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The purchase of a French farming property

Photo: Crabchick (Flickr, licence CC, modified).

This form presents certain administrative and financial constraints (operating permit, notary's fees), but there are solutions to reduce costs, share them and/or defer them.

The permit: a prerequisite to installation

If you plan to buy with a view to operating, you must first apply for an operating permit from the departmental directorate for territories ((direction départementale des territoires (DDT*)) for all surface areas greater than the threshold defined by the County Structural Plan (Schéma directeur départemental des structures (SDDS)).

(*) In some departments, it is the departmental directorate for territories and the sea (direction départementale des territoires et de la mer (DDTM)).

Costs relating to the notary

These costs are to be expected for the notarial office in charge of drawing up the purchase deed:
• notary's fees;
• cost of publication in the mortgage registry;
• registration fees or "transfer duties" paid to the Public Treasury.

Transfer duties (Droits de mutation)
0,715 %A farmerValid for all types of lease. Buildings operated under a lease granted to the purchaser, to his/her spouse, parents or ascendants of his/her spouse for at least two years, regardless of the zoning.The purchaser undertakes on his/her own behalf and on behalf or his/her beneficiaries to personally develop said property free of charge for at least five years
0,715 %A young farmer who has benefited from the young farmers' grant (dotation jeune agriculteur (DJA)) or a special medium-term settlement loan, for less than four yearsThe property is located in a rural regeneration and priority rural development area.
This rate only applies to purchases or fractions of purchases less than or equal to 99,000 €
0,715 %A person who undertakes to grant a long-term lease to a young farmerProperty belonging to a rural regeneration area. This rate only applies to purchases or fractions of purchases less than or equal to 99,000 €The buyer must rent out the property purchased under a long-term lease to a young farmer having benefited from the DJA or an installation loan for less than four years
ZeroAssignment by a Land Development and Rural Establishment Agency (SAFER)The transfer carried out by the SAFER must correspond to its missionsThe buyer or his/her beneficiaries undertake to maintain the agricultural purpose of the property for ten years as of the transfer of ownership

• Duty of 5.09% on the sale of rural real estate and residential house.
• In the event of an overall sale, the sale duty of 5.09% applies to the entire lot, otherwise it may be challenged by the tax administration.

Deferring the purchase

There are legal forms which allow you to settle by deferring the purchase of the operation such as the "vendor loan" (or "credit sale"): the sale is deemed "completed" on the day of signature (the transfer of ownership takes place), but the owner has a secured claim in the notarised deed of sale (he has a guarantee on the property).

Buy alone or as part of a group: be a farmer and partner of a GFA

If you wish to settle in France as part of a group, you may contemplate creating a company called an agricultural land group (groupement foncier agricole (GFA)).
A GFA is constituted of individuals who become partners and who may be either the future operator, or non-operator capital contributors. Each holds shares and the GFA is the owner of the property. The GFA may then lease the land. It is then subject to the tenancy status (read the page "Lease of a French farming property").
Advantages of the GFA:
• non-operating members of your family buy the property with you;
• the takeover is facilitated through financial relief. You can consider progressively buying shares from the non-operating partners;
• as operator, you can benefit from a long-term lease from the GFA: you are a farmer and partner of the GFA.

Capital contributors

In the case of takeovers of financially "heavy" farms, the Land Development and Rural Establishment Agency (SAFER) which covers the French department concerned may find a capital contributor who buys and undertakes to lease the property to you.

Useful link(s)

• On this website: Finding a property.
Land prices. is a site of the Land Development and Rural Establishment Agencies (SAFER). It allows access to the prices of farming and rural properties in France and to their developments. This site is intended for individuals and for land professionals. "Le prix des terres" is also an annual publication dedicated to the French rural land market, which can be ordered on the site. Site and publications are available in French only.


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