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Before you start looking for your dream home, identify a specific area and key requirements – it will pay dividends.

We asked Jerry Green, a partner at Clé Rouge in Duras, to give us the essential guide to buying a property and enjoying your life in France.

The first place that people usually look is online. Do you go onto the internet and look at lots of properties scattered over thousands of square miles; here is a lovely one located in Aberdeen, another nice-looking one in Cornwall, and this one on the Kent Coast looks absolutely perfect. Of course you don’t!

You first decide on the right area, using sensible criteria such as climate, availability of work if you need it, schools, leisure amenities, links to communication, and lots of other factors which affect your particular circumstances and needs.

When you’ve chosen the right region, you narrow the search area by visiting and deciding which particular towns, villages and countryside you like, and finally start looking for the perfect property.

However, many British people looking to buy a property in France don’t do this. Instead, they spend hours trawling the internet for properties they like the look of, and then do viewing trips based around visiting specific properties, with little or no consideration about the suitability of the region these may be in.

In many cases, people end up falling in love with the “perfect property”, often because French properties can seem incredibly cheap in comparison with what is affordable in the UK, but later find out that the area is not suitable at all for their needs.

For example, one couple who are passionate golfers bought a lovely house in a region without checking to see if there was a golf course within reach, which there wasn’t. How could that end well?

The sensible approach is to stop looking at properties on the internet; instead, just as if looking for a property in the UK, focus your attention (and internet research), on practical factors, such as:

  • What are the levels of sunshine (and rainfall) all year round?
  • Is there an airport within reach which has affordable all-year-round flights to where your children, parents, in-laws and other people you need/would like to see are based?
  • If you have children, are there good schools available right the way through the whole education process?
  • If you are thinking of running a gite or chambre d’hotes, will the area attract sufficient paying guests at a profitable price?
  • If you don’t speak fluent French, are there at least some other English-speaking people around to socialise with and ask for help if you need it?
  • If you work from home, is the internet speed up to your requirements?
  • And so on.

Finally, once you have used your head to identify the right area, now it’s time to let your heart loose and start looking for the property of your dreams.

You will find a comprehensive list of estate agents in Gironde, Dordogne, Lot et Garonne, Lot, Gers, Tarn et Garonne and north Haute Garonne in our business directory listings under Property.

Images: Jerry Green and Shutterstock

First published in the July/August 2018 issue of The Local Buzz