Q: What is the most challenging thing you’ve experienced as an ex-pat or immigrant in France?
A: Housing. It’s been a much longer and more expensive process than I anticipated.
Here is the quick takeaway:
– RENTING TIMING: 3 or more months from start to finish. Breakdown: The average paperwork time, from viewing to moving in, is one month if you are renting. In a hurry? Expect to take 2-3 months to find a house or flat to rent. My suggested time allotment? Six months or more if you have specific or high-end requirements. FYI, It’s next to impossible to find an affordable flat from overseas (unless you pay additional deposits and inflated rent from agencies specializing in foreigners).
– PURCHASE TIMING: Two years from start to finish, IF you are 100% sure of the area you want to invest in. Allocate one year or more for the house hunt, depending on your requirements. If you are the FOMO type like me, you’ll need that time to educate and eliminate. France’s average real estate purchase transaction time takes an additional 4-6 months, from acceptance of an offer to closing/acte de vente with the notaire.
– COSTS – Well, that’s a whole other post (or five). 🤣🤣🤣
I am SO glad that our long-term strategy and contingency plan allowed for additional time to figure out housing in France. It took me 3x longer than expected to find the location and house we wanted to buy. And another three years (and counting) to make it what we want and need for us to be able to live and work from here for long periods.
It’s been a beautiful journey and a big part of my storyline in France. For anyone who aspires to move here, either permanently or temporarily, my biggest tip for you is to allocate 3x in funds and 3x in duration to give yourself the grace to make mistakes, changes, and to discover YOUR French Life.
All that said, you CAN do this on a lot less! And I’m here to cheer you on.
Bisous and big hugs from France,
🇫🇷 France 🇫🇷, forever.
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