Your Viewing Trip to France

Ideally, you will need to get over to your preferred corner of France as soon as you can. This visit will be about getting a true feeling for the area - without feeling the pressure to buy!

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There are a number of ways that you can make sure your viewing trip experience is as practical and effective as possible. Make sure you leave enough time to ask around, talk to the locals, check out the shops and visit attractions.

Buying a property in France, as with anywhere else, requires careful consideration – you must allow yourself enough time to absorb everything you see. Leave some time in case anything crops up, and don’t feel like you have to rush and fit everything in – you can always go back and see the rest. An ideal length of time would be 4-7 days, and it’s a good idea to check public holiday dates well in advance – you don’t want to get to France and find nothing open!
 
One of the best ideas is to book a trip during the off-season – winter is always a good idea to view the sunny/warmer climates of the country, to give you an idea of how cold/dark it gets. It’s a slower time for estate agents, so you should get a lot more attention – and it’s said that vendors are more likely to negotiate a lower price when demand is at its lowest.
 
It is also quite common for prospective buyers to rent a property in the area, rather than stay in a hotel. This gives a more realistic idea of what it will be like to live in the area. You will have to navigate the area to get groceries, and can start getting an idea of the cost of everyday items – it can even help you determine what kind of noise there is. There are many stories about overseas property buyers who move into their new home in a quiet area of town, only to find that a nightclub opens next-door at 11pm blasting music, or there’s a flight path ahead. Once you have bought the property, it’s too late to do anything about these!
 
Whilst the estate agent is taking you around your new town, use the time in the car to go through all your queries and concerns, ask questions and discuss any testimonials from previous clients. It’s really important to make notes and take photographs as you go around – particularly photos of the view for each property. Once you have seen several properties, your memory may need a little jog!
 
We have put together a downloadable property analysis worksheet, which can be printed from here, and use it to make notes and rate the various factors. Ratings will include things like: appearance, condition, parking, views, noise levels, etc. as well as access to local amenities like grocery stores, shopping, medical and dental facilities, pharmacies, hairdressers, tradespeople, pubs/bars etc. You can look into area specifics, such as the crime rate, transportation, climate, things to do etc.
 
The main thing to remember about your viewing trip is that there are no rules! It’s not unknown for prospective buyers to first take a very leisurely trip to an area, exploring and making notes on different villages visited, but not actually viewing a property. On your return home, you can reflect on what you have seen and fine-tune your criteria for a second trip dedicated to just viewing properties.
 
For more information about viewing trips, click here to download our free viewing trip guide.


Further reading for Buying In France

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Viewing Guide

Finding the right property and can be a challenge. What do you need to think about early on?
Read more...

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Legal Matters

Buying a property in France has very different legal requirements to the UK. 

Read more...

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Hidden Costs

Spending tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds on a property in France is a HUGE decision.
Read more...

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Currency Zone

Did you know that you could save thousands of pounds when emigrating by using a currency specialist?
Read more...


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Don't forget to download your own copy of the Viewing Trip Guide to make sure that you're fully prepared to make the most of your overseas property viewing trip.
Download the Guide


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We can put you in touch with a trusted agent in your desired area, who will immediately send you example properties so that you can clearly define what you are looking for in a property.
Find out more...


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