Buying Properties and House Hunting in France
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When you decide to buy your property in France, it could be a dream home to move the whole family to or maybe a holiday home for personal use or for renting out for holidays there are lots of things to take into consideration.
How to find the property of your dreams! You can find many good English speaking estate agents on the internet who have many properties for sale; we list many of these on our website all across France. You can go into the local Notaire’s office and you will normally find that there is a property sale board which offers properties for sale directly from the owners. This may be a good option as you will not pay any agents fees and you may find as we did that the property is on sale in an estate agents window for a much higher price that in the Notaires office.
However saying that the agents do a lot of the paperwork etc. on your behalf so it may be easier to use an agent if you are a first time buyer, the choice is yours, we did for our first property purchase in Brittany.
Important advice and tips on choosing the right property in the right area
Ok so you have now made the decision to either move to France or at least buy a holiday home, so what to do to make the dream come true. I would suggest that you decide on the right area of France. Should you look for an area which still gives you easy access to the Uk, this might be needed if you have to return on a regular basis so for people in this category it is advisable to look at Airport and ferry port distances from the place you want to buy.
You can still find many bargains in France and it is possible that you look for and find a great renovation project with a few acres of land and this could be ideal for you but you have to think about a lot more that first impressions.
A few acres of land sounds great, and brings to mind ideas of getting a few animals, horses, sheep, chickens who knows you could even dig your own lake and fill it with fish and offer fishing holidays if you have barns to convert to gites or holiday homes, maybe even a part of your home could be used as bed and breakfast.
So what’s it really like to take on a building or refurbishment project in France
Well we have been there and done it all and although it sounds fantastic it is not all plain sailing by any means. Imagine the process, we went to Brittany some 9 years ago looking for our dream home to buy and move the family to from Jersey in the channel Isles. I was working in Munich in Germany at the time so we agreed to meet in St Malo to start our search of Brittany. We viewed properties all day with a property agent (not an estate agent) and although I had seen a property advertised as “livable with fishing lake” it was far from this, but you learn from your mistakes.
So we looked and kept looking and on the second day of house hunting in Brittany we went with the agent to see the last property of the day (not that it was on our list of properties to view) as he had to do a check for the English owners (maybe it was a ploy by the agent but it worked well) and that was it we saw it and said we wanted it, a bit rash you may think but we had made up our minds. A Bretagne Longere with out-buildings and a large unused wing of the house and to top it off 7 hectares of land all around the property.
All sorts of thoughts were racing through our heads, converting the barn to a gite, using the wing of the house to create a bed and breakfast section and as a keen fisherman I wanted to create my own fishing lake and with over 10 acres what could be easier.
We bought the property and moved in 2000 and set about doing some work to create our dream.
We found a great French registered English builder and a French electrician/plumber who speaks perfect English after getting several quotes for the work to be done and the work started.
On my side I rented a JCB and set about creating a lake on the land, not as easy as it sounds but operating the JCB was one of the best weeks entertainment I have had, talk about big toys for big boys.
PLEASE NOTE: It is actually illegal to employ anyone in France who is not registered and you would be liable to fines or worse if you get caught employing people on “the black”. In addition it is always best advise to check the persons or companies insurance certificate, we did and never looked back as the work was finished to a high quality and on time.