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Four essential tips to help make your holiday home pay

Blue waters of Lake Annecy

Mediterranean beaches, majestic mountains for winter skiing and cycling in summer, and some of the most popular cities in the world – France is the perfect place to buy a holiday home that you can also rent to tourists. But what type of property is best and where do you even start looking?

Buying a holiday home that you can also rent out adds more criteria to the challenge of finding a suitable second home. Despite this, buyer’s agent Home Hunts says around 50% of clients are now buying properties that they intend to rent out.

Although buying in France doesn’t come with any guarantees, it does bring with it a certain peace of mind. You’ve already got the numbers, and a business case, on your side.

France is expecting more than 89 million visitors by the end of 2017 – which will make it the world’s most visited country. The government’s target is to attract 100 million visitors a year in 2020. In Paris, current tourism figures look to be the strongest in a decade.

But how do you choose where to buy when every region of this vast country has so much to offer? Tim Swannie, director of Home Hunts, says the location depends, to a certain degree, on how much the client wants to rent out the property.

Align location search with rental needs

Cannes Harbour

“If the client is buying a property predominantly for themselves then they need to focus on that first and foremost,” says Tim. “If they love it then there is a good chance others will too and they will be able to find renters.”

For holiday home owners who want to rent out as much as possible, there are certain places that Home Hunts would particularly recommend.

“Cannes on the Riviera is always a good choice as there is a year-round rental market there,” says Tim. “It’s doesn’t just attract tourists in the summer, there are conferences all year round that constantly bring in thousands of business visitors.”

Another area Home Hunts recommends is Annecy in the Alps as it is also popular all year round. “Not only is it a stunningly beautiful town, but its location near the Alps and on the lake means it is popular with families during the summer holidays, avid skiers in the winter and walkers throughout the year.”

Make sure your criteria factors in your target market

Notre Dame Paris lit up by a rain of sunlight

Identifying the criteria for your new purchase is best accomplished by putting yourself in the shoes of your guests.

“One thing to always think about is who will rent your property,” says Tim. “Are you aiming for holidaymakers, business people, golf enthusiasts or skiers, for example? Then imagine what would be the most important factors for them when looking for a rental property.”

There are also some features that must be considered more seriously when you’re buying to accommodate paying guests and not just making decisions for yourself.

“If you are buying a villa in the South of France then a pool is usually important,” says Tim. “An apartment in Paris needs to be in a sought-after arrondissement with local facilities nearby. If it is on a high floor you definitely need to find a building with a lift.”

Miniature chateau in FranceConsider hiring a property manager you can trust

We live in an era where positive online reviews are extremely important. Therefore, it is essential that paying guests find the property spotless, in good working order and that there is someone around to help them deal with problems should they arise.

If you live in another country, then being able to rely on the services offered by a property manager is crucial.

If you do live in the region then it can be cheaper to deal with any issues yourself – as long as you are happy to drop what you are doing at a moment’s notice. In the long run it can make more sense to factor the cost in to your business plan, just so you know the property will always be running at its best.

“Property managers can be expensive, but in general I would say they are worth it,” says Tim. “You need someone to ensure the property is kept in excellent condition, that the rentals run smoothly and to show up in an emergency.”

While having a local neighbour keep an eye on the place can seem like a cheaper, easier option, it isn’t always the best for long-term rental yields.

“A professional property manager who has made it their career to manage French properties will have a much keener eye,” says Tim. “We can help our clients to connect with reliable property managers who make it their business to keep the properties in immaculate condition for owners.”

Take action to keep the outgoings down and the rental yields up

Having a holiday home that you rent out means you need to motivate yourself to keep things in good working order. Investing in quality fixtures and fittings from the start, for example, should mean you don’t have to constantly employ a handyman further down the line to fix kitchen cabinets or wardrobe doors.

“Make sure you get all of your systems (air conditioning, heating, pool filtering, washing machines, and so on) serviced every year,” says Tim adding that renters will overuse everything and probably won’t take the same amount of care as you, so you need to get them checked.

“If the air con stops in the height of summer while the tenant is on vacation it will be classed as a disaster,” he explains. “The call out and repair charges will be much higher and they could ask for money off, so you really need to stay on top of these things.”

He adds: “Ideally owners should stay in their properties for a week at least once a year to catch anything that needs fixing as early as possible.”

If you are looking to buy a holiday home in France that you can also rent out, Home Hunts can help you find the right property for your needs. Visit to search some of the most popular locations in France, and to discuss your specific requirements with a consultant, call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.

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