1. Know what you want!
If buying with a spouse, partner, siblings or even friends, being on the same page when it comes to what type of property you want is the first step. A good way of doing this is to each, separately, go through the properties on Green Acres and note down which properties you love, could live with, or really dislike. Now, swap the lists and see what your buying companion really wants!
2. What will you use it for?
Write down the top ten things you want to do in your new home. Try to keep it realistic. If you’ve never even tried painting, buying a home with an artist’s studio in the hope you’ll become the new Van Gogh could be a waste of money even if you are buying in Provence. All the same, this is a chance for a bold new you!
3. How much do you have to spend?
As well as your own savings, could you borrow money with a mortgage? With euro interest rates at record lows, borrowing can make sense even if you do have the cash. When setting a budget, allow for 10% buying costs in France (although you could aim to knock that off the advertised sales price too).
4. Open an overseas currency account
When you see currency rates mentioned on the news or listed on currency websites, that is the “interbank rate” and is not available to the general public. You will be offered a very poor exchange rate by the high street bank, but a much better rate by the currency specialists. We recommend Smart Currency Exchange, who are the highest rated currency and money transfer company on TrustPilot with a 9.9 rating out of 10.
5. Fix a forward currency
A forward currency sets your exchange rate for up to a year, so the price for your property in pounds should stay the same throughout the buying process and you won’t have a horrible shock when you have to complete if the currency has moved against you.
6. Plan your viewings
Nearly there! (Some people will tell you need to have a lawyer in place before you go, to be ready to offer advice on any initial contract you are asked to sign, so maybe do that first). Okay, now we’re ready, and this really is the fun part. When planning your viewings, a good number of properties to see is up to seven per day, depending of course on how close they are. Some you will love from the moment you see it, others might need some imagination!
7. Be a critic
As a general rule, if you have to convince yourself that you like a property (or are saying so to please the agent – don’t laugh, it happens!) you probably shouldn’t buy it. However, one common mistake with property buyers is to fail to use their imagination enough. Force yourself to look past hideous wallpaper or an overgrown garden – they can both be sorted in an hour or two. You can do this even before you get there as you flick through the properties on this website – in fact it’s easier without an agent breathing down your neck – by gazing at the page and really imagining what you could do with it.
Okay then, ready to roll?
For a full step-by-step guide to buying a property overseas, download a free copy of the France buying guide.