FINDING a property in France can be a real challenge if you are sat in front of your computer back in the UK.
Letting a property could be a solution allowing you to spend time searching the area and seeing what it has to offer.
However, people who have yet to sell their UK house will have different demands than those who have sold up and are ready to live in France.
Someone with a house in the UK may only be able to get a week or two away from work in one go, so it’s vital you are well prepared.
Renting a holiday home out of season would naturally allow you to see an area when it is quiet and often when the weather is at its worst.
Many property owners would be delighted to have someone rent for a short time in February or March, just check the heating is sufficient.
But before you head across make sure you have the address details for estate agents close by and try and plan out your viewings.
It may also be worth dropping in on some French website message boards to see if someone has a place available.
Or you may find someone willing to meet up with you for an hour when you are in France to give you some pointers.
So if you can find the time to get away from work there could still be time to hunt down a property this spring.
But what about those people who have sold their UK house or let it for six months or more?
One of the major problems when searching the internet for property to let is that your searches are often mixed up with holiday lettings, so you need some patience.
If you use Google enter key words such as 'homes to rent' and areas and if you want to target French possibilities then 'to let' is 'louer' and the word used for 'lettings' is 'locations'.
A useful starting place is the Google directory for French property small ads, click here…
The cheapest way to rent a place is to contact the landlord directly but for this you will need to have access to local newspapers and possibly village shop windows.
Remember, many of the larger local newspapers will have online versions that you will be able to search, again type the title into Google.
Estate agents will very likely have some property to let and again you may find a holiday home that the owner is tired of cleaning every week and may let long term.
You also need to take into account your notice period for leaving the property.
If it is three months and you are well on your way to buying a property you could well lose your deposit if you leave early.
If you can time your departure with your purchase that would be perfect.
There is a real advantage from being in an area longer term before buying as it gives you an idea of the facilities, local schools and you can visit the Mairie.
Read how I save when transferring money 💶
Visit This French Life Currency Services to find out why I don't use a bank when I send euros to France.
Hire a car in France - deals, advice and driving tips
Be it Paris or Perigueux; Bergerac or Nice after using the services of partner website autoeurope.co.uk you will soon be zipping along the autoroute.
Books on France - reviews and author interviews
Take a browse over these books about France and read some reviews and interviews.