Moving abroad is often an attractive option, and France is one of Europe’s most visited countries. That said, there is a big difference between being a tourist and a resident, especially if you move from overseas. Before committing to buying a property and making the move, make sure you do some research. There are a number of things you’ll want to make sure are in place before you move to France.
Although this seems rather obvious, moving to any country and not being able to speak the native language instantly places you at a disadvantage. While cities, such as Paris, may be a little more forgiving due to the amount of international visitors they receive, if you are relocating to a more rural area, not being able to speak French will be a major hindrance. You have much better chances of securing employment and having a much smoother relocation process in general if you can speak French.
Check living costs
Although you may be very familiar with what to expect from living costs in your native country, all countries have their own costs that may vary wildly from what you are used to. It’s easy to assume, for example, that you have budgeted for everything, only to find out there are unforeseen bills/expenses you have to pay once you have relocated. Make sure you have some emergency funding for such circumstances, or have arranged employment upon your arrival.
Bills in France
If you’re moving from the UK, you might be used to being able to delay a bill payment for a few weeks, until you are sent a final warning. Be aware that in France, this policy is not operated by energy and utility companies. If you fail to pay your bills on time you will be cut off. Making sure you have a bank account set up and ready to go after you moving process is complete can make a real difference, as you can get direct debits set up immediately.
Research your local area
Before committing to any long term relocation, it’s a good idea to thoroughly research the area you plan to move to. A good way to do this might be a short weekend break or holiday, where you can spend time having a look around and checking out things such as potential employment, schools for the children, local amenities, and so on. Moving to a beautiful country retreat only to find that everything you need is located in a town 50 miles away could be an expensive oversight if you are forced to move home again.
Be clear about what you are signing
Once again, the importance of speaking French cannot be underestimated, and is even more crucial when it comes to signing the documents for your new home or business. Never assume that everything is fine until you have thoroughly checked all the relevant documents, as you could end up not getting what you thought, and may be restricted from carrying out any planned modifications or building work. Even if you’re French is not great, try and bring someone along to the signing you trust and who is fluent. That way, you can be sure you understand the terms while having time to brush your own French up for when you make the move.