House hunting abroad doesn’t have to be a whole new ballgame – as long as you know the rules

Property in franceLegal building in franceSomeone looking through property in the french entree magazine

Book appointments in advance

This will help to avoid disappointment, especially at peak viewing times. Do bear in mind that agents do not always hold the keys to all their properties and will need notice.

Don’t try to view too many properties in a single day

We recommend meeting with no more than two agencies a day and/or lining up no more than five properties, to allow enough time between visits.

Explore the local area

It’s worth allowing time to do a recce of the local area to ensure it is indeed the right place for you. Consider a trip out of season. If your heart still skips a beat in the dead of winter, you have hit the bull’s-eye.

Don’t get land-hungry

Be practical. Yes, many properties in France come with acres of farmland and sweeps of outbuildings – at a snip. But do you really need it all, even if you can afford it? It’s not uncommon for the FrenchEntrée Property team to deal with clients who bought a property with sizeable amounts of land but now need to sell due to upkeep.

A clear brief is essential

Remember France is twice the size of the UK with a huge number and variety of properties on the market. It’s natural for your search to evolve so do keep in touch with the FrenchEntrée Property team if your requirements change. Our agency network covers the majority of France.

Be upfront with your agent

Tell them what you like, what you don’t and, crucially, why. This will allow them to refine their search and show you properties that are not yet on the market!

If you need financing, secure a pre-arranged mortgage or agreement in principle before arranging viewings

Knowing what you can realistically afford makes your decision easier and helps to focus your search. It also sets you up as a ‘serious buyer’ in the eyes of estate agents and vendors and puts you in a stronger position when it comes to negotiating.

Make sure you have your 10 per cent deposit

The buyer will be expected to pay the 10 per cent deposit upon signing the compromis de vente – the first sales agreement. So be ready to buy!

Don’t be alarmed if you’re asked to sign a “Bon De Visite” or a “Mandat De Recherche” by your estate agent

As a single house can be marketed by several estate agents in France, these documents are simply there to show the vendor which agent has shown you the property.

Don’t be afraid to make an offer if you’ve found “the one”

Don’t lose out to another buyer. Remember that, at this early stage, nothing is legally binding.

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