Hugely experienced search agent Nadia Jordan explains how to narrow down the huge choice of French properties, to bag your dream home in an area that’s perfect for your needs…
Setting parameters and priorities really pays off, when buying property in France.
Paul and Jane had been looking for a holiday house in France for two years by the time I met them. Although they’d viewed many properties, none of them had really felt like ‘the one’. Their problem wasn’t so much a lack of nice houses, rather too much choice. This is probably the most common difficulty experienced by house hunters in France: how to narrow down the location and decide on the ideal type of property?
France is a big country and immensely diverse so it would appear that finding exactly the type of property and location you require shouldn’t be a problem.
However , the difficulty comes when you start searching with almost no parameters.
If you were searching for a UK property, you’d have an immediate requirement to be within a certain distance of work or school, and probably near family and friends, plus you’d have an idea of towns an villages you liked or wanted to avoid.
When looking for a house in France, however, and particularly a holiday home, many people know only that they want to be able to make the most of the excellent restaurants, local markets and delicious wines for which the country is justly famous, but that doesn’t really narrow down the search very much. Likewise, knowing that you want a stone-built house with shutters, a nice-sized garden and in beautiful surroundings still doesn’t eliminate a single region of France.
Paul and Jane’s problem was that they simply couldn’t decided on their priorities and, hence, neither the perfect area or type of house. Once they began to focus on these, their search became easier. As this was going to be a holiday house rather than a full-time home, they first needed to decide when they’d be using the house and how their time would be spent there.
Once they were asked to imagine what their requirements would be if they were simply renting a house for a two-week holiday, they could immediately come up with areas of France that they liked and a list of criteria. This at least narrowed down their search to a house in a village or on the edge of a town, with a pool, a covered terrace and views, but which is rural enough for excellent walking and within reach of mountains and either the sea or a lake. For the first time, they’d assembled a proper check list and were then able to focus and start looking at actual properties for sale in a particular area, and subsequently narrow it down to t a shortlist of houses to view.
Of course, even viewing only properties which seem to tick every box provides no guarantee that you’ll find your dream home on your first viewing trip to France, but this approach worked for Paul and Jane, who fell for a property on their shortlist which they loved as soon as they’d viewed it. The fact that they’d done their research, had a strong idea what they were looking for and already knew it met all of their major criteria gave them the confidence to make a decision and put in a sensible offer.
Nadia Jordan runs Foothills of France and is a licensed property finder in the Midi-Pyrénées: www.foothillsoffrance.com