French people living in the US who wish to invest in France often have difficulty in obtaining loans from French banks, which fear penalties if they violate the US FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance) regulations. One of our customers, who experienced difficulties before contacting us, talks about how she got a loan for her property investment in France from the US.
Tell us about your profile
I’m 53 years old and am an employee (vice chair) of a large company in the financial sector. I live in the US with my American husband, who is a self-employed architect.
What real estate venture did you finance with Carte Financement?
I obtained a loan for a 22-m² flat in the 11th arrondissement of Paris as a buy-to-let property. Carte Financement negotiated a mortgage for my husband and me at 1.95% over 15 years for 80% of the purchase price of 172,000 euros and 80% of the renovation work price of 24,000 euros.
Did you approach your bank in France at the beginning of this process?
Yes, I consulted my bank in France, Société Générale.
If so, what was their response? What difficulties did you encounter?
My adviser told me that Société Générale was not able to finance me because of FATCA. (NB: The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is a US tax law against tax evasion. It obliges French banks to send documents about all accounts held by French people resident in the US.)
What, in the end, made you decide to use the services of a mortgage broker?
I did it because I knew that applying for a loan remotely would be easier if I went through a mortgage broker.
I found Carte Financement by chance in an internet search. Right from the start, my contact was very efficient and responsive. She was able to answer all my questions.
How did Carte Financement help you obtain financing?
Carte Financement enabled me to carry out my plan in full, which I am not sure I could have done on my own. When I put an offer in previously on another property in Paris, I paid a deposit, which I lost as the bank I had contacted was not able to finance me (again because of FATCA).
Did you have to travel to France or were you able to do everything remotely?
I went to Paris but that was my decision. I could have done everything remotely if I had wanted to.
How long did you have to wait between your first interaction with Carte Financement and obtaining your loan?
I contacted Carte Financement in 2015 but that was for a feasibility study. The project really got going in March 2017 and I found the flat in August. We signed the final deed of sale in December.
What did you think about Carte Financement’s fees compared to the quality of service rendered?
I feel that the fees are very reasonable, but as I live in the US I am used to asking for this type of service, which Americans accept more than the French do. Americans are happy to pay to use professionals and ensure that their plans come to fruition. I think that the French have a very different mentality on this.
If you had to describe Carte Financement in a single world — e.g. advice, expertise, availability — what would it be?
I’d say that is efficient and professional, which is needed when negotiating with French banks which still operate as if it was the 18th century.