Felicitations! The deal is signed and sealed, and your French dream is about to become reality as moving day approaches. Our guides to Moving to France and Removals to France will take you through all the steps to becoming resident and making the move to France, but there are also some things to consider when it comes to moving into your French home.
Here are four essentials for your pre-move to-do list!
1. Change Your Address and Set Up Mail Redirects
Setting a little time aside to do this now will save time later. It is simple enough to send a text message to all your friends and family informing them of your new address.
More importantly, be sure that you change your address on all official correspondence. This means notifying the relevant tax and social security offices (in both France and your previous country of residence), and changing your address for your bank accounts, healthcare, insurance policies, car registration, and other official contracts.
If you are already resident in France and have your social security number, you can also register for France Connect. When moving into a new home, simply update your address, and it will automatically update all connected accounts, including tax, medical, and bank accounts.
2. Prepare for Moving Day
Be sure to check exactly what is included in your property purchase and the condition that your home will be in on move-in day. It may sound obvious, but there may be subtle differences between a house move in France and what you are used to in your home country. Forewarned is forearmed!
Ensure you know whether light fittings, curtain poles, kitchen units and the like are included in the sale, and double-check that any work or removals that were detailed in the contract have been carried out. Read the inventory and come prepared – forgetting little details like lightbulbs can make moving day even more stressful.
3. Set Up Utilities at Your New Property
Setting up utilities at your French property is an essential task prior to moving in. You should also get to grips with the location of your meters, fuse boards and stop-cocks. Before moving in, ensure you know the location of your water, gas, and electric meters and also any cut-off points.
For example, your stop-cock could be located outside your main property and in the event of an emergency, you would need to know exactly where. It’s not unreasonable to ask for your agent for a sketch, including locations of water meters, wells, fosse septique pipes, fuse boxes, and the like.
It is usual practice to read meters together or for your agent to arrange this, but it’s advisable to take a photo too. Do not assume your utilities have been swapped to your name – you will need to establish a contract with a provider. Read our guide to setting up utilities at your French home to help with this.
If your property uses bottled gas, ask for it to be checked – will there be any gas at the house or not? If not, ensure you have some if it will be needed.
If your central heating system uses oil (fioul), ask to establish how much fioul remains? Will you need to arrange for a delivery? Winters can be cold, so do make sure you can keep yourselves warm at that time of year. Deliveries are easy to arrange online, but someone usually needs to be present at the property at the time of delivery.
If you have a woodburning stove, do you have a wood store and if so, how much wood do you have? Again, if moving in winter, you will need a supply of dry, seasoned wood to burn. Ensure your wood is stored in a dry location away from the house.
Ask the current owner for a set of simple instructions as to how to operate the central heating system – whatever sort of system it may be.
Remember to set up your landline phone, internet, and TV contract, too. Find out if your area has fibre and research any packages online for a good deal. If you are in the countryside, choose your provider wisely. Repairs can take time, and it may be a more streamlined process with a major provider if you are rural.
Finally, water meters need to be read, and you will need to open an account with a French water supplier.
4. Visit Your Local Mairie
It is not obligatory to visit your local Mairie or register your arrival in France, but it may well be an appreciated gesture, particularly in smaller communes. Pop in and say hello, share your contact details and get to know the Maire’s secretary. This way, you can be kept informed of upcoming local events and of activities on offer at the Salles des Fetes ( local Community Centre).
This is also the time to find out about important day-to-day needs, such as garbage collection times and local recycling rules, and where your local dechetterie (tip) is.
Best of luck in your new home and your new community. Embrace every moment!
Moving to France?
From applying for your visa and opening a French bank account, to integrating in your new community – FrenchEntrée is here to help! Let our Essential Reading and Visa & Residency articles guide you through the whole process, then visit our Owning Property, French Tax, Healthcare, and Life in France zones for everything else you need to know.