If you’re looking to buy a ski home in France for the upcoming season, you’re probably itching to get over there to view properties! The team at Your Overseas Home have recently released a series of handy webinars about everything you need to know when travelling to France, as well as top tips to get the most out of your trip.
We’ve summarised the key points in this article, but to listen to the webinars in full, sign up here.
What can you expect when viewing properties in France?
Viewing properties in France is certainly possible, there are just a few small precautions that estate agents will encourage you to take. For example, you may be asked to view properties virtually before you arrive to ensure that you are definitely interested. You’ll also be required to travel around in your own car, rather than the agent’s, and encouraged to use hand sanitiser and wear a facemask indoors.
What’s going on with the property market in France?
The French property market has held up quite well and is very active. All nationalities are buying, not just Brits! Properties are coming onto the market all the time, but they are also being sold very quickly.
Although French house prices aren’t shooting up as fast as those in the UK, they are increasing. Just like in the UK, people are reassessing where they want to live and certain areas, particularly those outside of big cities, are becoming extremely popular.
6 Top tips for your viewing trip
- Sort out your currency before your trip
Before you take a viewing trip, you may want to consider speaking directly to a currency specialist, such as Smart Currency Exchange. They’ll be able to listen to your exact requirements and ensure that your budget won’t be affected by fluctuating exchange rates. They can also ensure that your money is on hand in case you need to put down a reservation deposit during your trip.
- Start looking carefully before you leave and plan ahead
Make sure you have a good idea of the type of property you want, the location, the size and so on before you take your viewing trip. It would also be worth thinking about things you would be willing to compromise on and things you wouldn’t.
You should also get your finances in order and ready to go – you don’t want to find your dream property and lose it because you don’t have the funds! It may not be worth taking a viewing trip unless you are ready from a financial point of view, as the agent might ask you for proof of funds or enquire as to how you’ll fund your purchase.
- Speak to a solicitor before you go
It may be a good idea to engage a solicitor before you make a trip to view properties. They can help you with inheritance planning, getting your finances in order, how to plan a move to France if you’re selling a home in the UK and more.In Messery, a superb, detached villa overlooking Lake Leman in a quiet environment
- Take the distances between properties into consideration
During your trip, make sure you have enough time to get from one property to the next, especially if they’re a fair distance away from each other. You may even wish to spend your first couple of days driving around the areas to get your bearings. This will also give you a good idea of how close each property is to certain amenities, such as the shops, ski slopes and airport.
- Talk to your estate agent about your requirements
If your estate agent has a clear idea about what you’re looking for, the process of viewing properties will be a lot smoother. They’ll be able to plan an agenda that is tailored to you.
- Take stock of what you’re viewing
Viewing properties can be a tiring experience! Avoid trying to pack too much in - if you view lots of properties in one go, it’ll be difficult to keep track and you may not get the chance to figure out which one is right for you. Take the time to think things over to get the most out of your trip.
Travelling to France
At the time of writing, the UK is on France’s amber list, which means that if you travel to France unvaccinated, you need a ‘compelling’ reason to enter. You need to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours or a negative antigenic taken in the last 48 hours. You must then self-isolate for 7 days upon arrival.
If you are fully vaccinated and have waited the required number of days for the vaccine to take effect (14 days for the Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, 28 days for Johnson and Johnson) there is no need to isolate on arrival.
However, you will need to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours or a negative antigenic test taken in the last 48 hours and will need to complete a sworn statement to declare that you have no symptoms. Please note, France isn’t yet admitting those with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine that has batch numbers from India – you can check this on the app or on your vaccine card.
Your tests will need to be booked privately, rather than through the NHS. France accepts either the NHS app or NHS letter as proof of vaccination.
Returning to the UK
On returning to the UK, you still have to quarantine when returning to France, whether you are fully vaccinated or not. France is the only country on the UK's amber travel list that this rule currently applies to. You also need to provide proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours before you leave for the UK and book a test for two days after you arrive in the UK.