An interesting piece in the Daily Telegraph recently (about property buying in Portugal) offers some useful tips which are equally applicable to buying a home in France. They are:
'Take your time - never be rushed or pushed into purchasing'
'Get independent legal advice' - Not always necessary if your French Notaire or agent speaks enough English to guide you through the various purchase documents, from pre-contract ('compromis de vente') trhough to completion. An adviser on the spot who knows the area and the local property market is helpful if you do not speak French and are unfamiliar with the French property buying process.
'Choose your area carefully' - Always important with a vew to a future sale, even if you intend to live in your new home 'for ever' unforeseen circumstances may force a change.
'Research what you can renovate' - Be aware of planning permissions, likely costs and regulations regarding what is and is not possible, particularly in areas classified as of historic interest and requiring permission from Batiments de France.
'Be willing to wait' - France like Portugal is slowly pulling out of recession but there are no quick profits to be made from buying and selling property. Properties are rarely offered at huge discounts, and you have to look at your property as an essentially long term investment.
Source - Leah Hyslop, Daily Telegraph 26 July 2010