re extremely cheap in France and can cost as little as 2€/month.
These are all the main costs of French home-ownership that you will have to budget for. Of course you will probably want someone local on hand to arrange for gardening/pool cleaning and general property maintenance. Costs depend upon the size of the house and gardens but our charges start from €80 per month. If you have additional questions or concerns that we did not address in this article, you may want to check out the French government’s official information website. We wish you the best of luck with your property plans, and if you’re thinking of buying a second home, we’re always here to help!
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