Affordable, historic, and within easy reach of Paris, Normandy has a lot going for it when looking for a home in France. Here is how to find properties in Normandy:
Normandy is steeped in history, from the 11th Century Bayeux Tapestry to the D-Day Landings of WW2, but it’s not just worth visiting to learn about the past. This region, in the northwest of France, is full of natural beauty, from sweeping white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, to rugged, incisor-like cliffs and the unique UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont-Saint-Michel.
Considering how much there is to explore, whether ambling through timewarp hamlets (Normandy is proud to be home to six of the ‘most beautiful villages in France) or sampling some of the world’s finest oysters, it might come as a surprise that this region is not an expensive place to buy a house. Travel along the 640km of coastline and find all types of properties on sale for affordable prices – we even found a one-bed house for sale for €27,500 – meaning that as long as you’re not looking for year-round sunshine, a place by the French coast is well within reach.
That said, expect a lot of paperwork if you are a foreign national buying in France. There are no restrictions on say, Americans or Brits buying in the country, but the length of time you will be able to spend there will depend on your visa – worth noting, France doesn’t have a Golden Visa programme for property investment like other countries. Then, once you have found a property, got a mortgage through a French mortgage broker or by using an international mortgage lender in the US, you’ll need to take the mortgage certificate and all relevant paperwork to the notaire (2.5-5 per cent charge), so they can draw up the deed.
After a sales contract has been signed you’ll then need to wait up to half a year for the purchase deed to be sent to you. Taxes to be aware of include Public Registration fees, Agency, Notary and Loan Registration. Once all these boxes are ticked it’s time to move in. Of course, finding an experienced estate agent will not only be invaluable for advice but could also significantly speed up the process. Here are three reputable estate agents in Normandy:
Suzanne in France
As the name suggests, Suzanne in France is a personal and approachable estate agent designed to help out foreigners looking to purchase a property. This leading independent, French-based and British-owned estate agency in Normandy, naturally is bilingual and knows everything there is to know about the heady hoop jumping involved in getting a set of keys. It’s all done in a friendly and professional way, with help on understanding the quirks and differences in the French property market to say that in the UK, and the company’s experience and willingness to go the extra mile shines through. How many other estate agents offer to give advice on those extra things like finding an architect, enrolling children at school or even help to get married? Suzanne in France does.
More info at Suzanne in France
A House in Normandy
Another trusted boutique estate agent in Normandy specialising in helping English speakers find a home, A House in Normandy has a wealth of experience. Micki and Chris Slade met at art college in Worthing, UK, and went on to found the company. They are friendly and amiable, with a good understanding of how the French property scene has developed over the last 25 years. What makes the company a little bit special is the range of properties on offer, including some real doer uppers in need of attention, as well as a nifty little sale section showing homes that have dropped in price. Highly recommended.
More info at A House in Normandy
Another fantastic option for anyone either new to French property buying, or speaking French in general (or both), you should be in safe hands with Legett Immobilier. This family-run business offers a complete service that prides itself as being far more personal than the big chain estate agents – part of the reason it has been voted “Best Estate Agency in France” several times. The company has a huge portfolio of sales across France, not just in Normandy, whether it’s a rundown farm or a ready-for-renovation chateaux. The bi-lingual teams live, and at times grew up, in the areas where you are searching and have an in depth knowledge that can smooth the process of getting a mortgage and settling into your new home.
More info at Legett Immobilier