Five essential tips for buying a house in France

Written by on April 28, 2014 in Buying a Home

dream home in france

When you’re looking to buy a property and move to France there 5 key things that you should consider – from those that have been there, done it and bought the T Shirt!

5 fundamental tips for buying a house in France and having a succesful relocation:

1. Location, location, location

It’s as true of France as it is anywhere else in the world and it is key to a successful relocation to France.

If you want rural bliss – you’ll most certainly find a huge selection of gorgeous properties to fall in love with.

  • However, if you’re self-employed and rely on the internet for work – bear in mind that too rural may mean slow internet download speeds though you might consider satellite internet as a way round it.
  • If you need to commute to another country, make sure you have transport opportunities. The Pas de Calais region is very popular with Brits who work in the UK and especially London which is only 3 hours away by car (with Eurotunnel). Although only 20 miles or so from the UK mainland, this part of France offers an authentic French lifestyle though perhaps not the sun that comes from the south.
  • Think about the future, it may seem blissful that there are no amenities close by in the summer, but if you’re in an area that has a lot of snow it might not be so much fun in the winter to trek to the shops.

2. The Property

Lots of expats fall in love with a huge house with lots of land which can be absolutely wonderful, but, just bear in mind how much work it might be to renovate, clean and heat a large property – and how much grass there is to cut.

Old, abandoned and unloved properties can pull out our heartstrings – but, they can cost a small fortune to renovate and restore. What might seem a fabulous bargain may cost a small fortune to do up.

Don’t be put off by the points above, they don’t apply to everyone but it’s easy to get carried away and not consider the amount of work or funds needed when you’re confronted with a gorgeous ruined chateau.

If you need to employ builders or artisans for your project – it might be worth checking availability in the area before you commit to buying, particularly if the work is urgent.

3. Learn French.

If you don’t you’ll never make it as a real member of the community and you will miss out on so much. You don’t have to speak perfect French – but if you don’t try it won’t be appreciated by your new neighbours. It also means you’ll have a hard time trying to work out even the basics like how the rubbish collection works.  There are loads of online options to help you learn French  or you could do an intensive session at a language school, private tutor locally, DVDs, books – the choice is immense, just pick what suits you best and go for it and practice, practice, practice.

5 Unconventional tips to perfect your French

4. Make friends

Accept that making friends takes time – France is not a one night stand option! By which I mean, be prepared for it to take time to make French friends in France. One thing to be aware of is that French people generally set great store by good manners and etiquette. Avoid the risk of not making friends through making silly errors by knowing general etiquette rules like shaking hands the first time you miss rather than lunging in for the kiss!

Etiquette tips in France, To Kiss or not to kiss, etiquette rules

5. Join in

There is a saying that it is better to be ridiculous than dull! Sometimes you might feel ridiculous, your French is not perfect or you don’t want to dance at a local function but – take a deep breath and just go for it. You’ll find that your new French friends will appreciate the effort you make. If you really want to be able to join in anywhere and everywhere you go – learn to line dance to Le Madison! You hear this catchy tune all over France and everyone knows the moves…

Learn to dance Le Madison by video!

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