I can”t really tell you what you should do but I can tell you what we did … and didn”t do!
I guess that”s the first issue to be sorted out and, if you are making a group purchase – like us – this could be a non-trivial task.
We can assume that you would be seriously thinking about France (although I think the principles would apply anywhere else), but where in France? If there”s one place you go back to year after year, it may be a no brainer – but, even then, isn”t it worth checking out whether you wouldn”t prefer to be somewhere else.
We didn”t really have any interest in the East of France but there are plenty of lovely parts to the West that we would have been happy with: Brittany, Normandy, various parts of the Loire and around the Dordogne. We wanted a reasonable guarantee of sun and – pretty as Brittany is – it and Normandy didn”t seem sufficiently different from the UK climate to attract us. In the end, the decision was a pragmatic one: how far south could we realistically travel by car in one day without knocking ourselves out. Our answer was the Loire valley.
That was an easier issue: our bank balances were limited. Also part of the purpose was for Anne”s sister to spearhead a renovation project, so we didn”t want a house that was too finished.
Town or Country?
For some a flat in the heart of a thriving restaurant area might be just the thing. For others, perhaps, a small (or large) house in the suburbs of a town. Since ours was a holiday home, we weren”t so worried about schools or work, but that might be a factor for some.
So, we chose a fairly isolated country area near a quiet village but not too far away from a reasonable sized town. However, our initial search covered a variety of locations before we made up our minds – and I would suggest that it would normally be good not to be too isolated because that makes it quite difficult to build relationships with neighbours.
For younger folk, this will probably not be an issue – although think about your children and whether it will be good having them tied to you to be able to get around. As you get older, it might be more and more important to have an alternative to the car.
How far is cheap food shopping? Do you enjoy book browsing or clothes shopping and, if so, are you going to have to spend hours to satisfy the shopping urge? For holiday makers, do you want a restaurant or bar within walking distance so that you don”t have to worry about your alcohol intake.
All questions that could affect where you end up.
If you have boisterous animals (a dog, rabbit or goat!), you will want completely enclosed land – or something you can enclose.
Add your own criteria
These are just some of the questions. You need to think about what are “must haves” wherever you holiday or live.
And, finally, there is that extra spark: does it do something special for you?