RENTING a property long-term provides you with a certain security whilst searching for a dream home in France, but finding a place can be tough.
All the books on buying in France recommend renting a place first so that you can get a better idea of an area, and see it outside of just two weeks in the middle of August.
But the books don’t really go into any great detail about finding a place, and as a recent reader of the site said in an email it can be a frustrating experience. He wrote:
The principal problem I have found is in actually getting at web sites that might have long-term rental offerings.
When you start to search under ‘maisons a louer’, you inevitably end up with hundreds of pages of holiday gites.
Whilst most of these are fine for a fortnight, experience indicates that many would not be suitable for longer term living, especially in the winter, and of course, one would not want to be paying anything like normal holiday rates for a long-term rental.
There is no doubt that holiday home properties are often mixed up with places that could be used for a number of months.
I have found one website that appears to provide a range of properties that are let by their owners long-term outside the holiday season.
French Locations is a simple site that offers a large selection of properties across the country, just pick a region and then narrow your search down.
Each property has an extensive description with details of the monthly rent, the periods it is available and an idea of the facilities close by.
Personally, when I looked to rent a property for six months, from October to March, I narrowed down the area I was searching in and prepared a standard email outlining my requirements and circumstances.
Then I contacted the owners of any properties that caught my eye, sending each one my set email message and after a couple of weeks had found a place.
Looking to stay in a place out of season is the key element as most property owners would love to have someone in their place through the winter.
But problems can arise when storing your own furniture and belongings, especially if the place you have your eye on is let furnished.
Again I would check through the description of the place you are keen to stay in, I know a family who came across with everything and stored their things in a barn which was attached to the home they were using.
Another possibility is to store your belongings for a month or two back in the UK and during your time in France look for a place to move your items to. Imagine if you didn’t like the area you were staying in and had to drag everything back across the Channel.
A couple of other things are worth considering when staying in a place for a period of time.
Make sure your chosen property is going to be warm enough in winter, and be clear about what bills you are going to be paying. For example, the price of oil for central heating systems has rocketed over the past months so try and get an idea of the going rate.
Also insist on a telephone being put into the property, mobile phone bills can soon get out of hand and you can also hook up to the internet to expand your property search if required.
And finally if you are looking to extend your rental period it is so much easier to find another place once in an area should you have to leave your original house.
So what hints and tips would you offer?