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Checklist for buying a house in France

Posted by James Mansfield on July 28, 2017
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Row of old houses in Brittany France

Where do you want to live?

At sea, in a small village, a city or somewhere far away in the countryside? Near a highway, airport or port? On the coast or inland? Want to shop? Should the shops be within walking distance or don’t you mind driving a bit? Do you need a fast internet connection? Do you want to live on the border with Italy or Spain?

Budget, renovation and maintenance costs

What is your budget? If the property is to be renovated, please include it in your budget. Also, make an overview of maintenance costs.

What climate do you prefer?

On the Atlantic coast, you have a temperate climate with soft, wet winters and cool summers and of course lots of wind. In the East of France and Central France, there is a continental climate with warm summers, cold winters with rain and snow. The Mediterranean coast, the Méditerranée, has hot, dry summers and mild winters with rainfall. In mountainous areas, it can get freezing in winter. See this article on how to make your holiday home winterproof.

On France and its many climates, you will find a lot of information about the climate per region: maximum and minimum temperature, average temperature relative to normal, rainfall and number of sunshine hours.

What type of property do you want?

A home to live permanently in France or a second home for the holidays? Perhaps you just want to buy a property as an investment object to generate income. Or are you thinking about renting your vacation home to tourists?

The condition of the property?

Aren’t you afraid of doing some renovation work yourself, or do you want a new or fully renovated property?

Visit some regions

Try out some areas. For example, you can rent a house for a while to get a picture of the area. Collect as much information as possible. Each region has certain features, and in some of them, house prices are very low.

If you have found a property, then put all the pros and cons on paper. What are the “must haves” and what things are less important to you?

Ask questions about the area, about the house, about the history of the house. A good broker should be able to answer all these questions

Always inspect the property in person. Never buy a property through the pictures on the internet.

How will you finance the property? Do you need a mortgage? Request some mortgage offers and compare them accurately.

Take your time. Do not rush. A sober and objective look at the property before deciding.

Currently, the French real estate market is a buyer market. You can make an offer well below the asking price. If you have to renovate the property, you can even go lower. You can use the money you save on renovating the house.

If you’ve found a broker, explain what kind of home you want. Be precise, so you don’t run the risk visiting the wrong objects. Give the agent a list of all the desired features of your future property. And if you finally found a home, take your time and visit a few times before buying.

Get independent advice.

It’s also useful to let an expert investigate the property. There are a lot of English speaking companies in France you can ask for a survey. See the list of surveyors in this article. Let an independent construction expert determine if your house is indeed a dream home.

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