Lots of us dream of owning our own chateau in France. Some of us take a massive leap of faith to make those dreams come true. It isn’t always easy, especially if you buy a listed property which comes with restrictions, requirements and remits galore. But owning, renovating, bringing a chateau back to life – it can be hugely rewarding, especially if you plan in advance to make sure you buy the right chateau for you.
These essential tips will help:
Location, location, location
Chateaux come in all sizes and diverse styles. You’ll find them for sales in all areas of France but always, location is important. Being in the middle of nowhere with a ton of space, surrounded by fields and forests looks great. But, think about guest transportation – can they reach you easily by car? If they want to hire a car is that available in the area. Are you close to public transport – airports, trains and autoroutes etc for days out. How far is it when you need to go shopping, access to amenities and local attractions. Not just for your guests but when they’ve gone home, you’re going to need these things too.
Do your sums
Are you looking for a chateau to move into and start living in straightaway? Or do you yearn to make your own make and seek a renovation opportunity? If the latter, it really is worth spending time to work out just how much it will cost to renovate. You might be surprised to know that sometimes it works out cheaper and certainly less stressful to buy the finished product.
Set goals and budgets you can keep to
Buying your chateau is just the start. You’ll need to consider costs for ongoing renovation, maintenance and running expenses. Heating for instance can be a huge cost in a chateau. If you need a septic tank, that’s another big expence. And if it needs a new roof, its best to know how much that might cost before you get a nasty surprise.
Have a business plan
If your chateau is going to be run as a business, do your research before you buy. Know what you want/need to earn. Plan what you will offer, how you will make it work and how you will market your business. Check out the competition in the area – do they have lots of business or are they struggling? Is there room for another chateau B&B? What will you do differentiate your chateau. Get your website up and running straight away. Take photos of progress at your chateau if you’re renovating and blog about it – we all love a chateau success story!
Prioritise the essentials
Sort out the essentials first – electricity, plumbing, heating, hot water and kitchen, they are key to a successful plan. If you’re without the basics, you’ll find it really hard to carry on.
See top tips from Dick and Angel Strawbridge of Escape to the Chateau TV fame in our free ezine The Good Life France
Discover the Chateau de Gudanes, a once neglected castle that’s like a sleeping beauty come to live