Assessing the practicalities of the project
There are not surprisingly quite a lot of practical considerations, that start only when you have found the property of your dreams. Taking account of these before you purchase the property may well save you time and money in the long run.
Consider again and carefully whether the final, renovated, property will meet your needs. Is there enough room for your children to come and stay? Is ther enough room for a separate office, and does it have ADSL? Will you be able to play the piano in the middle of the night without annoying the neighbours? Will you be too isolated?
While the actual questions will depend on your circumstances, it is very easy to get over-excited by certain aspects of a property while ignoring the practicalities. Perhaps it’s easier to find an already renovated castle and make do with that!?
Try and find out what the neighbours think of your renovation plans. If you hope to construct a 400 square metre villa, and there is a small traditional cottage next door, they just might object, and you probably don’t want to proceed with a purchase if it means annoying all the existing inhabitants.
If there is any possible doubt about where the boundaries of the property lies, or if it is possible that there is a right of way across your property, discuss it initially at the local mairie (town hall).
If you have received permission to construct the house of your dreams, will the attractive field of sunflowers opposite also soon be covered in an estate of new-build properties? Local building rules do change frequently and haphazardly, but you should still discuss the local communes plans for building development at the local mairie. You should ask to see the ‘Plan Local d’Urbanism’, which in principle shows planned development for the next couple of years.
Connections to electricity, water and telephone will all be needed. If these are not already in place, ensure that you know how much they will cost. Even if electricity is in place, if the building has not been inhabited for a long time a new supply may need to be installed, in addition to complete rewiring of the property itself.
Much of rural France does not yet have mains drainage. You can read about septic tanks elsewhere on this site – and you should! In certain soil / ground conditions these can be very expensive to install in a way that complies with the regulations. If you will need access to a neighbours field for your drainage, check that the access is available.
High speed internet connections are now fairly widespread in France but many rural places do not yet have it. If you have need of such a connection, verify in advance. It will be many years before everywhere has access.
It is not possible to list all the eventualities here, although many should be covered at various places in this site. Try and think of evrything and talk to everyone – the mairie, the neighbours and the estate agents will be a good start.