Top ten tips for your French property search

This is my 200th blog post so I thought it would be a good time to recap on some things I have learned while helping clients find property here. Buying a home in France is probably one of the best things you will ever do as long as you bear a few things in mind during your search:


  1. Make sure that you know what you really want from your home in France

In my experience, the most successful French house searches are by people who are running towards something rather than away: A better quality of life, more time en-famille, a simpler way of living, a place to recharge and reboot, a new adventure, a project or a lifestyle. These all provide a firm basis and reason to buy, whereas buying as a solution to relationship problems, family problems, or financial problems will likely not be the best foundation.


  1. Plan for the future

It is very hard to imagine where you will be in say 10 years’ time but whether you are looking for a permanent home or holiday house, it is worth thinking about your longer-term future. While I think that ‘future-proofing’ is an over-used term, you can certainly make sure that you consider various scenarios and how you new home would fit into those; a worldwide pandemic for example…


  1. Check your budget

Calculate your budget, your finances and mortgage availability if you need one, before you start your search. Remember that buying a property in France is expensive so calculate all the costs before setting your budget. And do your research before viewing properties to get a good idea of what you can afford so as to avoid heartbreak later.


  1. Make a list of criteria for your ideal property 

A wish list is always helpful and will keep you on track once you start looking online only to become inundated with the sheer number and variety of properties. Narrow down to a region, whether you want a rural, village or town property, how large you would like the house to be and also garden, old or new and the state of repair etc. Have a list of negotiable criteria and non-negotiable…..


  1. But equally, do not have too many non-negotiables

While it is a good idea to know where you are not willing to compromise, it is also important to be flexible. Stick to your convictions by all means but keep your list of priorities small as you will never get everything on your wish list. Be careful not to dismiss a property when a few simple alterations could make it work. There is no ‘perfect’ house.


  1. Be open to suggestion, to potential – and be flexible

In fact, flexibility is vital; remember that one in three people end up buying something completely different than they thought they wanted so try to keep your options open while you are looking.  The perfect property for you might not be what you think you want at the start of your search, so being open to alternative suggestions is essential.


  1. Be prepared to be disappointed

Although the internet is a fantastic source of information, it is also a brilliant source of misinformation, and it is rare that a property in real life lives up to its online billing. Be prepared for disappointment when viewing a house you have seen advertised online and make sure you arrange to view plenty of houses on your trip to France, not just the dream house that is definitely the ‘one’ because, in reality, it probably is not.


  1. Don’t assume that a potential house will wait for you

It is well known that houses in France (and particularly rural France) can take years to sell which means that buyers feel that they have plenty of time to make up their minds and that they can simply come back and make an offer if they don’t see anything better. But the market has changed, and houses have been selling quickly so waiting too long to make that offer is one of the easiest ways for someone else to buy the house of your dreams. If you have a good feeling about a house and it ticks many of the boxes on your wish list, then making an offer is probably the sensible choice.


  1. Get professional help

Buying a house in a foreign country is hugely exciting but it is also complicated and can prove very challenging, especially if you don’t speak the language. It is easy to make a very expensive mistake. So, make sure you choose qualified and experienced professionals to help you through the process. Having someone on your side throughout will make the whole experience far more enjoyable, safer, and more likely that you will end up with the right house for you.


  1. Think positive and enjoy your search

If you start your search determined to find the house that works for you, in my experience you will find it. And if you would like some help, please do get in touch:


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