House-hunting for your dream property in France

Village with narrow streets

“I’ll know it when I see it!” Seven words that strike fear into the heart of the most hardened estate agent. In fact, I’m thinking of beginning a mind-reading course for estate agents, as it is often assumed we can find your dream home by osmosis.

In all my years of working in real estate, I’ve taken valuable lessons from other industry professionals and one such tip is to offer a specialised property finding service to clients. In order to do this, agents need to have an idea of what potential buyers are actually looking for and my opening sentence, while tongue in cheek, is actually the first comment used by a majority of house-hunters when we initially meet.

Most would-be homeowners have one thing in common, they have busy lives and a shortage of time. It surprises me so often that more planning hasn’t been carried out prior to their viewing trip.

If you are planning on searching for a home on the French Riviera, in order to make the most of your time it is important to understand that professional real estate agents are there to help you find the right property. They should know their portfolio intimately and if you are open about what you are looking for in a property then it will help them maximise your chances of finding that all elusive dream home.

Be clear on the things you absolutely must have. What things are absolute deal breakers that you wouldn’t compromise on, and while we are on the C-word, think about what you would be prepared to compromise on. For example, if you are searching for a property with a piscine, would one without a pool but space and planning permission in place to install one still be of interest if it matches all of your other requirements and, of course, budget?

Be prepared to accept the agent’s advice on suitable properties. I’m staggered how often we advise a buyer that a certain property they have short-listed, which has one of their nonnegotiable negatives, whereby they still insist on viewing, only to arrive and state “Oh yes, I see what you mean about the road/factory/cemetery next door …” It’s as if they think we are saving the property for someone else.

In France, it’s also essential to have arranged your funding before making an offer (preferably before viewings), as it is nigh on impossible to secure a purchase if you need to sell first or speak to your bank. I’ve met too many people over the years who view their dream home only to be unable to proceed as fundamentals are not in place. The result? They lose the deal and spend the following five years trying to locate an identical property.

Being prepared will make your life easier when it comes to finding that home on the Côte d’Azur and I look forward to helping many more people realise their dreams in 2016.

Contact Tim Clark of Leggett Immobilier at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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