BUYERS GUIDE TO PURCHASING IN FRANCE
Buying a property in France, as it would be anywhere else in the world, is an important undertaking and involves a complex legal process. Under French law, housing falls under specific legislation which governs all that is referred to as immovable property, i.e. that which is attached to the soil. Below we have laid out some tips to help you with the process of finding the right home. Follow the links for further information relating to the legal process, to find recommended lenders, currency brokers, for details of market conditions and for links to more agencies if you cannot find what you are looking for here.
Define your criteria giving consideration to personal interests, sporting activities, proximity to airports, towns, restaurants, schools and hospitals. Research the climate and the geographical, cultural and economic infrastructure in those areas that appeal. Tip: Areas that are overly touristic in the summer may close down to a large degree in the off season. This is less than ideal if you intend to use the property year round.
Define your criteria giving consideration to personal interests, sporting activities, proximity to airports, towns, restaurants, schools and hospitals. Research the climate and the geographical, cultural and economic infrastructure in those areas that appeal. Back up the research with field trips.
Define your budget, and analyse how it will be financed. If a mortgage is required, decide whether you want to borrow against collateral held in your home country or whether you want to borrow against the property you intend to purchase in France. In the first case there are no currency risks as your repayments will be based on a stirling loan. In the latter case one would use a French Bank. This is not as daunting as it may first seem as many banks have multilingual departments specialising in loans for foreign buyers and many familiar banks all have French divisions set up for exactly this purpose. Speak to a couple of Banks in order that you have an idea of what they will be prepared to lend as requirements are generally more rigorous than in the UK.
Define the type of property you require, new or old, elegant or rustic, how rural you want to be, the size of the house, outbuildings and the amount of land that you require. Remember that the cost of purchasing a house in France may be significantly lower that that in the UK but the costs of maintenance may not be all that different. Assess the costs of restoring a property in order that you can make an informed decision when you find a property requiring work bearing in mind that most property will require some degree of work.
Tip: If you don’t have much time to spend viewing in France, use your web search to cherry pick agents who seem willing to help rather than cherry picking properties. This is because properties don’t often turn out the way you expect from details on the web. Find agents with knowledge of the area, and their properties, and then let them help with arranging your agenda.
Estate agents are tightly regulated within the French system and on the whole offer a professional service. The system is different to that in the UK however and the property details they provide are often rather sketchy and exact locations are withheld. This is due to the legal constraints imposed on their activity and is compensated for by the level of hands on service. Allocate at least half a day per agent. The distances between properties can be substantial. Agents can also be a useful source of information about areas, market values, local developments, and basic legal issues.
On our UK number: 08717174109
Or direct on our French number: +33(0)562969427