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Buying a home in France

PUBLISHED: 14:45 23 February 2015 | UPDATED: 14:25 07 January 2016

Tracy Whelan and her husband Martin

Tracy Whelan and her husband Martin


Vicky Leigh meets an expat British couple swapping the Middle East for Mayenne

Tracy Whelan and her husband Martin have lived in Bahrain since 2006, and purchased a property in Mayenne in Pays de la Loire in 2012. They visit three to four times a year, and hope to be living there permanently within the next 18 months. They have also recently purchased a second property in the same area which they intend to rent out as holiday accommodation.

What prompted you to buy a house in France?

We have a great life living overseas, but have always planned to return to Europe, although we don’t want to live in the UK. France has so many good things going for it – it’s close to the UK, you can travel easily within mainland Europe, it has lots of tourists, the countryside is so beautiful and it’s just a wonderful pace of life.

Living in the Middle East we miss proper weather! We miss distinct seasons, we miss the cold and the rain and most of all we miss lush greenery, and the north-west of France will give us all of this. Although it’s a few years off yet, as part of our overall retirement plan we wanted to buy a home in a country we wanted to retire to, and France was the obvious place for all of these reasons.

How did you find the house?

As we live so far away, the internet proved invaluable in helping us to prepare a shortlist of places to view. We started looking for property in the Normandy and Pays-de-la-Loire regions, and when we saw this house on one of the websites we decided to view it during our next trip. We viewed it twice and after the second viewing we knew it was the house for us, so we put in an offer and it was accepted!

Did you have to do any work to the house?

No, we bought the house from a British couple and they had used French artisans to do all the work that was necessary. However we do have plans to carry out some work to upgrade it. The second house we’ve bought is only a short distance away, so it will be easy to run and manage as holiday accommodation.

What is it that made you decide to move to France permanently in the near future?

We’re ready to start a new chapter in our lives and France is where we want to do it. I’m sure we’ll experience challenges and issues, but we’re ready to do something different. We intend to set up our own holiday accommodation business and the purchase of our second property is the first step towards this. We’ve both worked in the financial services industry for more years than we care to remember, and as they say, a change is as good as a rest. It’s also getting harder for us to leave France every time we visit.

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