What To Buy

What to buy


Prices of French property have gone up a lot in recent years, but are now starting to settle down and even drop again. However, they are still a lot higher than they were three or four years ago, and sadly the days of really cheap property are over. Now even a really small barn, with no land and in need of total renovation will cost a minimum of 15,000€ (about £11,000), and in some areas even more.


When you buy your first property in France you may not intend to sell it ever, but circumstances change. What if you start with a holiday home without a garden, but fall in love with the lifestyle and decide to stay here permanently? You’ll probably want a garden then. But will you be able to sell your holiday home and buy another property? Always think of resale potential.

Type of Property

When looking for property most people start off with an ideal. And then they realise that it’s not an ideal world. And the clever ones settle on something that just has potential.

Things to avoid:
· Buying on busy roads – no resale potential
· Property with no attached land - again, almost impossible to sell, no matter how lovely the house is
· Really large buildings – expensive to renovate and then to heat and maintain
· Property that someone else has started to renovate – it will cost more than an unrenovated property, but the previous owner probably won’t have worked to your standards and you’ll have to start all over again
· A very rural location. The French tend not to commute more than a few kilometres from their homes, so reselling such a property can be very difficult.
· Property with no mains drainage and less than about 500m2 of attached land. You must by law install a sanitation system, and they can be very expensive if there isn’t enough land for a conventional septic tank and soakaway system.

Things to look out for:
· An attractive location
· Attached land
· If you’re happy to renovate – buy something in need of total renovation

Things to remember:
· barn conversions need full planning permission, which is usually granted, but can take some time, and the amount of French paperwork involved can be daunting.
· renovating is not always the cheapest option. Work out the realistic cost of any work you would have to carry out. Many unrenovated properties are now relatively overpriced, and it can be more economical to buy a renovated property. However, be aware that as a rule English-owned renovation projects will have been done to a higher standard than French ones.
· renovating is definitely not the easy option. If you haven’t done it before, and particularly if you a) don’t speak much French and b) have children to settle and care for, then it’s probably wisest avoided

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