Original article by Beth Nicholson 28th January 2020 for France Property Guides (links included to their website for further information)
After Brexit, there will be some changes for British people moving to France. Buying property will be unaffected, but if you’re moving permanently, some new rules may apply. Here are your need-to-knows.
We British are known for our fighting spirit and whilst Brexit may have well dampened the spirits of those looking to buy and settle in France, don’t panic. The Withdrawal Agreement ensures that, until 31st December 2020, EU laws including freedom of movement still apply to the UK and its citizens – so you can still follow those dreams of buying in France after Brexit… Indeed, you could say there’s never been a better time to buy, as, if you have moved permanently before that deadline, you will retain your rights even after the period.
Find out more about moving after 31st January in our free guide, How to Live in France After Brexit.
It is still possible to make that move but now more than ever it’s important to implement due diligence and plan your move wisely. And if you can’t for whatever reason make the move prior to the transition period, or a sudden no deal occurs, please don’t think that all hope is lost. Whilst British citizens *will* become Third Country Nationals (TCNs) in France when/if the UK does finally leave the EU, TCNs have been moving to France for many years, in spite of the different rules that apply to them. It may certainly mean proving certain things with paperwork (notably around proof of income) but it will not become impossible!!
Reasons to own a home in France
Let’s be clear, people have always bought in France for many reasons and even if you’re buying in France after Brexit these reasons still remain. From the weather, to the quality of life/outdoor lifestyle, seeking a better work life balance, wanting to change direction work wise, living in a picture postcard house, owning a chateau or simply wanting to live out your retirement in a different environment, none of these things have changed. So, you may be required to fill in more paperwork or jump through a few more hoops but wouldn’t you expect that in a country not of your birth and a land which adores administration? And is it still worth it? Of course…just ask any of us.
Read your Emigration Guide to find out everything you need to know about moving abroad.
Planning and preparing for buying in France after Brexit
Does Brexit impact on all those things that you should be meticulously planning and preparing for in order to make your move? The realistic answer is not really. Most people when moving from one country to another ensure that they have planned to the last detail and you should still be considering the important questions with the same level of thought that was always required for a decision of this magnitude.
These questions include:
- Why are you looking to move or buy?
- How will you ultimately use your property here? (Holiday home, permanent residence or business base)
- What can you afford?
- How will you live and support yourself long term?
- Where would your dream house be located and in what style?
- Do you have any absolute deal breakers?
If moving as a permanent resident, are you ready for the adventure of living in a country with a different language and different rules/regulations? Whilst you can get away in many places without speaking the language to a certain level, it’s certainly helpful for integration purposes and in order to run your daily life stress free. And if you can’t cope with admin or processes that you will need to embark upon in order to live here (applying for health care, registering your vehicle in France, filing tax returns etc.) have you thought about how are you going to manage this?
Find out more about the buying process by downloading Suzanne’s Guide to Buying Property in France for everything you need to know about purchasing a property
The sales process
In the same way that planning and preparation should not be directly affected, neither should the actual process of buying in France after Brexit. Completing prior to the end of the current transition period (Dec 31 2020) would have some advantages regarding EU rights and some UK benefits, giving that extra confidence and security, until we have further visibility of exactly what if anything will/could change.
You should still however, as before have considered key financial points, making your offer, how much you are willing to negotiate and how to navigate the legal process – all of which you can find useful tips and advice on within our Buying in France guide.
In summary, should Brexit be allowed to put the absolute kybosh on a long held dream? Absolutely not! Should it in any way impact your thought process and planning around why and how to do it? Possibly. But providing you are well informed, have done your due diligence and are absolutely positive of your motivations, there really should be no reason why you shouldn’t do it anyway…