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Bidding for a dream lifestyle

PUBLISHED: 10:26 12 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:26 12 January 2015

Can-can dancers at The France Show

Can-can dancers at The France Show

Archant

If you have always dreamed of owning a property abroad, but have worried about travelling around to find your dream home, then fear not. This month, the UK's first French property auction comes to London, and you could be there

World-famous gastronomy, sleepy villages that have barely changed for hundreds of years and a tradition of spirited resistance to modern-day pressures — what’s not to like about France? As the most visited country in the world, France is also among the top ten nations to attract UK expats. In January, property seekers can get

a feel for the market across the Channel without leaving these shores when the UK’s inaugural French property auction takes place at The France Show at London Olympia.

This long-running lifestyle and property show has partnered with UK-based company French Property Auction to put dozens of French homes under the hammer for the first time in the UK. Karen Tait, editor of French Property News magazine, believes it’s a good time to invest: ‘A combination of strong exchange rates and low property prices mean buyers can really get a lot for their money in France,’ she says. ‘And if you’re buying with a French mortgage, there’s more good news as rates have fallen to an all-time low.’

The catalogue will be available online from November and properties up for grabs include a south-facing stone cottage in the western region of Poitou-Charentes with a current marketing price of €77,000, to a three-bedroom property in the Alps within a stone’s throw of the Three Valleys ski area with a current marketing price of €445,000.

The event is an exciting opportunity for those prepared to seize the day, according to organiser Nick Green. ‘Selling by auction provides an open, competitive environment for French agents immobiliers to present properties from motivated sellers to serious UK buyers,’ says Nick. ‘The very attractive reserves encourage a faster than normal sale.’

Under the French legal system fixed heirs — usually surviving children — have a right to a portion of your estate, so it’s important to do your homework.

January’s show is an opportunity to approach legal experts to clarify your own position and find out about tax, mortgages and currency. And don’t underestimate the value of talking to estate agents. Unlike in the UK, French agencies are often small, independent businesses and a mine of information about the local community. An agent will often introduce you to everyone from local builders to the mayor, who plays an important role in French rural life, and can help you settle in to your new lifestyle.

If that all sounds like hard work, the show also features gastronomy, culture and a huge French market — arguably equally essential to research. Although, for those attending the auction, it might be wise to leave any wine tasting until after the sale! n

Go to the show

The France Show takes place at London Olympia from January 23-25, 2015. The French Property Auction takes place at the show on Saturday, January 24. Visit www.thefranceshow.com/tickets or call 01242 264777*

*a handling charge of £1 per order applies.

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