Online House-hunting in France

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Friends ask every month or two if I’m any closer to finding my next home. Well: not really, but I can say my perspective is evolving. Does that count? It does to me, as I need to take time to choose this next, very big step: choosing a place I’ll hope to live in say the next twenty years. My household is in storage (ouch! $$$!) so I’m figuring on a major move – a few months of hell to end up with the home I want – and I will hope not to move again as long as I have the health to be independent.

I also hear, “You’ve toured all of France now!” but that is far from the case. When I look up a RE listing’s location, most of the time I have no clue what I’m looking at, till I zoom out and out on the map and eventually see some town I’ve noted before, looked up, or visited. France is a country of small hamlets and villages every few kilometers along most country roads. And as I’m finding city RE out of reach, I come across a lot of unknown village names.

I have gotten a fair familiarity with regions and departments, though I haven’t memorized department numbers yet. I’ve been to the prefectures (administrative seats) of 34 departments, and have seen some part of 39 departments in all. Yet I’m still considering a wide arc through four regions: Occitanie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Centre-Val-de-Loire and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. I can pin down favorite departments: Bouches-du-Rhone (not affordable), Hérault (34), Charente-Maritime (17), Deux-Sèvres (79), Yonne (89) – probably in that order. But that leaves me considering neighboring spots in the Charente, and many areas around the Loire, Vienne and Yonne rivers. The one thing that is absolutely clear to me is that I want a river nearby, in frequent view, preferably right through the heart of the town or village.

Just lately, rather than narrow my search, I’ve expanded it to the north coast! If I can’t be by the Mediterranean, perhaps the Channel? Or somewhere in easy reach of Paris and perhaps London and Brussels as well?

I put saved properties on a map, and then started looking up the population figures of the locales. I suppose a small place is not impossible if a fair bourg is minutes away, but I don’t want an isolated house. When I look back at the places I’ve marked, I do see that some are really too much to maintain, some have too much horrible old wallpaper to deal with; but it’s all a process of bringing my mental images into line with a possible reality. My timeline is to start viewing properties in November, taking time to get a bit of a feel of the locations, and hoping to make an offer by February. They say it takes 3 months between getting your offer accepted and getting possession of a property, so I can hope for a June move.

Of course, if I don’t get a long-stay visa for France when I apply in August (decision should come before end of September), I’ll face a serious re-think.

Here for your browsing amusement is my map. I’ll keep updating it, deleting sold properties and ones I get more realistic about, and adding new finds. Olive bed markers are apartments. House markers now have a bit of color coding: lighter green if under 100K euros, dark red if over 125 euros, gray if not under consideration but I wanted to note anyway, and normal green for properties 100-125K.

I love the river view from an apartment in Bourges. Very tempting to go for something so simple, and in an actual city. But it’s too soon for me to commit.

LOL. I think that’s the refrain of my life.

Never can choose just one.

I search on leboncoin, seloger, bienici, lefigaro, iadfrance and FB’s French property under 100K euros. FB and leboncoin can have some for-sale-by-owner properties. That would be great, because in France you have to pay a notary to handle the contracts anyway. And French agents seem to be charging commissions of 10% and more!

I have some hope of property prices declining over the course of this year. I also understand that a cash buyer may negotiate even ten percent off the asking price. To be seen.

If you take the time to look at anything here, let me know in the “Leave a reply” section and tell me anything you love or hate among these selections. Thanks!

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Barbara

    Love to see you traveling in Europe France so close to Italy and more glad you are free and enjoying your self sending love your way ❤️