Buying A Home In France

By: John Keating

When buying a home in France many start their research online. There are literally thousands of websites, advertising homes for sale in France, most of them, with an English language format. You will soon discover that prices vary greatly, from area to area.

Most of the websites are french estate agents (Immobilier) and they can charge you up to 10% of the purchase price of the home. You can also find lots of websites offering properties for sale "privately", by their owners thus eliminating the estate agents fees.

When you have selected a property to to purchase, you then go to a local notaire (solicitor of sorts), pay a 10% deposit and sign a contract stating you wish to purchase the property, however, you and the seller (vendor) have up to seven days to change your mind, for no particular reason, and withdraw from the contract. After seven days the wheels start turning and in about two months, you pay the remainder of the money. The notaire will charge you 3 to 10% (of the purchase price) this will depend on price, age and type of property, that's it, no big deal.

When buying, if it's a holiday home you're after, bear in mind when you'll be using it. If it's only for the summer months then all parts of France will suffice, as the summers are at least warm, if not hot, everywhere.

If you expect family, or friends, to visit your home in France, you may not have enough room to put them up, so a b&b, gite or hotel nearby would be nice. Also a Bar, Cafe, or Restaurant nearby would mean you can all enjoy a drink and a meal, without having to worry about getting taxi's, or driving with a few scoops. In some small towns and villages it can be difficult to get a taxi or bus late at night, especially in the off season.

When buying, consider also, if it's only for short holidays you don't need a big garden. A balcony, patio or terrace will do the job nicely. You don't want to arrive and start your holiday fetching the spade and lawnmower, attacking the garden and falling into bed exhausted, with a slight touch of sunstroke.

Yes, property prices very, with Paris and the Provence Region being the most expensive. South France is expensive, especially along the Mediterranean coast from Nice to Marseilles, and in many of the smaller inland towns and villages.

It's still possible to purchase a property in South France, on the Mediterranean coast, at a relatively cheap price. Check out the area known as the Languedoc Roussilon Region. This is a sunny part of France and is situated beside Provence. It stretches from the beautiful city of Montpellier over to the Spanish border. It includes the historic colorful towns of Sete, Agde, Nimes, Narbonne, Beziers, Carcassonne and Perpignan.

Now is the time to buy in the Languedoc! This region is becoming a much sought after place, for foreigners and the French, to have holiday or permanent homes. Because of the sheer beauty of the place, and its easy accessibility for Irish and UK travelers (Montpellier, Nimes, Carcassonne, Perpignan and Agde-Beziers airport) prices are rising steadily and Will soon equal the Provence Region.

As you move further inland prices tend to drop with the exception of the larger cities and towns. One can still get good value for money in the Poitou Charante, Brittany and the Pay de Loire Regions. For the price of a small studio apartment, on the Mediterranean coast, you could obtain a 2 to 3 bed-roomed village house in these areas.

Do keep in mind, a lot of cheaper properties are located in very small hamlets and remote villages, what initially seems peaceful and serene can soon turn into a situation of isolation.

If you decide to buy a property in the countryside with wonderful views etc., it is very important to view the area in the winter months. What can look fabulous in brilliant sunlight can turn into a big disappointment in winter, with hail, rain and snow.

Find out how near the shops, restaurants, train stations and airports are, it's very important in the long run. Most towns and villages have English speaking residents, ask them about the place, the pros and cons and what's what!

So, when buying a home in France, research the various regions and types of property. Stick to your budget and your requirements.

Don't be waylaid or tempted by houses with huge gardens, with plenty of rustic outbuildings (you don't need them), or properties with an extra few rooms, in need of repair, as experienced tradesmen are expensive. What can look like a few small repairs here and there, can soon develop into a serious problem, needing expert attention. This could leave you out of pocket big time and in some unfortunate cases selling up.

Keep to your budget, your requirements and location and you won't go wrong.

Good luck!

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