House-hunting gets real

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  • Posted in France
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Got my visa!

With a VLS-TS in my passport, it’s time to find and buy my next home. For the last two years, I’ve been roaming and thinking about what matters most to me when I have to make trade-offs, what area might suit me best, what kind of property I want. Now that I think I can count on residency here, I’ve started contacting agents to visit the properties I’ve found online.

Aside: VLS-TS is a visa de long séjour – titre de séjour, permission to stay beyond the 90 days that a normal Schengen visa allows. I can now stay in France up to a year, and be outside France in the Schengen zone up to 90 days of every 180 this period. I will apply to renew the visa next fall, here in France, no further need to return to the US to make an application.

My search region now

I’m going to be looking in areas 1.5 to 2.5 hours from Paris in an arc from west of the city and then to the south of Paris and on to the east – that means, the Sarthe, the departments of the Centre region and the departments of Burgundy as was defined when I first explored it (4 departments: Yonne, Nièvre, Côte-d’Or, Saône-et-Loire; in other words, I’m not looking further east). That’s a lot of territory. I’m hoping to narrow the search in the first month or two.

House-hunting parameters

I’m trying to hold out for a property with 3 bedrooms and at least 100 square meters of living space. May have to compromise on that, but might also manage a bit more. I’d like a bit of hardscaped terrace already in place. There should be a bathroom on the ground floor as well as upstairs, or at least the possibility of adding one where needed. Pluses: a garage, a ground-floor bedroom, at least a small garden.

I am looking in villages and small towns, definitely not a farm off by itself. I still hope to be able to walk to a market and bakery, and I’d like a town with a couple of passable restaurants.

From what I see online, if a house has any front garden at all, it will be walled and gated, with widely varying degrees of privacy and style. Many properties smack on the street have a courtyard and perhaps garden hidden away in back.

At this point, I’m trying to find a house, but I have noted an apartment or two to check out.

My first destination is an area I’ve never been to: the Sarthe.

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