Paddy Gib­bins

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.

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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..

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