Whether you’re looking for a French holiday home, wondering about renting property in France long-term, or considering a permanent move to this beautiful country, house hunting in France should be an exciting experience – not a frustrating one. However, many overseas buyers find navigating the French property market with all its laws and customs something of a challenge.


In order to give you the best chance of success, we’ve put together this list of top tips from the best property professionals in France to help you on your way.

Top House Buying Tips from Property Professionals in France

1. Understand the Market


House prices in France are on the increase. According to the latest data from CEIC, property prices grew 7.0% year-over-year in December 2021, following an increase of 7.1% year-over-year in the previous quarter.


Arthur Cutler, Director at France Plans, predicts that this upwards trend will continue throughout 2022.


“House prices in France are going up – especially for the lower-priced properties. The values of the more expensive houses are pretty stable, but there is very strong demand – which is increasing – for properties priced under €200,000. On the positive side, land prices are relatively stable, especially on the outskirts of towns. However, prices are increasing in the centre of towns.


“If you are looking for a property close to the coast – be prepared to pay more! However, let’s not forget that house prices in France compared to the UK and other markets are extremely affordable. It’s an exciting time for sure.”


2. Research Your Location


Location is one of the most important factors to consider when buying property anywhere – and it’s no different in France. We recommend that you get to know your chosen location well. If possible, visit at different times of the year so you can be sure you would want to stay in your chosen area in summer as well as winter.


Alistair Lockhart, Property & Mortgage Advisor at FrenchEntrée, advises that buyers should get to know some good estate agents who can keep them informed about the best deals and latest offers.


“As always, do your research, and try and nail down an area you like before coming out to France to view. You might think you’re being super-flexible by saying ‘anywhere south of Limoges,’ but to an agent, that means you’re undecided on the area and unlikely to commit.

“Build up a good rapport with a couple of agents (so you can be informed quickly about the best deals) and be prepared to move quickly if you find somewhere which ticks the boxes and is on budget. Historically buyers didn’t need to move quickly – or didn’t feel they had to – because there were so many properties on the market, they could happily take 6-12 months and several trips and view scores of properties that met their criteria. This is no longer the case, and there is a degree of pressure on buyers now to commit with a good offer and get the paperwork started, or risk losing out in 2022.”


3. Get Your Finances in Order and Be Ready to Make an Offer


Our next tip comes from Ben Stephens, Managing Director at the France Media Group. It’s incredibly important that overseas buyers understand how they will fund their purchase, as the market is moving fast. If you are selling in the UK to fund the purchase in France, be sure to get everything in order as quickly as you can, because the two processes are different and can be difficult to synchronise.


“As lockdowns and travel restrictions were lifted, the French property market bounced back very strong, continuing its long-term growth trend. Stock in France is scarce, and property is selling fast, and I believe that this insatiable buyer appetite will continue into 2022. As demand for spacious, rural French properties continues to rise, my tip for 2022 is to be prepared, get your finances in order, and should you see a property you love, then be ready to make an offer.”


4. Employ the Services of a Property Surveyor


The final tip comes from yours truly, Charles Mackintosh, RICS Chartered South of France property surveyor.


Many overseas buyers don’t realise that having a property professionally surveyed isn’t the “done thing” in France like it is elsewhere in the world. As such, it’s crucial that you find out for yourself whether the property you’re about to pour thousands and thousands of Euros into is structurally sound, and so you know precisely what types of repairs you can expect to be dealing with once the purchase has gone through.


Or, as Dan Simson, Head of Direct Line Home Insurance puts it:


“Investing in a survey before purchasing a property can save a huge amount of money and hassle in the long run. Surveys are there to protect the buyer, enabling them to get a better idea of any repairs that might be needed and any problems to look out for in the future.”

Charles Mackintosh, South of France Property Surveyor

If you’re considering buying a house in France, following the advice from the property professionals above will put you in good stead.


For more guidance, get in touch with Charles Mackintosh today. With over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the region, Charles specialises in giving English language property surveys and advice to overseas buyers.