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Do You Really Want To Buy French Property?

Posted by admin on July 9, 2018

The Charm Of French Properties For Sale

Sometimes it is tempting, when you look at the charm of French properties for sale on the internet and at the ridiculously low prices of so many of them, to get carried away with the idea to buy French property of your own. It’s certainly not my place to dissuade you but I would like to suggest that you think very carefully about the pros and cons before you buy French property of owning a home in France before rushing out to France to buy one.

Below are some general points in favour and against the idea to buy French property whether for holiday use or as a full time home. Drawing on our years of experience helping people to buy French property I think the idea of compiling your own list of pros and cons is a way to keep your mind clear and to avoid making a mistake before heading out to France to look at French properties for sale.

Things In Favour Of Buying French Property For Holidays

  • Home from home. If you enjoy the French way of life when you are on holiday then it is even better once you own your own bit of France and become part of a local community. If you are planning to buy a holiday home you are likely to find that having your own home with your possessions in it is probably the most relaxing way to enjoy your time in France.  The second you arrive at your French home you are likely to breathe a deep sigh of contentment and relax immediately. You will know the journey, you will know what to expect from your holiday home and you are highly likely to be welcomed as a friend by your neighbours. Booking an unknown holiday home always seems to involve an element of stress, it’s rare for it to be exactly as you had envisaged and even if it is, you find that it takes a few days to unwind in an unknown location.
  • Familiar surroundings. If you plan to have children with you in your French holiday home they will almost certainly make local friends as soon as they arrive on their holiday visits and the friendships will pick up where they left off on the last visit. For children it is particularly lovely to have your own home in France where they can get to know local French kids and to practice language skills and be exposed to a different culture. None of this really happens when you book a different holiday home every year. Not only is it good for the children of the family, the adults too can enjoy being part of a community and developing lasting friendships with neighbours.
  • A French holiday home can earn an income. Despite the large quantity of homes for holiday renting in France, if you market yours with thought you can certainly make an income from it. Read our article about letting property in France. Many owners of French holiday homes use rental income to pay the running costs of their holiday home. If you plan to do this it’s a good idea to make sure there is part of the property where you can lock up your personal possessions so that they are all there waiting to be unpacked when you arrive on your holiday.

What’s Against Buying A French Property For Holiday Use?

  • The travel adventures stop here. If you like challenges, exploring new places, visiting different countries and the (possible) joys of travel, then a permanent holiday home might not be what you are looking for.
  • There’s the grass to cut. You will either have to accept that part of each holiday will be used for property maintenance or find a local person who will ‘keep an eye’ on your holiday home while you are back in the U.K.
  • Where to put your favourite possessions. This is something I found so difficult when I had a holiday home! Being someone who always wants my memories around me I found it hard to decide which to leave in the U.K. and what things to put into my holiday home. I began to feel like a traitor when I bought something special for one or other of my homes….would the other one ever forgive me!
  • Running costs x 2. It is probable that your holiday home will cost a lot less to run than your permanent residence in the U.K. but if you do decide to buy a holiday home in France you will need to budget for the running costs.

The Many Things In Favour Of Buying French Property To Live Full Time

  • Lifestyle, lifestyle and lifestyle. There are really two types of U.K. people who buy French property to live full time: young families who intend to bring up their family and find employment and secondly, retired couples (or singles). However, both groups usually buy fairly rural properties and are driven by the lifestyle which the French countryside offers. Without doubt, rural France offers a more traditional way of life than we are used to in the U.K. Families tend to remain local, most people still have their roots in the area and value all the local and national traditions to which you will very soon find yourself invited.
  • Bargain French property prices. Not only are French properties for sale usually much more charming than their U.K. counterparts but they are almost always less than half the price of similar U.K. homes. For families or retirees moving out to France full time, the better value properties means that they can enjoy a better quality of life than they can back home. Many buyers are able to sell their U.K. home, buy a property in France and have capital left to live on.
  • All the rest. Education, especially primary, is particularly good and usually very local with small schools and tiny classes. The curriculum is not so rigid as in the U.K. and there always seems time to learn local skills such as foraging for mushrooms, pressing grapes, making bread, even how to keep safe when wild bore attack!
  • For the elderly there is a real sense of respect. Even small towns and villages have activities connected with the University of the Third Age and it is amazing how local children will automatically talk to you. It is certainly easy to feel part of the community very quickly.
  • Maybe you are Planning to retire to a home in France then read our article on Retirement in France.
  • Health, which at the moment is available to all U.K. citizens with a full time residence in France on the same basis as the French population. It is obviously not certain at the moment what the future holds but one thing is certain, the quality of health care in France is amongst the best in the world and even if things go wrong and U.K. residents have to pay after Brexit, the good news is that healthcare is cheaper than in the U.K. and can be accessed very quickly with none of the long waiting lists that we are currently experiencing.

What’s Against Buying A French Property As A Full Time Home?

  • Missing family and friends. One of the most common reasons for people selling French home is the wish to return to the U.K. to be with grandchildren! It does need careful consideration before you remove yourself from all social contacts in the U.K. and probably some serious talking with family and friends as to whether they will be keen to visit you. If you think you may miss your social circle it is wise to look at French property for sale with ready access to an airport which offers flights from your area of the U.K.
  • The French language. Unless you have a good grasp of the French language you will find your first few months a little difficult. However, most small towns do offer French classes for newcomers and not only will it help you understand and be understood but you are also likely to meet new people and start to build your French circle of friends.
  • Getting to grips with the administration. A different country runs in a different way, rules are different and ways of working are different. Luckily there is so much information available on the internet these days so spending some time researching carefully will save you making mistakes. Just read more than one bit of advice as not everything you read will be correct!


If reading this has raised more questions about your plan to buy a French property then please call us +44 (0)1306 775 008. We have years of experience of living and working in France and of helping other people to do the same and would be happy to help you to make the right decision.

We are certainly not here to mislead you, if you tell us your problems and ask your questions you can be sure we will answer everything to the best of our ability and we will certainly not push you into wasting time viewing properties in France if it does not feel the right thing for you to do!

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