We have decided to share some interviews with the Home Hunts team, please meet the one and only Chris Moore, our specialist property hunter in the Var, Provence:
Moving to France can be a scary thought.
Which region and department do you live in? What house type do you buy? Is a pool important or would you like to be in a town centre? Can you afford your dream property?
These are all very valid questions that need to be considered but when it comes to narrowing down your property selection to view, where do you start?
Introducing Chris Moore…..
Chris finally moved to the Var, France in 2010 with his wife after many opportunities to live in some interesting places around the world. Already familiar with the Var, this was the obvious choice for the couple to pick. Now not only does Chris live here, he looks after clients in this region for Home Hunts too. Putting him in good stead to help you discover this fantastic area yourself.
We asked Chris some questions about his journey to and life in France and any advice for French property buyers.
What is your first memory of living in France?
I first visited France at the age of six with my parents and have always felt comfortable with the culture, scenery, food and people. In 2008 arriving at Nice airport with two dogs, a cat and a lot of luggage from our previous home in Cyprus was definitely an experience. However, knowing this would probably be our last big move helped with motivation and our wonderful French accountant was instrumental in coping with the renowned French administration.
After a career in international sales and marketing management, I have had the opportunity to live in and visit some interesting places around the world, but we decided to settle in France. My parents-in-law have owned property in the Var since the 60’s, so both my wife and I were very familiar with the area, so we knew exactly where we wanted to settle when we arrived in 2010.
What events take place in your area that you enjoy the most?
Markets and village fetes are great fun, wine tastings and music festivals.
What is your favourite French tipple?
How do you spend time relaxing after a busy day out and about with clients?
An aperitif with family and friends, walks with the dogs through the vines or a dip in the pool.
What has been the most expensive property you have ever sold?
Around 3.5 Million Euros approximately
What has been the cheapest?
Around 600,000 Euros
What part of the house buying process do you think overseas buyers find the most frustrating?
Floor plans are not usually available for properties in France, particularly the older properties. This is one of the most frustrating issues for a lot of buyers. The process itself can be frustrating but that is what they work with us for, we help to guide them through it.
Why have you chosen to live in this region of France?
As already mentioned, my parents-in-law have had property here since the 60’s, so both my wife and I were very familiar with the area and knew we wanted to settle here. The Var has a wonderful climate, dry heat and over 300 sunny days a year! The French health service is great, most villages have a Doctor’s office with no waiting list!
Do you see yourself ever moving from this area in France, if yes where/why?
No, we have been moving for 30 years!
Tell us your favourite French dish?
Cuisse de canard. Delicious!
The British have a very romantic view of living a life in France, mainly around the amazing food, wine, beautiful countryside slower pace of life with very little traffic….do you share this view? Or is there anything else British buyers should be excited about?
Most certainly; the Var has some of the most varied scenery from the coast to the higher reaches of the Var and the huge lake at Verdon. If looking for more action then the coast and Riviera are an hour away at most.
Do you find most overseas buyers are looking for a permanent home or for a holiday home? If the latter what are the key things they are seeking in their holiday home?
Many clients are looking for more land than they would be able to find in their home country. My advice would be to settle for a manageable plot where a local gardener can keep it under control. Otherwise, most clients want a pool or permission to install one, nice views, quiet but not isolated and a property with character. Many dream of walking into a picturesque village to buy the morning baguette and have a coffee at the café…Not always a good idea as the closer you get to the village there is often a road noise issue!
What do you find is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?
Sharing the clients joy when they find their new home in France. Quite a lot of clients have gone on to become good friends.
Describe for me what you can see from your window?
I live by the river which is crystal clear with trout and great for swimming and kayaking; I can walk into the village in a few minutes and have great neighbours.
What is the one bit of advice you would give prospective overseas buyers before they buy their dream property?
Visit out of season- explore the local villages and make sure there is good mobile signal and internet (usually better than UK in rural areas.)
We are all bored of the word Brexit, however do you see buyers just getting on with living their lives and buying property regardless of what is finally negotiated with the UK?
Yes, my first few sales of the year were to UK residents with budgets of over two million Euros.
Share with us any property buying tips which you think overseas buyers will benefit from.
- Visit out of season. August is holiday month for the French and many homes are rented out.
- Write down your ‘’must have’’ and ‘’nice to have criteria’’ and brief your search consultant
- Be prepared to make a concession; it’s unlikely you will find an exact match to your idea of a dream home
- Research building and maintenance costs before you travel if possible
- If you want to start a business get professional advice
- Don’t start any renovations until you have lived in the property for a while and learn from local networks who are the preferred tradesmen
Why do you think your area is popular place for property buyers?
In the Var villages it’s the slow pace of life and the variety of markets and activities. On the coast, clients want access to beaches and nightlife.
Have prices moved in the past year? Is yes, please explain
Prices have firmed with less room for negotiation.
Is there anything you would recommend clients do before purchasing a property?
- Find a professional and secure Forex specialist
- Check the classification of neighbouring land, is it likely to be built on in the future?
- Check running costs
- If there is land make sure no one has farming rights
Definitely some food for thought here. I am looking forward to trying Cuisse de canard!