is the Managing Director of Artaxa IMMO Sarl, the International real estate agent specialising in the Languedoc and an expert at Chambres des Experts Immobiliers de France.
Find a local agent to work with Find someone you like and feel comfortable with and work with them. Buying is not a complex process but it helps to have someone on your side who knows the best deals on the market, the situation of the sellers and the ins and outs of buying. Agents are generally planning to stick around so they want to get it right for you!
Carte professionnelle French agents are regulated and it is illegal to deal in real estate if you do not have a carte professionnelle as well as the necessary insurances and guarantees. This applies also to agents proposing ‘search services’. Ask your agent if they have a carte professionnelle and to show it to you when you arrive.
Location, location Firstly work out where you want to be. It’s really not about the house. If the property seems great value there will be a good reason (a place where no one wants to be generally!) Pick your area and ask the agent to show you the best properties for your budget and be prepared to compromise. The perfect property doesn’t really exist so buy the best your area of choice has to offer.
Budget Be clear how much you have or want to spend. If you need financing, check before you arrive with a mortgage provider what your options are. If you talk to your agent (by phone ideally) they can give you guidance as to what different budgets can buy you. Consider getting a loan even if you don’t need one; rates have never been so low and it’s hard to release equity further down the line should you need it.
Notaire As a buyer you pay the notaire costs. The lion’s share of this goes to the French state however the rest is for the legal work by the notaire. The notaire is YOUR legal counsel; there to answer your questions and guide you through the buying process. A good agent will have a number of notaires they work with who have the ability to deal with international clients.
Find a genuine bi-lingual agent Even if you speak some French, buying your house is not the occasion to practice your language skills. Get your agent on the phone. See if they know what they are talking about; you may ask them how many houses they’ve sold, whether they do a bi-lingual compromis de vente etc..