How to plan your property viewing trip to France


This is one of the busiest times of year for the property market in France so if you are planning to come and visit some potential houses in the near future, here are a few tips to make your viewing trip as productive and hopefully as enjoyable as possible

Book viewings in advance
Remember that sometimes agents won’t have updated their listings online and the house you are hoping to view might already be under offer or sold. Alternatively, the owners might be away, and agents don’t always hold a key. Either way, to avoid disappointment, it is always better to make an appointment and give agents enough time to arrange the viewing.

Don’t view more than about four properties in one day
Bear in mind that agents in rural France cover big areas and the properties you have requested to view could easily be an hour apart plus each viewing will generally take around an hour so leave plenty of time. Usually people find that, although fun, it is also very tiring viewing numerous houses and if you try to see too many in one day, they all begin to blend into one and you will forget the important details of each, so it makes sense to give yourself a break in between viewings and not to cram too many visits in a single day especially if they are all listed with different agents.

Explore the local area
It is important to give yourself enough time after viewings to explore the area around any favourite property(ies) to make sure that you like the region as much as the house and to be sure it is the right place for you. Try out the restaurants, talk to people, go for a walk and generally get a feel for the area.

Write yourself a clear brief outlining your main criteria
Remember France is a big country with a huge number and variety of properties on the market so it is easy to lose focus and forget what is you originally started looking for in a French house. You will also find that, during your viewings, your search will evolve so you might need to update that wish list…

..But be prepared to compromise
While you should be clear on your absolute non-negotiables, know that there are always compromises to be made; no house will tick every single box whatever your budget.

Give honest feedback
Tell the agents what you like, what you don’t and, crucially, why, so that they can think of other houses that might suit you better. Hopefully it goes without saying but I will just in case; don’t be so frank with the owners of any house you really don’t like; they can’t change the house and it doesn’t help anyone (it is the agent’s job to feedback to their clients any comments about aspects of the house that might be putting off potential buyers).

Secure financing before viewing
Knowing what you can realistically afford makes your decision easier and helps to focus your search. You don’t want to fall in love with your dream property and then realize it is out of your price range. Agents will also take you seriously and be prepared to put more work in if your finances are already in place and you are ready to make an offer. Make sure also that you have a 10% deposit accessible as this is payable on signing the first contract, the Compromis de Vente, usually about three to four weeks after your offer has been accepted.

Don’t be alarmed if you’re asked to sign a “Bon De Visite” by an estate agent
As a single house can be marketed by several estate agents in France, these documents are simply there to show the vendor which agent has shown you the property and hence is owed commission on the final sale.

Don’t be afraid to make an offer if you’ve found “the one”
Don’t lose out to another buyer. There is a 10-day cooling off period for the buyer if you change your mind even after you have signed the Compromis de Vente. Equally, don’t be rushed into making an offer if you are not sure and need to discuss it with other members of your family; the housing market does not move very quickly here so usually you have time to be sure of your decision.

If all of this seems exhausting and stressful, why not get in touch and I will organise everything for you. Not only will I preliminary view all the houses that might suit you in your preferred area, I will also send you a report and photos and together we will draw up a short-list of properties for you to come and view over a few days once you are ready. I will make all the appointments for you, accompany you on viewings and discuss the good points and bad points of each house and area as well as negotiate the final deal for you and help you through the buying process.

You can email me at: or call me: 0033 6 45 23 62 48

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