Like any foreigner who is settling down in a county, there are aspects that need to be taken in account. As many tend to forget, the rules and regulations are not the same from a country to another. Mortgages, costs, estate planning, legal counsel or renovation laws are different.
To be sure that you choose wisely, start by selecting a bilingual real-estate agency
Many French real-estate agencies don’t speak English or don’t have the correct approach when advising a foreign buyer. This can be a hassle when you are not explained the French regulations and want to extend or rebuild in France. The Key is: “knowing” the secrets of French regulations by contacting an agency that will advise you in your English tongue, especially in the Riviera where there are many French agencies. If you are looking to rent or buy a house (or a flat) in Cannes, Golfe-juan or in Vallauris, you should look for a real-estate agency like who will advise you on the houses you can purchase under the warm French sun.
A tip on French real-estate: building two houses, out of a single lot
In the case of the purchase of a house, what you want to be aware of is the square footage of the land the house is built on. Many aren’t aware of this but French law gives you a square footage building limit. For example, if you are purchasing a house that has a total build size of 1000 square meters (swimming pool and terrace included) on a 5000 square meter lot and the city/town regulations are limited to 1000 square meters total building authorization, you won’t be able to extend. However, there is a secret: “Building a garage”.
What most foreigners and even French don’t know is that you can build any garage you want on your land. To that extent, you can ask for a permit and built your garage connected to electricity and water. Once your building is finished and the town expert has validated that you have followed your permit to the letter, you can split your land and build a house.
What you need to understand is that any lot of land that has a solid construction, such as a garage, is considered valid for a building permit.
This example shows that there are many possibilities in investing or settling in France. However, if you do not know the foreign law, you can easily get overwhelmed a miss a good opportunity. So when you will be searching for a house or apartment in the Riviera, don’t just call the first agency down the street but try to find a good council.