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Viewing an overseas property needs pre-planning. How are you going to manage the logistics? Can you make yourself understood? How are you going to get there?
Take a look at the checklist below to ensure that your viewing trip is an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
Decide on the area that you would like to explore. Research, research, research. Concentrate on one area at a time.
Have a list of property must-haves to give your estate agent, immobilier, in advance of your trip. Do keep an open mind - you don't want to miss out on the perfect property just because it doesn't have one of the features on your check list.
Immobiliers generally work on an appointment system and pre-arranged viewings. There's no use planning to pop into an immobilier on the off chance. When making appointments be aware of French public holidays and the two hour lunch break is still the norm, so appointments will probably be in the morning or late afternoon.
You don't want to fall in love with your dream home and not have your finances in place ready to buy.
Deal with immobliers who can speak both French and English. You need to understand what you are signing up to.
Take off your rose coloured glasses - if a bargain seems too good to be true it probably is. Don't be afraid to ask why a property seem so cheap.
Try not to cram too many house viewings in one day. Four houses in a day are plenty. Take notes and photos of each house. It is easy for details to blur.
Bear in mind that France is a big country and you may need to drive quite a distance in your search area. Give yourself time to take a look around the house and surroundings.
How far are the shops? Is there a Doctor nearby? Where are the schools?
Schedule enough time to revisit some of the properties.
Most places look beautiful in the sunshine. Be aware of what the house would look like in the rain and cold. What facilities are there in the winter? A lot of tourist towns completely shut down in the winter.
Think about renting a house in the area you are interested in. Then you could really see if the area and lifestyle is for you. Have you thought about home-schooling your kids? Could you transfer your work to France or commute - maybe work part time from home in France?
There's alot to consider, take your time and think it all through...you are about to make a life changing decision for you and your family.