France is a country that is known for many things, its culture, history, attractions, scenery, modern cities, traditional villages, and its safe property market. Buying property here is a lot more secure than in other countries, thanks to well regulated and followed property laws. EU residents are permitted to live and work in France without any additional visas and permits, and many have chosen to move to France permanently for work or retirement, or purchase a holiday home/investment property.
If you and your family are thinking of moving to France, there are several options open to you. You can deal directly with French estate agents or private vendors, subscribe to a UK based service that can put you in contact with vetted agents/vendors, or employ a UK based property firm that specialises in the French property market. These companies traditionally employ bi-lingual experts who have links with estate agencies across France. The benefits of using a service like this include access to a wider range of properties/locations via partner agencies in France, and many additional services. Help and assistance is often available sourcing experts/companies when it comes to legal and financial transactions, mortgages, insurance, banking, building work and other services in France.
When you progress to looking at properties, there are a number of things to consider: one of the most important being additional costs. This could include the cost of any initial work needed on the property, maintenance, and local taxes/utility bills. The location could also be a factor depending on your lifestyle needs; you may want to be close to bi-lingual schools if you have children, need good road/rail/air links if you commute for work or own a holiday home, or you may want to be close to/in a community with associated facilities (shops, health care, and leisure activities). Long term plans may also be a consideration, especially if the properties concerned are located in remote areas (not ideal for retirement), or in towns that are tourist hotspots in summer and quiet in winter.
If once all the lifestyle, financial, and legal issues have been considered, you decide to purchase a property in France, then it’s always advisable to employ an English speaking building surveyor to check over the property. Although legal help and advice can be sought from a bi-lingual solicitor, the buying process will be conducted through a Notary, an independent government official who is legally required to authenticate all transactions, and check the background to any property with the land registry. Paperwork involved includes a ‘Bon Pour Visite’ which protects an agents commission, a ‘Compromis De Vente’ , the legally binding purchase contract, and ‘Acte De Vente’, which is the final signing/handing over of the property, once the stamp duty, notary fees, and final payments have been given. Once all legal and business transactions have been completed, the only thing left to do, is begin and enjoy a new life in France.