I was just asked by a magazine what my five top tips were for people starting their property search in France. I thought I’d share them with you as well and I’ve thrown in a vineyard photo for good measure (it’s a blog post after all).
- Before starting the search as a couple or family agree on your priorities and expectations regarding your life or holidays in France. Many searches end in tears because partners can’t agree on where and what to buy. Flexibility is good, but don’t lose sight of your initial dreams.
- Search the entire market. There’s no central multi-listing system in France and about 40% of sales are private. If you don’t speak French the temptation is to limit yourself to a few English-speaking agents. Instead, consider hiring a local bi-lingual property finder who searches 100% of the market for you.
- When compiling your viewing list don’t rely on Internet descriptions. Avoid wasted trips by asking agents or owners lots of questions about location, road noise, exposure, views, distance to nearest town, and quality of construction or renovation. If there aren’t any interior photos then you can assume the worst!
- Get local knowledge and market expertise to ensure that you buy in the right location and pay the best price. It isn’t in the agent’s or the owner’s interest for you to buy elsewhere and you need to do your own due diligence. An experienced property finder can give you impartial advice on best locations and market value.
- Don’t lose your head when you fall for a house. Think of the most sensible person you know and ask all the questions they would. Evasive answers or Gallic shrugs are red flags and this is when your property finder can get to the bottom of things. They protect your interests until you have your keys in hand.