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Can I buy a house in France that is not for sale?

We look into whether this is possible and whether there is an official way to register interest in a property that is not on the market

Readers have reported struggling to find British newspapers in France in recent months Pic: Serhii Krot / Shutterstock

Reader question: I understand that you can register your interest to buy a property should it ever come up for sale. Can you confirm if this is true please and, if so, how does one go about registering an interest?

The Connexion was unable to find any registry of this sort.

However, it is possible in France to make an offer on a property that is not for sale. 

To do this, you can contact the property owner yourself via a letter or through social media and make the proposal.

It helps to know a little bit about the property, such as how much it is approximately valued at. The best way to do this is to compare it to other nearby properties that are up for sale. 

You can also ask for the help of a local estate agent and explain that you are interested in a property not on the market. They may then approach the owner on your behalf.

There is absolutely no guarantee of this being successful. 

How to find out who the owner is

You can find out the name and/or contact details of the property’s owner via the local mairie. 

First, though, you will need to know the property’s registration details, known as ‘les coordonnées cadastrales’.

You can find these online at this link. Type in the property’s address and you will see a page with information similar to this:

Credit: Screenshot / cadastre.gouv.fr

The coordonnées cadastrales are usually in the form of one or two capitalised letters followed by a number. In the example above, it is LE 01.

In some departments, such as Moselle, there are two numbers instead of the letters. 

You can click on the magnifying glass icon to get a wider plan of the property. You can then print this page out and take it to the mairie

If all of this is too complicated, you can also try asking people living in neighbouring properties if they know the owners of the property in question. 

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