Why Taking Action on Your French Property Dream is a Good Idea
First and Most Important Step: Selecting your Target Location
Second Step: Physical Characteristics your New French Home Must Have
Third Step: Choose Your French Property Agents
First Step: Selecting your Target Location for a Home in France
Weather:– whilst all of France will offer a climate with different seasons, some areas offer more sunshine and longer summers in the South whilst the Northern departements have similar weather to the South of England.
Sports and hobbies: – if you enjoy perhaps golf, tennis, water sports, wind-surfing, sand-surfing white water rafting, walking, skiing, fishing, horseriding then there will be certain areas that are likely to offer a wider choice of these activities and a landscape to suit them. It is possible in France to be within striking distance of sea and ski if you would like to do both, depending on the season. If you perhaps have more sedentary interests such as bridge, you will also find clubs or meetings for this. If being able to see original versions (ie in English) of films as they are released is important to you, then check the area to see if this is possible.
Shopping: – if meandering around shops or markets is one of your pleasures then choose a location within striking distance of a major town, with lots of pretty villages or small towns surrounding it which will offer daily and weekly markets so that you have all the different types of shopping close by.
Architecture: – if you are keen to find a property of a certain style then this should be on your list so that you can check where these types of buildings are available.
Accessibility: - availability of transport by road, rail and air may be important to you if you intend using your property for short trips throughout the year and even if you are intending living there permanently you might like to check that your family and friends will be able to get there easily. Transport within the area might be of interest to you if you prefer not to drive too much but generally a car is really necessary in France to make some journeys in many areas, as public transport is not so available.
Food:- If food is important to you and buying local produce you might be more interested in certain areas that produce perhaps foie gras cheese, fruit, wine etc.
Landscape:- are you looking for flat areas, hills or mountains or to be by the coast?
Budget:- Last but not least, your budget will have to be taken into account, as you may not be able to find what you want at the price you want to pay in all areas. If you are intending to raise a mortgage, now is the time to contact a mortgage broker or bank to confirm how much you can borrow so that you don’t waste your time looking at properties in the wrong price bracket.
Second Step: Physical Characteristics your New French Home Must Haves
Make another list – this time listing your minimum requirements for the actual property – i.e. how many bedrooms, approximate size, whether you want an apartment, cottage, house, villa or chateau or any other relevant description.
Do you want a balcony, terrace, garden or more land? Would you prefer a new property, a resale property or something really old? Are you prepared to do a certain amount of work, a total renovation or would you prefer to buy something you could immediately live in and perhaps redecorate later?
Do you want to be on a development or in a residential street with neighbours or totally isolated? Would you like to be able to walk to shops and amenities?
At the same time as making this list, it is a good idea to make another list of things that you definitely don’t want - perhaps to end up with three columns – ‘essential’, ‘would be nice’ and ‘don’t want’.
Third Step: Choose Your French Property Agents
Call an agency to advise you as you can best find out all this information by chatting to a well-informed agent who deals with most of France, and I happen to think Latitudes would be an extremely good choice!
If you run through your list with them they will have the knowledge and experience to give you a good overview of the various areas and to tell you, which areas will offer what you are looking for and give you some idea of prices in those areas. They will be able to send you a selection of property details that area available within your price range in the areas that might suit you.
You can also look through the internet for general tourist information on the areas. Having managed to accumulate some information on the areas you will then be in a position to make your first selection of areas – you hopefully will not have more than 3 or 4 departements to choose from but within these departements there maybe several areas you want to investigate.
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Buying a House in France | Buying a French Home | Location Search