Finding a home in France that you love isn’t the difficult part – narrowing down your options is. Before you get carried away and say “yes” to the first property you see, make a plan so that you can decide on the home that’s right for you, not just the one you like. It’s possible to find everything you need as well as the extra features you hope to get, and all in the idyllic setting of your choosing. Here are six tips to help you plan a successful property viewing trip to France.
Know your requirements from the start
Even the most beautiful property in a perfect setting won’t keep you satisfied long-term if it doesn’t have the characteristics you need. If you require a certain number of bedrooms, elevator access, close proximity to an international school or advanced security features, then don’t settle on a home until you find one with those must-have features. Make three lists: what you must have, what you’d like to have (but can live without) and what you definitely don’t want.
Show up prepared
As you view different properties, you may have to walk on uneven ground, climb stairs, duck into wine cellars or maneuver around renovation projects. For this reason, make sure you wear comfortable clothing and comfortable shoes. If you’re viewing several properties in one day you’ll find the day can be long and tiring.
It is also a good idea to take along a notebook to write down any thoughts or questions that come to mind and to remind you what to look out for. It is also handy to have a camera to hand so that you can take pictures to remind you of any interesting details, features or anything that you spot that may need repairing.
Before you leave a property, ask any lingering questions that haven’t been answered yet, like why the owners are selling, if any furniture is included in the sale, what is the neighbourhood like, etc. Don’t rush through this – buying property is a big decision.
View the property during the day and night
A home that you love during the daytime can feel different at night and vice versa. Try to see the property you like at different times of day. For example, how noisy does the area get when school are out? If you’re close to a city or town centre, does it stay loud and rowdy throughout the night? Or does it seem a little too quiet an area for you?
Ask about heating for the wintertime
Summer is the most common time of year to plan a viewing trip to France, but you won’t get an idea of what the home feels like during the winter. Many homes in France can lack reliable insulation and depending upon the area that you are looking to live in, the temperature can severely drop during the wintertime. Ask about how the property is heated during the winter so that you know whether you’ll be comfortable or not.
Find out where the closest amenities are located
Buying a home in the countryside sounds lovely but having to travel nearly an hour to pick up basic groceries can get tiresome very quickly. Find out how close the property is to nearby amenities and really ask yourself what type of lifestyle you want. Do you want to be able to take a short walk into town to visit the shops or go out to a restaurant? Or are you okay with having to plan ahead in order to have a more secluded lifestyle?
Does it have good access to transport links?
If you’re relocating to France permanently and you don’t plan on having family visit very often, you may not care about access to international airports. However, if you’re buying a holiday home or you travel a lot, you’ll want to make sure that you can get to the closest airport within an hour or two. Additionally, check the public transport in the local area so that you know how to get around or to other cities and towns in France. Also, determine if you’ll need a car or not – if you end up buying property in Paris, having a car may be unnecessary and more trouble than it’s worth. If you do need a car does the property have adequate parking?
Once you’ve decided on a few properties that meet your requirements, book a viewing trip to see them in person. With enough planning, you’ll have a productive, worthwhile trip – and hopefully a brand-new home abroad, too.
As an expert property buyers agent, HOMEHUNTS are able to select beautiful, luxury French property based on your specific search criteria. Search our site to browse our selection of luxury homes in France. You can also speak directly to one of our property consultants by calling +33 (0)970 44 66 43.