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Buying a House to Renovate in France

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 9 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Old House Home Builder Estate Agent

In order to decide that you are going to buy a house to renovate in France, it is a good idea to sit down with your partner and family and clarify exactly what you are hoping to achieve.

Renovating a home is a big project wherever you are, but in a new country with a new language, away from family and friends, it is likely to have additional issues that you may not have thought of.

There are a large number of estate agents in France who are all keen to help you part with your money. That, on top of the fact that surveys are not compulsory, means that you can easily get lulled into a false sense of security when looking at homes to buy.

Do Your Research

In order to make sure that you still in control of your time looking at properties, rather than be lead by the estate agent, you will need to have a very clear picture of your goal. This will involves listening to the people that are moving to France with you - partner, children, parents or pets! - to be clear about what you can afford, what you are capable of and what is practical.

Many people buy a run down old French home with dreams of running a gite or retreat of some sort. Just a cursory look on the internet will tell you that this is not a new idea! There are literally thousands of expats running small hotels across France, all of whom are keen to make a living. If you are a whiz at marketing and have excellent building skills, then buying a home to renovate and run commercially may be ideal, but if you are looking to escape the rat race but have never so much as painted a wall or cooked breakfast for more than four people, you really ought to think again about whether this is the best idea for you.

There Are Plenty of Old Homes Available - So Be Choosy

It will not be hard for you to find an old property to buy - all estate agents have them. This is made even easier by the fact that you may be quite open to the exact location. If you take a step back, you will realise how crazy this is - if you imagine buying a house in your home town in the UK, you will know that even from one end to the other, roads can vary widely. Add into that the requirement of good schools, shops and amenities and your laid back approach to location could be rather foolish.

It is also important to consider your budget when looking for a house to buy and renovate. There is no point buying a house for a good price and then spending well over budget on renovation, so you can never realise the value. Of course, we do not only buy property to make money, we want to have a home and somewhere for our families to visit and grow, but you will need to be strict about what you can and cannot afford.

Set A Budget

The budget of your renovation needs to be strict, alongside the purpose of your renovation. Are you looking to make the home nice for you to live in, or do you aim to sell it on for a profit in the next few years? While it is known that French buyers like to buy properties renovated by English people, they actually like that traditional English 'Laura Ashley' style, rather than the more modern Ikea approach.

So, in order to do your research on buying a French home to renovate, you will need to make sure you are clear about what you are looking to achieve in the short and long term.

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