It is easy to see why France is so popular: prices are still very affordable, there is an enormous choice when it comes to types of property and even more so when it comes to regions; France is a very big country!
We moved to France 6 years ago and have never looked back. We have space, beautiful countryside, smart towns, stress-free living on a day to day basis and have made some wonderful French friends.
We have space, beautiful countryside, smart towns, stress-free living on a day to day basis and have made some wonderful French friends.
Where does one start one’s search? We made at least 4 viewing trips to France before we fell in love with the house we are in now. Our advice is to be as flexible as possible about what you want to start with: sometimes what you think you are looking for is not what you end up with! Think about the geographic location and access to the property at all times of the year. It is worth remembering that some of the low budget airlines have limited schedules during the winter months.
A good tip is to pick at least three different areas in France right at the start and visit them all: give yourself time to look around and get to know them all.
Next, I recommend thinking about the type of property you think you would like to buy – whilst still keeping an open mind about it all. Are you the type of person who loves ancient character homes with some original features, but which may need some renovation? Or does the idea of a new build villa appeal – one where you can simply walk in, dump your suitcase and open a bottle of local wine? We have found that many British people, particularly those approaching retirement age, do not want the hassle of renovation: they simply want to arrive in their new French home and enjoy the French lifestyle. Be realistic in other words about your own personal situation and wishes.
Another good tip is to ask questions – not only of your estate agents in France but of anyone you know in the area or indeed anyone you meet whilst there to let you know how it really is there at different times of the year. Don’t be shy: the French love to give advice!
Ask questions – not only of your estate agents in France but of anyone you know in the area or indeed anyone you meet whilst there.
It’s also important to do a fair amount of preparation before even going to France. How will you finance your purchase and have you got your currency account set up? Smart Currency Exchange offer a truly excellent service and speaking to them about your options and moving funds is something you can do well in advance of buying – and it is free and simple to register with them.
The buying process in France is not overly complicated. Once an offer has been accepted the notaire will prepare the Compromis de Vente. He acts for the government and is there to make sure the legal process is adhered to. You as the buyer have a 10 day “cooling off period” after you have signed the Compromis – during which time you can walk away if you choose to. If not, 10% of the agreed purchase price must be paid at the end of this time. The Acte de Vente is normally signed approximately two-to-three months later, and you will then be the proud owner of your very own French property.
Now that spring has arrived, many British people will be beginning to think about realising their dream of buying a property in France. We are here to help you throughout this journey. Happy hunting!