France is a much larger country than the UK and has a special appeal in every corner. Starting your search for a property, therefore, you are genuinely spoilt for choice.
Deciding where in France you want to buy is a complex interplay of factors. What is more important to you: winter warmth or being able to afford a garden, being close to good transport links or being able to get away from the tourists, easy access to the ski slopes or close enough to shop in Paris? You need to give all these key factors careful consideration right at the outset.
The benefit of France, of course, is that you are close enough to just nip over and check a few locations out. You could even stay in some of them on the cheap with AirBnb or similar sites. You don’t need to be pressured: each trip should be looked upon as an adventure and making several trips will give you a far better idea of what it is you are looking for.
The benefit of France, of course, is that you are close enough to just nip over and check a few locations out.
One of the loveliest things about home owning in France is being part of a vibrant, friendly community. The French in general are well used to British people buying homes in their country and welcome us with open arms (honestly! Don’t believe the idea that they are anti-Anglo-Saxon, it just isn’t true). There is a strong sense of family in France and people will rally round to help in a crisis.
Geographically, think carefully about whether you, for example, want to be close to the sea or mountains or prefer a town feel with a bit of life going on year round. Bear in mind that many tourist areas are not busy in the winter months. A visit in all seasons is a very good idea.
Lovely Normandy, with its ancient towns and villages and pretty properties, is slightly warmer than southern England, quite comfortable all year,
Research the different areas and ask about the climate. This can vary greatly. Generally speaking the further south you go the more sunshine you will find, but don’t imagine that it is necessarily warmer all year in the south; there are plenty of distinctly chilly winter spots which are roasting hot in summer – you’ve seen the movie Jean de Florette, I hope! Meanwhile lovely Normandy, with its ancient towns and villages and pretty properties, is slightly warmer than southern England; quite comfortable all year. So make a list of what is most important to you at the outset.
If you are heading off for a viewing trip, check out the Viewing Trip guide to help you get organised
You can do a great deal before you even set foot in France. Arm yourself with a huge map and do some homework on the internet. Ask friends who also love France about their experiences and you should soon begin to see a pattern emerging of what it is you like and where you are likely to find this.
Keeping an open mind, while keep also following the plan you have initially made for yourself, is always an excellent idea. We have known several people buy something completely different from what they had on their list in terms of type of property whilst not compromising on location!
Now is a great time to buy in France as prices have remained stable in most parts of the country for several years. Happy property hunting!