In this month's issue of French Property News I look at a number of reasons why you should sometimes NOT buy a French property, and at all times use your head and not your heart. Among the reasons for not buying I include falling in love with the owners or their lifetyle, or being seduced by cosmetic improvements which may be the result of preparing the property specifically for sale. Bear in mind that attractive curtains, carpets and furniture will not be left behind - unless you intend buying the contents - though they may give you an idea of what might be achieved.
It is tempting also to imagine buying into the owners' lifestyle, which in part we do, as almost all advertising and selling is based on our aspirations. However I do recommend sometimes taking along a dispassionate third party on property viewings - an estate agent's worst nightmare but possibly your best ally.
As someone who advises potential buyers of French properties, my personal list of problem areas includes uncertainties about ownership, boundary rights, unclear rights of way, sitting and protected tenants, DIY renovations and other factors that can make a sales less straightforward than normal. Prolems can be ironed out in most cases, provided the property is worth the extra effort, but sometimes it is easier to simply move on and find something else.