IfÂ â€˜la belle vieâ€™ is calling, you may have thought about investing in a French holiday home. If so, youâ€™ll be joining a great number of Brits whoâ€™ve found their perfect property over in France.
So, if youâ€™re thinking of dipping a toe in the French property market, here are a few tips to consider.
1. Have a taster holiday
You may already have a strong idea of where youâ€™d like buy â€“ if not, itâ€™s a good idea to try before you buy.Â If you like the look of an area, try renting a property there for at least a week to see if it fits all your criteria. Also, try to visit the area more than once and in a different season. The atmosphere and facilities of some places can vary dramatically depending on the time of year. If youâ€™re investing in a property, youâ€™ll probably want to be able to enjoy it all year round.
2. Get clued up on procedure
When buying a property abroad, in France or otherwise, itâ€™s important to do your homework. The buying process in another country will obviously differ from what youâ€™re used to in your own country.
In France, properties are normally sold in a two main of ways: through a notaire or through an immobilier (estate agent). The institution of notaire dates back hundreds of years and they work for the state as certifiers of legal documents. Their role is to make sure that all the proceedings comply with French property law. Some foreign buyers may feel theyâ€™d also like to appoint a UK-based legal advisor (with experience in French law) to help check the paperwork â€“ but this will be down to personal preference.
Only make a verbal offer on a property and donâ€™t sign anything initially until you feel completely confident and sure of proceedings. Although do bear in mind, youâ€™ll probably have to sign a document to prove you have been shown the property by a particular agent.
3. Use a translator
Itâ€™s likely that youâ€™ll deal with someone who speaks English when viewing properties in France. However, if you donâ€™t speak the language well it could be advisable to take along someone who does. If you wanted to make an offer quickly or clarify a certain point â€“ having a fluent speaker on hand could make life much easier.
4. Consider it for rental
Carefully consider how and when youâ€™ll use your property. Will you need/want to rent it out for extra income? If this is the case, remember to consider the general holidaymaking public when viewing properties and think with your head as well as you heart. A property may be perfect for you, but would its â€˜quirkyâ€™ look and feel make it an appealing rental?
Layout is an important factor when considering it as a holiday let. A very remote location, small living area or dangerous balconies and bad accessibility could all work against you when you try to let it out.
5. Find the right protection
Once you have found your perfect French holiday home, itâ€™s time to find your perfect insurance. If this is a second home or intended for use as a holiday rental, the property will have some specialist insurance requirements. This means that a standard house insurance policy may not be sufficient.
You may need to leave the property unoccupied for long periods of time or use it for extra income. Whatever your new property is like, chat to your insurance provider to help ensure itâ€™s fully covered.
Guest post written byÂ Munveer GarchaÂ