Many couples dream of owning a holiday home in France, plus with great travel links it is one of the most popular countries for UK buyers. With current exchange rates and the French property market still static, it is a very good time to purchase a holiday home or permanent residence in France. Below you will find a list of options to get you on the property ladder in France and also where to find the cheapest properties for sale in France.
However, you still have to have your wits about you when purchasing a property in France, so here are few tips.
1. NO FAST BUCKS - Properties prices in France will climb a lot slower than in the UK, they have be dropping for a number of years, but they now seem to be static, so do not expect to buy and sell property in France as you would in the UK to make a quick profit so think long term.
2. TO GOOD TO BE TRUE – Some properties look to good to be true, so probably are. The property location although not as price sensitive as in the UK is still important when you eventually sell the property. Renovation cost could spiral out of control and the property would then be worth less than what you paid for it plus the renovation costs. So before purchasing a renovation project be aware of all the costs including a new roof, rewiring and plumbing, fosse septique, all of which are expensive items. Also remember building regulations are different in France, so it is no use having a mate or a family member re-wiring your property as it will not conform when inspected and will have to be re-done again.
3. SURVEYS AND DIAGNOSTICS - By law certain diagnostic reports have to be carried out on a property before you pass contract on it. Some of these reports are just guidelines for the purchaser informing you of faulty wiring, woodworm, dry-rot asbestos, fosses, so please note that it is not up to the seller by law to put these items in order. However, if you have not been made aware of some major problems in advance, it is a very good bargaining tool to re-evaluate your offer. Surveys are not as common as in the UK, but there are many companies that will carry out a full property survey if you have any misgivings about the property you intend purchasing in France.
Cheaper French properties
FRENCH RENOVATION PROPERTY – It is a well know fact that properties in most regions of France are a lot cheaper than in the UK, there are also still a lot of run-down properties in France in need of renovation, so if you funds are very limited you could purchase you first holiday home in France for under 20,000 euros. You will then probably spend most of your holidays doing renovations on your property and a fair amount of cash to get it in a habitable condition. However, you will be on the property ladder in France and with current exchange rates and the French property market is still static it is a very good time to purchase a property in France. This is how many people in the past purchased a property in France as property prices and renovation cost were a lot less, so they will now have plenty equity in their properties. So as we have previously said, do your sums on any renovations cost first.
TAKING OVER A FRENCH RENOVATION PROJECT – Some people have started a renovation project and even undertaken most of the major jobs. They then have either run out of funds or had a change in family circumstances, so keen to get a quick sale and cut their losses. This could be a cheaper option in the long run than starting a full renovation.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOMEONE ELSE’S MISFORTUNE - This is not as unethical as it seems because some owners of French properties have been forced by unfortunate circumstances to sell their properties. This could be the sad loss of a partner, or a close relative back in the UK needing care. Financial difficulties is also a major reason to want to move quickly on a property sale. The owner might be reluctant to give the real reason why they are selling, as some potential buyers could take a very unfair advantage. However, if you read between the lines you might realise that a property which seems too go to be true, could well be a genuine bargain as the owners just want or need a quick sale.
Finding inexpensive French properties for sale – There are many places to find cheap properties for sale in France, most buyers tend to think that they will be saving on French estate agency fee’s if they go for a private sale. However, if the owner has over valued the property himself then you could well be paying over the odds as most estate agents will advise owners of the current market value of their property, which is normally well below the owners price.
PRIVATE SALES – There are many places where you can find French properties advertised by their owners, here is a list of websites in French and English.
English language websites for Private property sales in France – There are many property websites offering private properties for sale in France including our own site French Classified and Property – Free classified adverts for private property sales in all regions of France, adverts can be in English of French. Anglo Info France – Forum and info about France and Free private property adverts for all area of France. Some other really popular well know sites are – Rightmove.co.uk.overseas France – Green Acres.com -
There are also many publications featuring French properties for sale by private owners these include – The Connexion – The newspaper for English speakers in France, available at major French supermarkets and by subscription. Glossy Magazines including Living France – French Property News – French Magazine – A Place in the Sun and many more.
French newspapers and magazines dedicated to property in France, such as De Particulier à Particulier, La Semaine Immobilière, or La Centrale des Particuliers. However, you will have to speak quite fluent French when contacting the advertisers direct as they will generally be from French citizens.
Cheap French Properties from French Estate Agents – Please do not discount French estate agents when searching for cheap French properties. There are many people in France wanting to sell their properties and prefer to deal through an agent. Many agents have properties for sale below 50,000 on their books, so it is well worth checking out their websites. Obviously some agencies do have a minimum commission as it takes the same amount of time and money to market any property. However, if you feel the fee’s are a little expensive for a cheap property then you will find that some agents are prepared to negotiate on their fee’s for a serious buyer.