In this article I am going to tell you the single most important thing you must do before buying a house in Aquitaine, France to help avoid making serious mistakes that you will later regret!
I am a registered Estate agent with an agency in St Sever in SW France. I see the same mistakes being made over and over again by people looking to buy a house in south west France, often with disastrous consequences.
So what is missing, what needs to be done differently? The answer is PREPARATION. You must do your research. You must ASK lots of questions. So many people simply don not have the answers to the questions that need asking but they carry on regardless and make a purchase and then wonder why things don not work out.
So what must you ask? Well, different people have very different needs so there is no stock answer, if there was there would be no problem;albeit one thing is for sure You must have confidence in the person who is advising you. From talking to hundreds of prospective purchasers, typically
* You will need advice where to buy, what to buy, how much to pay and where to get the right legal and financial advice;
* You will need advice on the administrative hurdles you are about to face and, for example, what will taxes you will be paying;
* You may need advice about the French health care and or schooling systems and which to use and where best to locate in respect of each;
* you will to know how best to look after your property when you are not there;
* You many need advice about the cost to bring your property up to the required standards. French artisans are generally more expensive than in the UK and there can be huge variations in working practices, standards and lead times. And if you are setting up a business; and,
So how do you get the answers. In short you need someone you can trust, someone who has your interests at heart, someone who has an understanding of the inside track, someone who has experience of the house buying process as well as someone you can speak to in English that can explain the pitfalls.
Many enter into a house purchase looking through rose tinted glasses and buy on just a wing and a prayer. Buying in France is a very different proposition to when buying in the UK. You need to think in very different ways and you need to plan ahead.
Of course you will do your own research on the internet and you will talk to friends & family but be careful of well meaning amateur advice, its consequences can be horrendous,.
Then the time will come when you meet with your first estate agents, some will be good, some will not, most will be primarily concerned with closing the sale and it is the sellers interests and there own, not yours that will usually be to the fore. And last but not least you have got to factor in the French language which if you are not fluent could trip you up badly.
No one person is going to be able to give you all the answers but having someone on the ground whom you can trust and who can explain things in simple English will be a good starting point.