Planning Your Property Search

Planning your property search

A few simple rules will help you find your French property more easily:

· Be as suspicious as you would be if you were buying in the UK. In particular, don’t ever buy unseen - estate agents in France are prone to take photos of properties from the best angle just as they would in the UK, and it is only too easy to end up with something completely unsuitable and, worse, unresaleable.

· Do your research. Work out which region or regions you want to look in; what sort of property you are looking for (is it to be a holiday home, or a permanent base?); what things you absolutely must have and what you can compromise on. Make sure you know what you would normally expect to pay in that region for such a property, and if your budget isn’t up to it, rethink either the region or the property.

· Prepare your trip. Check out in advance via the internet agents who have a good range of the sort of property you are looking for, and make appointments with them. There’s no point making appointments with agents who only have one property you are interested in - the house will either have sold by the time you arrive or just not be what you are looking for, and you could have spent the time with another agent.

· Give yourself plenty of time. The minimum time you need for a viewing trip to an area you don’t know is probably a week to ten days. That will give you time to get to know the area as you look at properties, which means that you can discount areas you know you don’t like, should you have to make a second or third trip. Equally, remember that France is a BIG country, and it can take a lot longer to get from one appointment to another than you think. One agency per day is the best way to do it, if you can.

· Don’t get carried away when you’re here. Make a list of those essential points, and if a property just doesn’t measure up, don’t go and see it, no matter how much the agent tells you it’s lovely. It’s your money, not theirs, and they’re not going to have to live there. If you really need three hectares, a property with only a small garden is just not for you. But you’d be surprised how many agents will try to sell you one!

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