With the holiday period still buzzing, some are using their time in France to look for their dream property. If that is your case, pack more than just your sun cream and find time to plan your visit in advance. Planning is critical when it comes to a successful viewing trip – so we’ve put together some tips to help you.
French estate agents are often booked up in advance, so it’s worth arranging some appointments before you travel. When you’re working out how much time you need for a viewing trip, ensure that you’ve left time not only for travelling between locations but also for repeat viewings and a chance to get a feel for the location.
It also helps to look at your finances in advance. If you make an offer and it is accepted, you will need to sign a formal contract – the compromis de vente - and at this point, after a brief cooling-off period, you are generally legally committed to buying.
Understanding in advance how you will pay for that property will help you determine how much you can afford. If you need a mortgage to finance your purchase, it is a good idea to inquire in advance, as the lending criteria are likely to be different than in your home country – especially when applying in France.
Remember: If you are obtaining a mortgage, the notaire will automatically include this fact as a conditional clause in the contract. This means if your mortgage provider turns you down or refuses to lend on the property, you are not obliged to go ahead with the purchase.
Other typical clauses you might include are, ensuring that you can obtain planning permission or ensuring that certain works or repairs are carried out.
And if you are holding a different currency than Euros, it is very important to consider how you will exchange your funds, as exchange rates can substantially impact the final cost of the property.
For this reason, it may be worth considering opening an account with a foreign exchange specialist before your scouting visit. This allows you to develop a better understanding of the vagaries of the currency exchange market and get comfortable with the process of exchanging funds.
You can also take advantage of services like regular updates on available rates to help you plan your budget. Having the account already in place also means that the moment you find your dream property, you’ll be well placed to act – but don’t worry, there is no cost or obligation to use the account if you don’t find a suitable property.
You could even fix the rate before the payments are due to take advantage of a rate movement. Some buyers are also using this tool – called a forward contract* – to fix the total amount as soon as they are committed to the property, avoiding last-minute fluctuations that can affect the final price in sterling. Alternatively, you can track or even target a specific rate which may enable you to make the most of your money in France.
Exchange rates play a vital role in determining your budget, and that’s why it’s so important to do your homework before you go. A currency exchange specialist, such as Moneycorp, can offer you great rates and efficient service and provide access to an exchange specialist who can guide you through the process and explain the tools available for overseas payments.
A viewing trip is the first step in what can prove to be the rewarding experience of buying a property in France. Planning ahead ensures you make the most of your time and your budget, leaving you to concentrate on finding your dream property.
With a Platinum Trusted Service Award 2020 from independent review site Feefo and 40 years of experience in the industry, FrenchEntrée has been recommending Moneycorp for more than 15 years. During this time they have helped thousands of client planning the best way to pay for their property as well as supporting them afterwards with any further payment from paying bills, mortgages to repatriating UK pension payments for those who have retired to France.
Furthermore, we have worked with the same person at Moneycorp for more than a decade! You might be familiar with her as she often writes for our French Property News magazine. She has 13 years’ experience in foreign exchange, and is a qualified European lawyer with experience in European transactions. Mar will be happy to answer any questions or enquiries to support you through these difficult times
Opening an account is really easy and free of cost. You can register online or over the phone in a couple of minutes and for FrenchEntrée readers there are no transfer fees in any payment.
*Forward contracts may require a deposit
Beware of currency risk. None of the information contained in this article constitutes, nor should be construed as financial advice. TTT Moneycorp Limited (company number 738837) is registered in England. Its registered office is at Floor 5, Zig Zag Building, 70 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6SQ. Moneycorp is a trading name of TTT Moneycorp Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the provision of payment services (firm reference number 308919). Date of approval XX/08/2023
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