How to plan and decide on which French property to buy

Planning ahead for your new French home – a guide to how to find just what you are looking for

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There is something about France – in fact many things – which have, over many years, attracted British buyers. Our nearest neighbour offers so much and France remains the most popular country in which to buy a second home or a new permanent home.
 
Many of these reasons are obvious: France is so easy to get to by plane, car, train or boat, for a start. The climate is mostly very appealing, particularly in the South of the country. There are some wonderful properties available and they are still just so much cheaper than their British counterparts.  The food and the wine appeal to British homebuyers, of course, and of course there is just so much space. France is a huge country with diverse landscapes, wonderful architecture, mountains, fabulous coastlines, stunning ancient towns and villages, bustling cities, great food and drink, history, culture and, of course, shopping! There is probably not much more to ask for.
 
France is a huge country with diverse landscapes, wonderful architecture, mountains, fabulous coastlines, stunning ancient towns and villages, bustling cities, great food and drink, history, culture and, of course, shopping!
 

1. Do your research

As with any big decision, what kind of property to buy and where needs careful research. Knowledge is a wonderful thing and it makes complete sense to make several trips to two or three different areas to get a feel for what they can offer – or to go back to areas you may have been to in years gone by. Sometimes, you don’t quite know what you are looking for until you see it, and when it comes to property hunting, you won’t see it unless you look at properties in several in different areas! Doing some research well in advance on each region of France will stand you in good stead. Think about access back to the UK and elsewhere. Consider what is important to you for day to day living such as proximity of public transport, local shops etc.
 

2. Think about what you need in practical terms

Thinking about what is important to you in terms of types of property, climate, proximity to towns, airports and stations, the different types of landscape, and of course, price, is a good starting point. If you are not sure about location in terms of town versus country, you could take a middle course and consider a property in a rural area, but just a short drive to a decent town or large village. Be practical and honest with yourself and your family, give real thought to what is important to you.
 

3. Get to know the local community

Being part of a traditional French community will help you integrate far more easily than being in a mostly expat area, but the ideal is probably to seek out the best of both worlds: something which should not be too difficult these days, since you are likely to find many fellow Brits in plenty of different areas in France.
 
Thinking about what is important to you in terms of types of property, climate, proximity to towns, airports and stations, the different types of landscape, and of course, price, is a good starting point
 

4. Explore your preferred areas at different times of year

Find out as much as you can about what each season has to offer in different areas. A good tip is to go to France in the middle of winter.  The saying goes that, if you like it then, you will love it in the summer! 
 

5. Find out about the importance of currency exchange when buying in France

Last but by no means least, talk to the friendly team at Smart Currency Exchange before you go on any trips to view properties. If you know what the current exchange rates are and how they relate to your property purchase, you will be able to set a budget for your property. Your hard earned money will go a lot further if you use their services to avoid losses on your currency transfers, and this is something practical you can tick off your list before you even start your property search. We found their help invaluable in our French property buying journey.
 

Want to know more? Get help from our team of experts

Buying overseas is something which has become very much the norm for many British people and buying in France will be an absolute joy – as long as you have done your homework, read up on the legal process and taken as much time as you need to find what you are truly looking for. Here at France Property Guide we are dedicated to helping you do just that. We are here to answer your questions and guide you along the way to owning your very own French home.

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?
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Legal Matters

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

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Hidden Costs

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

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