It’s a good idea to explore your preferred areas with a dedicated viewing trip to France as soon as you can. This way, you can try to get a true feeling for the area before you commit to purchasing a property there.

When you are considering moving to France, one of the best things that you can do is book a trip to the region or areas that you are considering purchasing property in. There are a number of ways that you can make sure that this viewing trip is as practical and effective as possible.

Planning your viewing trip to France

Firstly, make sure you plan to be in place long enough to absorb everything that you see. No matter what, you don’t want to have to rush from one village or town to another. Spending more time in each places lets you understand what daily life is like. Also, it’s good to have some time set aside in case anything crops up, too.

Ideally, your trip should be around four to seven days long. However, we would recommend checking public holiday dates well in advance in case businesses will be shut. In addition, remember too that Sundays are not trading days in France. The last thing you want to do is to arrive in France and find that nothing is open!

Make sure to do prior research

It’s a good idea to spend some time in advance planning your viewing trip to France. Above all, research everything you will need to know about the area and the properties there. It’s really important to be able to give your estate agent as tight a brief as possible. That’s because the more they know about your specific requirements, the more time you will save on the trip. As a consequence, it’ll be more likely that you will find what you really want.

Make sure your viewing trip to France is about exploring and absorbing the area, as well as viewing properties.

We always recommend taking a trip during the off-season, such as winter. Firstly, this enables you to view those places traditionally seen as particularly sunny or warmer climes, so that you can get an idea of how cold or dark it gets in the winter months. Secondly, winter is also generally a much slower time for estate agents and vendors. This means you may get more attention, and you could find that you have a better chance of negotiating a lower price on your chosen property.

Experience the daily life of your chosen area

What could be a good idea is to rent a property in the area, rather than stay in a local hotel. This gives a more realistic experience of the area, as you will need to navigate the local stores to get groceries and can get an idea of the cost of everyday items. In other words, it shows you what it’s like to live and not just holiday there.

Buying in France - The Oriege river in Ax-les-Thermes - France, Midi-Pyrenees

Make sure your estate agent knows exactly what kind of property you are interested in looking at.

Make the most of your time

One of the best ways to view properties on your trip is to be shuttled around the area by your estate agent. This is because it’ll give you time in the car with them. You can then use this to go through any of your most important concerns. You can also ask questions and discuss any testimonials from previous clients. However, if you won’t be driving out there when you move, do double-check the transport links for your areas. You don’t want to be in a situation with one car between a couple and no public transport to speak of.

When you are actually viewing properties, make sure you take plenty of notes and photographs as you go around each property, so you can compare and contrast later on.

It’s also really important to take pictures of the view from each property you look at – this is often forgotten, yet is certainly helpful to ensure you remember the benefits of each one.

Your viewing trip guide

We can provide you with an essential Viewing Trip Guide, outlining the most important aspects to get right on your viewing trip to make it as effective and efficient as possible. If you are preparing to go on your viewing trip, download our free guide today.

The main thing to remember about your viewing trip is that there are no set rules on how you go about it – you have to find what particularly works for you.

It’s not unknown for prospective buyers to first take a very leisurely trip to an area, exploring and making notes on different towns and villages visited, but not actually viewing a property. If this sounds like you, then don’t panic! When you return home, you can reflect on what you have seen and fine-tune your criteria for a second trip dedicated to just viewing properties.

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The Viewing Trip Guide is designed to support you through the process of a successful property viewing trip, with tips and information on the most important steps to take. The guide will help you to:


  Find out what makes a successful viewing trip
  Get the right legal advice before and after your trip
  Choose the right estate agent to meet your needs
  Understand the important financial considerations

Download your free guide to viewing trips

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