How to have a stress-free experience buying your holiday home in France

House and garden in Dordogne © leoks / Shutterstock

House and garden in Dordogne © leoks / Shutterstock - Credit: Archant

Buying a property is one of the most stressful experiences you can have and buying a property abroad can be even more complicated, but it doesn’t have to be...

Lavender fields in France

Lavender fields in France - Credit: Archant

Buying a property is one of the most stressful life experiences you can have. A recent survey carried out by Which magazine found that buying or selling a property was considered more traumatic than arranging care for an elderly relative, having a child or changing jobs.

Buying a property abroad, with all the cultural, legal and language differences, can be even more complicated. Looking at idyllic honey-stone farmhouses for sale online, or imagining yourself on a sea-view terrace sipping rosé is motivating, but the journey to actually being there is one that many buyers don’t manage to finish.

Even if you succeed in the onerous task of finding a property you wish to buy, the next steps can be confusing and complicated, and the language barrier is so often an insurmountable challenge.

“Having to discuss a property with local agents in French can be fraught with stress for buyers if they don’t speak the language,” says Tim Swannie, Director at Home Hunts, a buyer’s agent based in France. “It’s hard enough in English to make sure you ask all the right questions about one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in your life. Finding the right French vocabulary to discuss issues from structural problems to contract clauses – and understand the responses – can feel impossible for people who don’t speak fluent French.”

This is one of the areas where Home Hunts can help their clients most. With a team of 35 consultants living in France, each has local knowledge and speaks a minimum of English and French. As a buyer’s agent, Home Hunts’ consultants works solely on behalf of the buyer – a relief for clients as the French selling agent acts very much in the interests of the vendor – negotiating the best deal and holding the buyer’s hand throughout the entire process.

Antibes in southern France © Laborant Shutterstock

Antibes in southern France © Laborant Shutterstock - Credit: Archant

The good news for buyers is that Home Hunts’ unrivalled service is free to clients as the fee comes from the selling agent’s commission, their cut is the same with all agents so their advice is impartial, they are not going to push you towards a particular agent or property.

Tim and the team will also take away the pain of finding potential properties for sale – working alone, it can sometimes take buyers years to find matches that fit “the dream”.

Consultants search through hundreds or thousands of properties, in line with the client’s requirements, and visit them personally before creating a shortlist. At viewings, buyers only ever see an excellent selection of criteria-matching properties.

“We work really closely with our clients but we help to take the time-consuming and disappointing part of the property hunt away from them. We work together to narrow down a shortlist of the best properties so when the client visits, we only see excellent matches so their search is as efficient as possible,” explains Tim, adding that developers’ properties and off-market options, which aren’t advertised online, are also included.

“Often clients go ahead and buy a property on their first visit, sometimes, their needs change and it can take several trips to find that perfect place but, once we get here, we then guide them though the buying process,” says Tim. “But our help doesn’t stop there, we’re always available to help our clients, long after the house sale goes through.”

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Moving in or setting up a fully-functioning holiday home means there are utilities to set up, from connecting the phone line, to sorting out Wi-Fi, electricity and water.

“Most of these involve phone calls in French – probably frustrating at best, if you speak and understand French, and seemingly impossible if you don’t,” says Tim. “We can organise them all for clients, and take care of larger needs too, for example, if the property needs renovating, we can manage the project for the client.”

He adds: “Whether at the start, middle or end of the buying process, or even after the sale, at Home Hunts we pride ourselves on helping our clients with any need they might have so they will succeed in their new home, no matter what it takes.”

If you are looking to buy property in France, you can search through thousands of homes at www.home-hunts.com, but to speak to a knowledgeable consultant about your specific situation and criteria call directly today on +33 (0)970 44 66 43.