Maintenance is one of the least-well-thought-out parts of having a property in France. Fortunately if it is given a little thought and investment in advance, the pitfalls can be avoided. It is amazing how many people forget such simple things as draining the water system before they go away for the winter, resulting in cracked pipes and thousands of euro worth of damage. Equally amazing is the number of people (often the same ones) who may have let their insurance slip and are not eligible to claim for any damages.

Close inspection of the roof and the guttering, the walls and exterior plastering as well as any woodwork can reveal incipient problems that can be dealt with quickly and effectively. Small problems left unnoticed or untouched can rapidly become large problems.

It is well worth employing someone locally who can check your property from time to time, carry out any little repairs and keep the garden in check. Having a local link like this is invaluable, especially when it comes to security. Having the house warmed and aired regularly and having signs of life around it are small efforts that can protect against big problems.