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French Property buying guide

Posted by Chez de Chez on May 6, 2015
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This is a step by step guide to help you to work out what type of Languedoc property and location is ideal for you.

1.     Write a short paragraph stating what you want your Languedoc home to provide you with.

This might sound odd but read on, there is some sound logic to this! Here’s an example of what I mean…..

 ‘I would like to buy a property in France because….. I want to get away from the day to day stresses of running my business.  It needs to be somewhere where I can re-charge my batteries, clear my head and sleep!’

At first glance this sounds like quite a vague statement but from here it’s clear that I would need somewhere quiet, tranquil and low maintenance (unless I also had funds for a housekeeper or gardener).  And most likely I’ll need to be striking distance to an airport.  So already I’ve probably ruled out a house on a busy street, but also anything too remote, or a renovation project.

2.     Now write your wish list!

Firstly put everything down that comes into your headThen go over it again thinking about your reasons for wanting to buy a home in France and cross out any or consign to an optional list, items that now look a little crazy.  Finally go over the list again and highlight the deal-breakers (the ones where if it does or doesn’t have a particular feature then you’d be prepared to walk away).  You could even create a scrap book of pictures or articles or even an online blog. Basically anything that will help you to turn a vague dream into a reality.

Here are some of the more common property search considerations to get you started.

  • Budget – Total budget including fees (around 10% of purchase prices)
  • Type of property – Villa, Apartment, Village house etc..
  • Age of property – remember though that old houses have far more character but can be a bottomless pit for your money. Plus in some departments (Herault for example) its far harder to find a character property with a decent size garden in good condition for much under €300,000.  In parts of Aude you’d be looking at around €100,000 less for a similar property!!
  • Property size – remember when looking at property details to add the size of the garage, attics and basements to the living space quoted, as these are not counted as living space unless converted to a living room or bedroom. This will give you a far better idea of the actual size of the property and possible development potential.
  • Number rooms/bedrooms etc
  • Size of outside space – Remember large gardens are great but think about the cost of upkeep.
  • Type of outside space – would a roof terrace or courtyard work for you or do you want enough of a garden to grow vegetables or install a swimming pool
  • Garage – do you really need one?
  • Parking – do you need your cars to be parked off road.
  • Neighbours – do you want any!
  • Standard of renovation – remember ‘some refreshment’ in France can often mean a higher degree of work than just a few coats of paint we’d expect in the UK.

Location   

  • Do you have a specific department in mind? If so, have you researched that department to be sure your property criteria actually exists within your budget.  We didn’t do this with our initial search and wasted months before the penny dropped!
  • Do you want a cosmopolitan town or city, lively village, somewhere with views and if so should they be rooftops, countryside or sea.
  • Would you prefer a rural location or on the outskirts of a town with all the basic human rights – bar, restaurant, supermarket etc…
  • Is being near an airport, or close to the coast a priority, or an ideal.

I hope this helps you with your search.  Feel free to start looking through our properties.  Or if you’d rather we do the searching for you (we have contacts with many agents and only a fraction of the properties on our books are actually on our website) then drop us a line.  It would help if you’ve created your list in advance but we appreciate that in the early days its often easier to work with two or three key priorities and then narrow down at a later point, so we’ll work with whatever you have.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have about this article or buying a property in the Languedoc

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