Many of us think of the Cote d’Azur as a place of dreams that we’ll never be able to afford. It’s where the millionaires go – but we don’t all have millions. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. We talked to local agent Tim Clark about property in the area and discovered that the Cote d’Azur can be surprisingly affordable.
Tim and Louise Clark moved to France in 2003 as they wanted an easier pace of life and to escape the ‘rat race’. (is that a familiar story?)
Living the Dream in France
Tim and Louise had a clear idea of what they wanted in terms of a property and say they really were unwilling to compromise. Their plan was to develop a property into a B&B and gite. They were quite specific about details such the property had to be exposed stone (not rendered), detached, walking distance to a town, have extensive outbuildings for conversion and have loads of land, “oh and we had a smallish budget” adds Tim with a grin.
The couple looked at dozens of properties, some close on spec and some way off the mark, which was frustrating and they felt that some agents simply weren’t listening to what they wanted. “After all,” says Tim “this was our dream home.
Their first trip wasn’t fruitful in finding a home but it wasn’t a total disaster “by the end of it, we at least knew what we didn’t want” says Tim.
Like so many home seekers, they concluded they had to compromise when they bought a home in the Limousin. “We got the walking distance to town (long walk but manageable), got lots of land and got one barn in good condition”. They compromised on a semi-detached property in rendered stone. Both things they’d been adamant that weren’t prepared to do.
Tim says he realised that the layout of the property for their business became more important, “we felt we could create the look we wanted over time and that business had to be the priority”.
The couple ran their B&B successfully for three years and then their lives changed forever when their first child was born. They lost one of their B&B rooms and realised they needed to rethink in terms of income.
Finding affordable property on the French Riviera
They began working for Leggett Immobilier in the spring of 2006, and decided to sell the B&B business and embarked on their next adventure. They downsized their home, threw themselves into the estate agent business and had another child. When Trevor Leggett, owner of the company asked the couple if they would be interested to move to the Cote d’Azur to help set up his business there, the couple didn’t jump at the chance to start with.
“We were very concerned with numerous aspects, not least our desire to live a ‘real’ French life and whilst the yachts and flash cars are all great to look at, it was not what we wanted from a life in France”.
But they decided to explore the area before deciding and discovered that the Cote d’Azur has an amazing array of lifestyle options to offer.
“We were able to find inland villages within 40 minutes of Cannes, where prices were affordable and life was much like our rural village in the Limousin. Yet we were now within easy reach of one of the most exciting places on earth to live. To say we have embraced our lifestyle would be an understatement and one I often find myself discussing with buying clients.”
Tim’s tips for buying property in the Cote d’Azur
Be clear to yourself what you are looking to achieve with your move to France.
The Cote d’Azur also offers some of the best investment returns in France, with Cannes and Nice offering long letting seasons and easy access.
Property prices are not as expensive as you think says Tim, you need to know where to look. There are so many beautiful villages inland that are really close to the beaches but which don’t come with the millionaire price tag. Even in some of the most sought after towns on the Med it’s possible to find property at a price that may make you pleasantly surprised. Check out Tim’s Cote d’Azur property portfolio apply the maximum price tag indicator to search withing your budget.