Top tips for your viewing trip to France

It is very easy to get carried away and fall in love when viewing properties in France. With so much at stake, however it is important to get any property purchase right first time and buy with your head and not just your heart.

So here are some top tips on what you need to check while on your viewing trip.

Does the property match with your needs?

It is important to make sure that your property will give you what you want from your French home. Early on in the process and before you go on the viewing trip, write a checklist of what you want the property to have and what you want out of your property and make sure you refer back to it before shortlisting any properties.

International airports

Whether it’s your holiday home, investment property or retirement pad, the location of an international airport is important.

Budget airlines are regularly used by expats and holidaymakers alike. It might be worth taking in to consideration how long an operator has been flying to that destination and what are the alternatives are if an operator was to stop flying to that airport.

Local Transport links

You should check the local transport links in the local towns and cities. You will need to consider if you will you want to have a car. If not, you should investigate if there is enough public transport available so that you can do without.

Local amenities

Check out what local amenities the area has to offer. Often rural properties offer great value for money and a laid back lifestyle but you should however take into consideration where you might get that emergency pint of milk or baguette and work out the location of the nearest doctor’s surgery.

Winter conditions

Many people view properties in France in the height of summer when the average temperature is soaring.  Little consideration is therefore given as to how the property would be in the much lower temperatures in the winter.

French houses are often built with little insulation, solid stone walls and limited heating. With temperatures in the Dordogne as low as 3 degrees in January for example, it might be worth checking out what heating methods a property has if you want use it all year round.

View the property at different times of day

Properties can be very different at day and night. You may fall in love with a apartment in the day time only to find when you move in there is an all night bar at the back of you. Conversely, you might not have noticed the school around the corner, which could mean more noise in the daytime.

Monthly Affordability

It’s important to factor in the on-going monthly costs of your French property. It is well worth taking in to account the costs of local taxes, service charges, utilities and pool maintenance. Your French estate agent should be able to provide details of the on-going costs.


Thanks to the Internet the world is now a smaller place. You can sit and enjoy a glass of wine in the sun while skype-ing your nearest and dearest back home.  If you are planning to keep in touch with the family or will just want to catch up with some TV from back home, check there is a good broadband connection in the area before committing to the property purchase.

Download our free printable property-viewing-checklist so you can take this with you on your viewing trip.

For more information download our FREE guide to buying property in France on the right of this page.

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Article published: September 16, 2016